How Much Protein Do You Need to Build Muscle?
Just how much protein do you need to build muscle? If you’re asking this question then you’re definitely on the right track to building serious muscle mass. You see, building muscle starts and ends with feeding your body the nutrients that it needs to operate at its highest level. And, when it comes no building muscle, there is no bigger nutrient than protein.
At the end of the day, protein is the building block of all muscle growth and maintenance. Without an adequate amount, your body will not be able to grow muscle or maintain it, no matter how hard you work out or how perfect your workout plan is.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at just how much protein you need to build muscle. Let’s take a look…
How Much Protein Do You Need to Build Muscle?
When it comes to building muscle, you need to consume the ideal diet. The ideal diet for building muscle starts and ends with how many calories you consume each day. For building muscle, you should consume between 15 to 17 calories per each pound that you weigh. This means that a 200 pound athlete needs to consume 3,000 to 3,400 calories each day.
Important: A gram of protein or carbohydrates contains 4 calories. A gram of fat contains 9 calories.
Now, let’s look at how you should break down your calorie intake:
Calorie Intake for Building Muscle: To build muscle, 40-60% of your calories should come from carbohydrates, 25-35% of your calories should come from protein, and 15-25% of your calories should come from healthy fats.
This means that a 200 pound athlete, consuming 3,400 calories each day, while working out to build muscle should consume between 340 and 510 grams of carbohydrates each day. This athlete should consume between 213 and 298 grams of protein each day. This athlete should also consume 57 to 95 grams of healthy fats each day.
Protein Intake Requires Trial and Error
As you’ve probably noticed, finding the perfect protein intake for your body requires a bit of trial and error. We’ve only listed ranges of protein levels that you should use as a starting point to get you on the right track. Each body is unique so it takes a bit of time to find the perfect amount of protein for your body. Trust what your body is telling you and increase your protein intake or decrease your protein intake depending on your results.
Also keep in mind that it’s always better to gradually increase your protein intake and listen to your how your body responds. There can be several side effects from consuming too much protein. The most serious side effect of consuming too much protein is that it can harm your kidneys. When you consume too much protein, your kidneys have to work overtime to eliminate the extra nitrogen that you consume. Normally, your body will expel the extra nitrogen through urination. But, consuming too much protein can cause kidney damage due to the excess nitrogen that the body can’t release.
Another side effect of too much protein, although less significant, is that too much protein can cause digestive issues. This is because high protein foods like chicken breast don’t provide your digestive system with the fiber that it needs. Normally, the body gets the fiber it needs though fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. However, when you replace these foods with high protein foods, you may struggle to consume the 25 to 30 grams of fiber it needs per day to stay regular. So, keep in mind that it’s important to consume a well-balanced diet that doesn’t overlook your body’s other nutritional requirements.
Excessive protein intake has also been linked to bad breath and mood swings. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s time to reduce your protein intake.
Don’t Forget About Carbs!
Far too often we see athletes substitute protein intake for carbohydrate intake. Unfortunately, this defeats the entire purpose of consuming the correct amount of nutrients. Don’t jeopardize your carb intake while increasing your protein intake.
Carbohydrates play an important role when it comes to building muscle mass. The two most important roles that carbs play when it comes to building muscle are providing our bodies with energy and ensuring that we don’t burn our protein on non-muscle building functions.
During exercise, your body uses the carbohydrates stored throughout your body as a source of energy. Not having an adequate amount of carbs will cause your body to become fatigued which results in a lower quality workout and lower quality results. Having enough energy to perform at a high level during your workout is crucial to building muscle. When your body suffers from not having enough carbs, it turns to protein to energize your body. Obviously, this is detrimental to your progress because you’ll have less protein to build and maintain muscle mass.
How to Perfectly Time Your Protein and Carb Intake
The last part of the equation is perfectly timing your protein and carb intake to provide your body the nutrient it needs when it needs it. The perfect time to consume protein and carbs is within 30 minutes of the end of your workout. This is the ideal time to replenish your body with vital nutrients and kick-start the recovery and muscle building processes.
Most athletes consume our most popular product, whey protein powder, within 30 minutes of ending their workout. This will give your body the exact blend of nutrients it needs to with 25 grams of protein in each serving. Then follow it up with a high protein and carb meal within 3 hours of your workout to continue the muscle building process.
The Wrap Up
Hopefully, we’ve given you a great idea of exactly what your body needs to build muscle. Without a doubt, nutrition is the hardest part of building muscle mass. However, if you can get the nutrition down pat, then nothing can stop you!
Previously, we’ve covered our favorite muscle building foods that will kick start your diet plans and ensure you receive the proper nutrition. Check it out and as always, let us know if you have any questions!