When you want to build muscle and strength, training is only part of your solution. Even with the best workout in the world, you would not achieve the results you want if you consume an inaccurate amount of protein.
So, how do you find out the right ammount of protein needed for your lifestyle and goals?
Over the years, different trainers, athletes, and gymrats have suggested me to take in different amounts of protein. Some said that I do not even need that much, others told me to consume an excessive amount of it.
If you are reading this article, I assume that the question of how much protein you actually need to consume to reach your fitness goals bothers you too.
So, instead of listening to different opinions, let’s see what research says about an ideal protein intake.
First, lets talk about what protein does and why do we need it at all.
Protein is an essential competent of every cell in our body. Protein is used in repairing and build up of tissues, to make enzymes, hormones and body chemicals that have million of different functions necessary for the body. Protein is also the major building block of bones, muscles, cartilages, skin, nail, hair, and blood.
As you can see, protein is pretty important! It is even more important if you do any resistance, or hypertrophy training.
Micro tears are created in your muscles during any weight lifting exercise. Overtime, your body uses protein it repair those micro tears, resulting in muscle growth.
There is a formula that scientists use to determine the net protein balance (NPB). It is pretty simple:
NPB= MPS – MPB
MPS – muscle protein synthesis.
MPB – muscle protein breakdown.
To build muscles, you want NPB to have the most positive value possible. This means that you want your muscles to break down less protein and it synthesizes. Makes sense, right?
Feeding stimulates MPS and exercising stimulates MPB. Even if have the best workout, train the most hours in the day, and do everything right, if you are not eating enough, you are actually breaking down more muscle then you are building up.
So eating enough protein is pretty crucial to get the best result… or any results.
BUT, don’t go to your kitchen and start piling up all the protein you can find. Too much protein can also be very bad. Studies show that consuming more the 30% of your total daily caloric intake in protein can really harm your body. Adding too much protein would not help you build more muscle (there is a limit of how much muscle you can build in a certain amount of time as well), and can also lead to a buildup of toxic ketones in your kidneys, which can then lead to dehydration, cause stress to your heart, and many other problems.
The amount of protein you need depends on your weight, daily caloric intake, and your training intensity.
Athletes who train more intensity and want to gain muscle and strength should consume more protein then those who don’t train at all. For those athletes, the recommended protein intake is in the range of 1.3- 1.8g per kilogram of body weight per day consumed over the 3 to 4 meals for best results. In some cases, it is even recommended to consume 1.8 – 2.0 g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, depending on the caloric intake. High protein compared to low caloric intake will aid more fat loss, but may have negative effects on your liver and kidneys, so it should be closely monitored.
For a healthy individual, about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight should be consumed daily (according to DRI guidance). So if you weigh 80 kg (176 pounds) you should consume at least 64 grams of protein per day.
To help you understand and calculate how much protein you must consume daily based on your weight, fitness goal, and training intensity, we created a Protein Calculator that will help you find your answer.
Click the button bellow, and find out how much protein you need to consume daily to reach the best results.