Protein and Building Muscle

February 6th 2020 at 6:29pm

How much protein do I need to build muscle?

1.8g protein per kilogram of body-weight (0.82g/lb). That is 126g of protein if you’re 70kg/154lb.

There is no benefit to taking higher amounts of protein. You won’t build more muscle by eating more protein. Pro bodybuilders using drugs may benefit from higher protein intakes. But natural lifters like us won’t. Taking more protein will only make the supplement and meat industry richer.

The more muscle mass you already have, the less protein you need to eat. Because your body is more efficient at preventing muscle breakdown from lifting weights. Plus there’s less muscle is built after your training because you’re already close to your genetic potential.

If you’re a beginner with little muscle mass, you’ll need more protein. But you don’t need more than 0.82g/lb. This is good news. You can save money on expensive steaks and protein shakes, buy cheaper carbs instead, so you get your daily caloric intake consistently.

How do I get enough protein to build muscle?

You get 20-25g of protein for every 100g of chicken, beef or fish you eat. So if you eat 300g/12oz of steaks or chicken breast a day, most guys will already get close to half their protein intake (60-75g of 135g/day for a 75kg/165lb guy). The rest you fill up with eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, and maybe whey protein.

What are the best sources of protein to build muscle?

Animal food sources are the best. They typically contain more protein per serving than plant-based sources. And the amino acid profile is more complete. Examples:

  • Red meat: steaks, ground round, top round, sirloin, …
  • Poultry: chicken breast, ground turkey, …
  • Fish: light canned tuna, mackerel, salmon, …
  • Dairy: milk, cottage cheese, plain low-fat yogurt, quark cheese, …
  • Eggs: Whole eggs, scrambled eggs
  • Whey Protein: classic whey concentrate is fine

Should I eat 30g of protein per meal max?

No. You can eat as much protein as you want in one meal. It’s a myth that your body can only absorb 30g of protein per meal.

Think of your ancestors. Tens of thousands of years ago food and protein were scarce. Humans had to hunt for food. Hunts would often fail which could lead to periods of famine. When a hunt was successful, the obvious thing was to bulk on the protein. You had no idea when the next successful hunt would be after all.

It would have been suicide for our ancestors to stop eating once they hit 30g of protein. It would have been ineffective if our body wouldn’t have been able to deal with massive amounts of protein in one meal, but just piss or poo it out.

Your genetics are still mostly the same as those of your ancestors who hunted for meat. I have no idea how much protein your body can handle in one meal, but it sure is more than 30g.

Note by the way how 30g of protein just happens to be the amount of protein in one serving of whey protein sold by supplement companies. That’s probably where the myth got from.


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