Is 150g of protein enough to build muscle? Is 200 grams of protein enough to build muscle? We get these types of questions all the time by our readers. The answer is actually different for each individual, male or female. Research suggests that in order to build muscle, you should be consuming about 1-2 grams of protein per 1 pound of body weight per day. Of course, an effective strength training program is also required in order to build new muscle mass.
Now, how accurate this is is debatable. There are still some varying opinions with regards to the numbers I mentioned above. Even the various studies that have been carried out to try to find the answer, have come to different conclusions.
Individual differences of each person do not make a definitive answer easy to find. People are different weights, different ages, have different activity and exercise levels, different nutritional needs, and different body types.
In this case there is no such thing as one size fits all!
The Importance of Protein…
Protein is one of the most important nutrients in the body. Proteins are the building blocks of not just muscle tissue, but also just about every other structural component in the human body. This includes organ tissue, bone, skin, enzymes and hormones. Therefore, is it important that we get enough protein into our diet, not just for aesthetic gains but for health benefits too.
Without protein, life would cease to be!
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is around 0.8 gram per kilogram of body weight. This is a very modest amount and is indeed intended as a guideline for the average person to maintain general health.
As already discussed, the amount for an athlete looking to gain muscle mass is higher. As we will find out in the following research study, athletes trying to build muscle should consume around 1-2 grams of protein per 1 pound of body weight.
What Does The Research Say?…
The above study published in pubmed back in 2011 also highlighted the importance of protein for general health and muscle mass maintenance. They also pointed out that athletes who are engaged in strenuous physical activity (especially strength training) should probably consume more than the recommended daily allowance. The study recommends athletes looking to build muscle mass should consume between 1.3-1.8 grams of protein per 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight.
A point to note…
If you have a fair amount of body fat to lose, then what you may be best doing is finding out what your lean body mass is, and use that number to work out your daily protein levels, rather than using you total body weight.
However, if you are not carrying a significant amount of excess fat, then you could try working out what you want your end lean mass to be, and then use that number to calculate your daily protein amounts.
Don’t Over Do It!…
It is safe to say that many people are either not consuming enough protein, or more often than not they are consuming too much.
Not taking enough protein can lead to deficiencies and possible muscle loss along with a decrease in strength. What if we go to the other extreme though? Does an over consumption have any detrimental effects on the body?
The popular claims that over indulging in dietary protein can cause kidney damage and harm your health are notions that are not backed by science. If you are in good general health, then you have nothing to worry about in this regard. So don’t lose sleep over your daily protein amounts.
However, what I will say though is that you will most likely hit a point of diminishing returns if you keep increasing your daily protein amounts over time. The body can only process so much at one time and continuing to consume more and more may not harm you, but it will do little for you either.
Sadly it is not the case that the more protein you eat, the bigger you will get. Believe me, we wish that was true!
The Truth About Protein Supplements…
The best sources of protein are fish, nuts, eggs and lean meats. It is no secret that the best way to get your protein into your diet and to build muscle is to get your eating habits on point as far as your normal meals and snacks are concerned.
When it comes to supplements, you must not be miss-lead by over hyped marketing that often accompanies such products. Protein based supplements are not magic potions. As much as we wish they would, they will not turn us into the incredible hulk overnight without hard graft in the gym, and a diet that is macro nutritionally on point.
Having said that, if your dietary foundations are up to scratch, and you are working hard in the gym, then some supplements can help you. Supplementation may help you meet your required daily protein intake goals that you have now worked out using the formula above.
Some advantages of a quality protein based supplement are;
- Convenience – If you are out and about and are going to be late for a meal or miss a meal all together, then keeping a protein shake or bar on you in your bag can help you meet you protein daily intake.
- Additional micro nutrients – Some protein supplements contain other beneficial vitamins, minerals and micro nutrients which can aid your recovery from a workout and also help you to fill any small nutritional gaps in your diet.
- Can help you feel fuller for longer – A supplement high in protein can help make you feel full which in turn could help prevent you from over eating and therefore gain excess body fat.
Again, I would only start taking supplements if the rest of your diet is on point, and if you have the money.
If you do decide to purchase supplements, then you need to be careful as to which brand you choose as they are not all the same.
The supplement industry is unregulated which means that any Tom, Dick or Harry can set up a supplement business and start selling low quality and potentially dangerous products to consumers.
I recommend that you read my in-depth review on 4 top quality and reliable muscle-building supplements. I give you a comparison chart highlighting the features, the pros, and the cons of each of the 4 products in question. I also take you through the world of muscle-building supplements in general and tell you what to look out for.
Also, if you would like to learn more about the best ways of getting your daily intake of protein, you can go and read my article here which goes more in depth. The article will load in a new window on this website.