Welcome to the best damn “how much protein” article on the web. Nothing else covers this topic so completely.
Everything is revealed: A precise formula, the best sources of protein, where to get it, a video, FAQ section…I’ve covered all the bases here.
Here’s the deal: If you don’t get enough daily protein, you CANNOT and WILL NOT build any muscle. So this is as critical as it gets.
Listening to the average Joe or your doctor about how much protein you need in your diet is simply not going to cut it for the bodybuilder. We need more than the average person because our muscle tissue is constantly being ripped up and repaired.
Here’s a fantastic little video explaining how the protein you eat actually turns into muscle. Watch it first, then I’ll give you the formula you need.
HOW PROTEIN TURNS INTO MUSCLE TISSUE
THE FORMULA FOR WORKING OUT HOW MUCH PROTEIN YOU NEED
There are 2 ways to figure out just how much protein you need. First, the easy way:
Consume 1g of Protein per Pound of Body Weight
So if you weigh 180lbs, consume 180g of protein per day.To build muscle consume 1g protein for every lb bodyweight eg 180lbs=180g protein Click To Tweet
Simple, but this formula doesn’t work well for those with more body fat. The result will be too high. And we don’t excess protein as the surplus is simply converted to sugar inside the body (a process called gluconeogenesis).
So a more precise method of calculating just how much protein you need to gain muscle is based on your lean body weight, not your total body weight. It goes like this…
Lean Mass Weight (kg) x 2.75 = Daily Protein Requirement
(By the way, you simply divide pounds by 2.2 to get the equivalent in kilograms. So 170 pounds is 77.27 kg)Formula for protein to build muscle: Lean Mass Weight(kg) x 2.75 = Daily Protein Grams Click To Tweet
To get your lean mass weight, you first need to know your total body weight and your body fat percentage. If you don’t know your body fat percentage, there’s a calculator in the sidebar of this site to help you. Take a few measurements, input them into the boxes and hit ‘calculate.’ Alternatively buy a cheap pair of calipers like Accumeasure here.
Multiply your answer by your total body weight to determine the amount of fat you are carrying. Now simply subtract this from your total body weight to get your lean mass weight.
Take this figure and multiply it by 2.75 to get your ideal protein intake per day in grams.
LET’S TAKE AN EXAMPLE
A person weighs 170 pounds with 15% body fat.
- 170 / 2.2 = 77.27 kg
- 15% x 77.27 = 11.59 kg
- 77.27 – 11.59 = 65.68 kg (his lean body mass)
- 65.68 x 2.75 = 180.62
So, therefore our 170 lb, 15% body fat man should be shooting for ~180 grams of protein per day.
Simple when you know how ;)
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions I get about how much protein per day you need to build muscle.
I heard that studies suggest 0.82g per pound, not 1g per pound.
Yes I’ve seen this, too. This figure is an average from a bunch of studies. But can you trust the methodology used in all these studies? The accuracy of the measurements? Can you take an “average” result and know for sure that this applies to you as an individual?
Here’s my point: you bust your butt in the gym and get everything else in your diet and lifestyle right for building muscle. Are you seriously going to put all of that effort and discipline at risk over 0.18g protein per pound of body weight? Why risk it? You’ve worked too hard for this.
By taking 1g per pound, you will something really valuable – certainty! Wouldn’t you like the certainty of knowing that your body has all the protein it needs to build muscle at a maximal rate? Again, why take any risk with this? Go ahead with 1g/pound and relax safe in the knowledge that you’ve done all you can :)
What about when cutting? Is it the same?
Yes. I make no distinction. If you take in too little protein when cutting, you run the risk of losing muscle. But if you overshoot it, the excess will convert to sugar and this is not good when trying to lose fat. So more is not better. And less is not better,either. Use this precise formula…even when cutting.
What are the best sources of protein for building muscle?
That’s a great question. Not all proteins are created equal. There are 2 important issues:
- The completeness of the protein
- The “bio-availability of the protein
Do yourself a massive favor and read my article on this issue here: The top sources of protein for building muscle.
But in short, the more complete the protein is, and the higher the bio-availability, the better it will help you pack on muscle mass. So the top 5 sources of protein for building muscle are in order:
- Whey Protein
- Eggs (whole)
- Red Meat
Do I need to split this protein intake up into 6 or more feedings/day?
No you don’t. That anyone is still eating 6-8 small meals per day in 2016 surprises me to no end. The idea that only a small amount of protein can be absorbed by the body in one sitting is based on an old myth.
I personally split my protein intake over 4 meals per day. It suits my lifestyle. Eating more often (but smaller meals) certainly won’t hurt, but it’s not necessary either. The protein (and all food) you eat absorbs into your system very very slowly over many hours – none of it will be wasted.
There is a lot more to say on this and I’d highly recommend you read my article to put your mind at ease: How much protein can the body absorb in one sitting?
Where should I get my whey protein?
You need a trusted, high-quality whey. I recommend ON whey, which you can get quite cheaply on Amazon here.
I personally get my whey from MyProtein as their whey is regularly & scientifically tested to prove it is as high in quality as they claim. It’s also very inexpensive, especially since you can get 10% off just for being a MuscleHack reader. See details below for how to take advantage of this permanent discount.
NOTE: MuscleHack readers are entitled to 10% off their orders at MyProtein – not just 1 order, but every time you buy (MyProtein is where I get my own supplements).
All you have to do is use the discount code: MUSCLEHACK when checking out. Use these links to go there…
Guys, if you have any questions, feel free to ask me below. I’m always happy to help you out :D
Lift | Eat | Repeat
HERE ARE THE SUPPLEMENTS I HIGHLY RECOMMEND
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SOME OF MY FAV PRODUCTS
The supps I get on a regular basis are: