When it comes to muscle gain, questions like how much protein should I eat to gain muscle might be confusing. One gram of protein per pound (2.2 grams per kg) of body weight is a standard guideline for muscle gain.
When it comes to muscle mass, studies generally look at daily grams of protein per kilogram or pound of body weight rather than the percentage of calories that come from protein.
Protein is one of your body’s primary building blocks, and it’s utilized to repair and maintain your body’s tissues, including muscle.
You may be concerned if the required minimum quantity of protein is sufficient for muscular growth. We’ll look at how much protein you should eat each day to gain muscle mass in the sections below and even identify the amount of protein required to lose weight.
1. How Much Protein Do You Really Need to Build Muscle?
Protein makes up the majority of muscle tissue. Muscles, like most other body tissues, are active, continuously breaking down and rebuilding. Your body must synthesis more muscle protein than it breaks down to build muscle.
Protein contains a lot of nitrogen, your body has to have a net positive protein balance, also known as nitrogen balance.
Let’s break out exactly what protein is before we figure out how much you need. Simply put, protein is a macronutrient (a nutrient that humans require in higher amounts) made up of amino acids that are linked together to form long chains.
Some of these chains, referred to as “non-essential,” are produced naturally by your body, while others are not. These are known as essential amino acids because they must be obtained from the diet.
1.1. How much Protein is too much?
In general, people should consume 0.36 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight or 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day, but those that emphasize muscle building should go for more than that.
Athletes should consume 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Following that broad recommendation, bodybuilders and others trying to develop muscle or maintain lean body mass may benefit from ingesting closer to 1.6 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
1.2. Protein Requirements by Age
The majority of individuals consume enough protein. Are you making the highest protein selections, or are you stuck in a rut?
Protein is necessary for the health of your muscles, bones, and other body parts. With age, the amount you require changes:
- A baby needs around 10 grams of protein each day.
- School-aged children require 19-34 grams of protein per day.
- Teenage guys require up to 52 grams of protein each day.
- Teenage girls need 46 grams of protein each day.
- Adult men require around 56 grams of protein each day.
- A woman’s daily need for protein is around 46 grams (71 grams, if pregnant or breastfeeding)
According to the Institute of Medicine, protein should make up at least 10% of your daily calories but not more than 35%.
How much protein should a woman eat to gain muscle? The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggests that a person consumes 1.2-1.7 g of protein per kg of body weight per day to develop muscle growth with regular exercise. It is 71-100 g for a 130-pound woman wanting to build muscle mass and strength and 82-116 g for a 150-pound guy.
2. How much Protein Should I Consume To Lose Weight?
Protein is not only helpful for developing strength, but it also helps you lose weight. Protein consumption has been shown to boost the number of calories burned by raising your metabolic rate as well as lower your hunger, making you less likely to gain weight in the first place.
If you want to gain muscle, you should increase your calorie intake. If you also want to lose weight, you should watch your overall calorie intake.
How much protein should I eat to gain muscle and lose weight? Your protein requirements for weight reduction will be determined by your level of activity. It ranges from 1.2 to 1.8 grams per kilogram, with 1.6 being the perfect balance for maintaining and increasing muscle mass while reducing weight. You will need to consume enough to provide your body with the fuel need for essential activities, but weight loss may necessitate a decrease or modification in your daily calorie intake.
3. High Protein Foods
Once you’ve established a daily protein goal, the next challenge is determining which meals will help you achieve it.
What foods will work best for you depends on your dietary choices, budget, and eating style? If you’re having trouble getting enough protein, try these tried-and-true methods:
- Eat three to four substantial meals each day, each with 20 to 40 grams of protein.
- Protein-rich snacks, such as almonds, crackers, or a smoothie or protein shake, are recommended.
- After your workout, have a protein smoothie with 20-40 grams of protein.
- Complementary proteins should be combined as much as feasible if you are a vegetarian
Any nutrient should be obtained from dietary sources. These foods are:
- Beans, peas, and lentils
- Dairy products
- Lean meat
- Seeds and nuts
- Seafood and fish
If you are healthy and aim to stay that way, consuming excellent protein sources with most of your meals, combined with nutritious plant foods, should be enough to keep your intake in check.
All of your protein should ideally come from dietary sources. Supplements may be recommended by your healthcare professional in some situations.
4. How much Protein am I Eating?
Don’t be disappointed if you are new to tracking your food intake. It is easy to get overwhelmed at first, but there are a few pointers to keep in mind.
4.1. Food Scale
It is a good idea to get a cheap food scale. It does not indicate that you must weigh every meal for the rest of your life. However, it is beneficial to weigh your foods for a few weeks and, ideally, put them into an app or food diary so that you can learn to estimate the quantity of protein you are ingesting at any given time.
You may track your daily consumption with an app that acts as a daily food journal after knowing how much protein is in a product. They also have libraries where you can look up the protein content of your meals, which is useful.
It is a handy tool for plugging in what you are eating and getting nutritional information computed for you.
4.3. Hand Method
Another popular technique is to consume “a palm’s worth” of protein each meal. Calculate how much that is, weigh it, and use it as a starting point. You will quickly be able to eyeball bits of meat (or other sources) and have a good idea of how much protein is in a meal without using scales.
Hopefully, you get all the knowledge related to the question of how much protein should I eat to gain muscle. If you are trying to lose weight, make sure you include protein in every meal. It is also beneficial for your muscles to spread protein evenly throughout your meals which is especially essential as you become older and lose muscle mass. A diet based on current protein consumption guidelines may be met with a well-balanced meal and does not need supplements.