How much protein per day do you really need to gain muscle ?
The lifeblood of the fitness industry.
There probably isn’t a gym in the world that isn’t selling some type of protein supplement.
We seemed obsessed with it, which means you’re probably obsessed with it.
I don’t blame you.
You’re sold the dream that protein can provide you with untold muscle gains and superb leanness.
You think more must be better and you’re told more is better.
More protein = more progress.
Are you right to think this?
In my experience the sheer amount of information out there means you never really stood a chance.
I know I never did.
When I first started working out, I believed that protein shakes were as important as my workouts.
I would knock them back in the name of high protein diets and progress, whilst neglecting proper fat and carb intake.
Thinking back now the amount of money I spent on egg whites, protein shakes and meat was obscene but I did it anyway in the name of health and fitness.
Shame on me for not knowing any better, for not questioning the methodology and following blindly.
Props to you for seeking out answers and educating yourself.
The actual amount of protein you need daily?
The optimal amount of protein per day is only 0.8g – 1g per lb of total bodyweight depending on your training goal.
Note: if you are heavily overweight or obese then your protein needs will be overstated and you should use 0.8g per goal bodyweight instead.
I know this may seem low to some of you, so let’s take a look at the research:
1. A study; Dietary protein for athletes: from requirements to optimum adaptation found that 0.6 – 0.8g per lb of bodyweight is adequate for maximising protein synthesis.
2. Another study; Beyond the zone: protein needs of active individuals also concluded that 0.8g per lbs of bodyweight is an optimal daily intake for building muscle.
Note: studies show that when dieting to lose fat a slightly higher protein intake of 1g per lbs will have a greater muscle sparing effective than 0.8g but for building muscle 0.8g is optimal.
Your actual daily protein intake is only 0.8g – 1g per lbs of bodyweight.
Probably quite a lot less than you are used to.
Don’t worry it’s a good thing, it will give you more flexibility in your diet by freeing up some calories.
Let’s look at how to work out your daily protein needs in grams and calories:
So now we know how much to eat, how do we work this out?
To keep it straightforward let’s, use a 150lb male as an example.
To calculate what 0.8 of 150 we just need to do a simple calculation:
150 x 0.8 = 120
Great, 120 is the daily protein gram allowance our 150lb guy wants to shoot for.
To work out this in calories we just need to multiply 120 by 4 (4 is the number of calories per gram of protein).
120 x 4 = 480
So the total gram allowance is 120g and this equals a total of 480kcal from protein per day.
To calculate daily needs for 1g intake use the same formula substituting 0.8 with 1.
Nice and simple.
What are good sources of protein?
I personally I feel they protein supplements and shakes are unnecessary, you can easily meet your protein needs using food sources. So on that note, let’s take a quick look at good sources of protein:
There you have it. How much protein to have, how to calculate it and where to get it from.