Protein is a vital nutrient for building muscle, but there is a lot of confusion about how much protein should be consumed for optimal muscle growth. Try asking some of the personal trainers at your gym and you will probably find several different responses.
In most cases the answers don’t typically vary by too much and seem to fall into a similar range. The most common recommended range is between 0.8 – 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.
However, that’s a little bit of a broad range. So, here is how I would recommend you break it down so you can find the optimal range for your needs.
How Much Protein Should You Eat Per Day?
There are 2 simple ways to determine how much protein you need.
The first way is using the old standby recommendation “consume 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight”. This is a the most simplest method that has been used in the fitness industry for decades. So if you weigh 200lbs you would simply consume 200g of protein per day.
It’s that simple, however this approach doesn’t always work well for those who are overweight. In this case 200g of protein would be a too much and you would need to use a our method below to calculate how much protein you need to build muscle.
With this method you need to calculate your lean body mass weight (kg) and times it by 2.75.
In order to calculate how much protein you need to build muscle with this method, you will need to know your total body weight and your body fat percentage.
Now multiply your body fat percentage by your total body weight. This will determine how much body fat you are carrying. Now all you need to do is subtract this from your total bodyweight to get your lean body mass weight.
Now, take that number and multiply it by 2.75 and this will give you your ideal protein intake per day in grams.
This is an example for a man who weighs 200 pounds with 15% body fat. First find out your weight in Kg, if you don’t know simply divide your bodyweight in pounds by 2.2. This will give you your weight in kg, For this example a 200 pound man weighs 90.9 kg.
- 15% x 90.9 = 13.6 kg
- 90.9 – 13.6 = 77.3 kg
- 77.3 x 2.75 = 212.5
In this example our 200 pound man with 15% body fat should be consuming 212 grams of protein per day.
Simple as that!
Now you know how much protein you need, the next step is make sure it’s from the right sources.
The Best Protein Sources
So, what sources of protein should you include in your diet? The answer is animal protein! A proper muscle building diet should be rich in animal protein. This means you should aim to get your protein requirements from sources such as meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Do not count proteins from foods like nuts, seeds and grains. These do not include all 9 essential amino acids which makes them incomplete protein.
If you have a busy lifestyle and struggle to get your nutritional needs, try protein powder. Protein powders are a convenient way of getting your protein intake. There are so many protein powders on the market so you have no excuses not to have some to hand.
If you are new to protein powders I would suggest that you stick with whey protein as It contains a good amount of protein, has pretty much no fat and very little carbohydrates. Most of todays protein powders taste and mix well so don’t go for some over expensive brand as the cheaper ones can do just as good.
I hope this has helped you determine how much protein you need to reach your goals.