A lot of people seem confused as to how much protein you need to build muscle. With people constantly throwing numbers and estimates around its no wonder so many people have no idea how much protein they need to build muscle. There’s no doubt that protein plays it part when looking to build muscle but some estimates of how much we need each day are either way too exaggerated or extremely under-estimated. Lets take a brief look at how much protein you really need to build sufficient muscle mass.
How Much Protein Do You Need To Build Muscle?
To build muscle I would recommend you take in at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight coming from complete protein sources. This means that if you weigh 200 pounds you would take in at least 200 grams of protein from a complete source each and everyday. When I say complete protein source I mean a protein food that has all the essential amino acids in. Complete protein foods that build muscle include any lean meat such as beef/steak, chicken and turkey as well as milk, cheese, eggs and whey protein. A selection of these foods should always be included in your diet when trying to build muscle.
Cant I Take More Than 1 Gram Of Protein Per Pound Of Body Weight?
Sure you can. In fact, a lot of athletes find their ideal protein intake to be around 1-2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. In my opinion though, unless you are a competitive bodybuilder there is no need to go as high as 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. I recommended 1 gram per pound of bodyweight above as a general guideline and with a good weight training routine and diet this will get you good results. Some people will naturally need more. Not everyone body will respond the same way as someone else.
If your taking in at least 1g per pound of bodyweight with a solid diet and weight training routine but still arent happy with how you are progressing try upping your protein intake to 1.5 gram per pound of bodyweight. Protein intake slightly higher than this amount can be more effective when trying to maintain muscle while cutting and losing fat or attempting to build muscle and burn fat at the same time but feel free to up your intake if your not getting the results you want.
If your still not progressing with a higher protein intake chances are you have hit a plateau. Check how to overcome a weight training plateau and be sure to learn how often you should workout to eliminate the chances of over-training and keep progress going!
Why Do We Need Protein To Build Muscle?
With so much talk and hype about protein your probably wondering why we actually need protein to help us build muscle. Proteins are known as building blocks. They are basically responsible for the building of muscle tissue, nails, skin and hair. After an intense weight lifting session your muscles will have been broken down and will need time to heal and recover. Protein will help rebuild and grow the muscle helping it to adapt to the constant stress that’s placed upon it through weight training.
Protein is not only used to help build muscle but can also be used to lose weight. Protein is known to have a high thermic effect than any other macro-nutrient. What this means is that when your body attempts to digest protein it burns more calories doing so than it would digesting carbohydrates or fats. A protein rich meal will also make you feel fuller for longer helping to fight off and stop food cravings.
How Am I Going To Get That Much Protein Into My Diet?
Now you’ve learnt how much protein you need to build muscle you’re probably wondering how an earth your going to manage to consume so much of it in a normal working day. The truth is, with a bit of planning its simple. Check out this example:
- Breakfast – Protein shake consisting of 1.5 scoops of whey, milk, packet of oats and fish oil. Put all into a blender for 30-60 seconds and consume with 1 banana.
- Meal 2 – 2 Chicken Breasts, brown rice, vegetables
- Meal 3 – Same as above. 2 Chicken Breasts, brown rice, vegetables
- Meal 4 – 1 scoop of whey protein
- Meal 5 – 1 chicken breast, jacket potato, vegetables and 1 glass of milk
Of course the above is just a quick example of what a high protein diet could look like. The above diet is currently what mine looks like most week days but feel free to change up the lean protein sources you eat. As you can see i eat a lot of chicken but will sometimes substitute chicken for another meat such as turkey or steak. Fish is also a great source of clean and complete protein to include in your weight training diet. I also consume eggs for breakfast on weekends instead of the traditional protein shake with oats, milk and fish oil.
Common Protein Intake Myths Your Likely To Hear
A lot of people have been miss-informed when it comes to how much protein you need in your diet to build muscle. Im going to list a couple of the most popular myths your most likely to hear when it comes to the subject of protein and how much protein we need to build muscle.
- Protein will damage your kidneys. Eating over 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight will damage your kidneys according to many people. This statement can not be taken seriously as their is no evidence whatsoever to suggest protein is harmful to your body. Just look at the professional bodybuilders and imagine how much protein they get through each day. Very rarely do you hear of a bodybuilder with kidney problems.
- You can only digest 30g or so of protein at a time. Again their is no evidence to support this claim. Your body can absorb a lot more than 30 grams of protein at one sitting.
- Protein is protein no matter where it comes from. Some people believe that as long as your diet tally up to enough grams of protein it doesn’t matter where this protein is coming from. Wrong. Protein from brown rice, nuts and vegetables etc is nowhere near as effective as a complte protein source such as steak or chicken. Each meal you consume should have a complete protein source in it to help you to reach your protein intake for the day. Complete proteins have all the amino acids in to help repair, rebuild and grow your muscles.