How Much Protein Should I Eat to Gain Muscle

When anyone is looking to build muscle, the amount of protein they consume is one of the most crucial elements in being able to achieve this.

Many individuals who are overweight might think that working out in the gym will convert fat into muscle. However, the two are two entirely different types of tissue.

protein build muscleFat can’t be converted into muscle. It is the daily amount of protein you consume which helps build muscle, while at the same time the body weight lost is due to working out and a calorific deficit.

All over the place, there are high protein diets advertised as well as all the protein powders which are sold for people wishing to build more muscle.

Does protein help build muscle? It does, but there is a little more to it than consuming as much protein as you can throughout the day.

Why is protein so essential?

The compound we know as protein is comprised of the smaller molecules we know as amino acids. It is these which are the building blocks of the human body.

The body is able to produce twelve of the twenty amino acids by itself. The remaining ones must be gained from the foods we eat.

These amino acids obtained from foods are as follows:

  • Leucine
  • Isoleucine
  • Lysine
  • Histidine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Valine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Methionine

It doesn’t matter if you lead a rather inactive lifestyle or you spend time in the gym. The correct amount of protein is essential for the body to function at its most optimum.

You can see later there is a simple method of calculating your protein intake which is nothing more than grams per pound.

The Best Forms of Protein

All forms of protein differ from each other, so consuming large quantities of one type of protein-rich food won’t have the same benefits as eating a broad range of protein-based foods.

protein types foodMuch of the science behind this is the fact some proteins are absorbed by the body differently than others.

There are also some plant-based proteins which contain lower levels of amino acids than others.

Without running through the numbers. Protein from meats, eggs, and dairy provide higher levels protein and amino acids.

This leads us to find, a vegetable source of protein alone isn’t a good primary source of gaining these amino acids and protein.

How Much Protein Can the Human Body Absorb?daily protein intake

In many areas, it is written that the human body is only capable of absorbing 40 grams of protein in one meal. Anything over this would be disposed of by the body and would not be used to gain any muscle.

With this in mind, it is crucial to know how much protein the body can absorb to make full use of it when looking to gain muscle.

There is not one answer to the question “How much Protein Should I eat” as body composure also plays a crucial part. A professional football player will need to consume way more than a regular office worker to maintain his body composure.

Here’s what happens When You Consume Protein

The stomach breaks protein down by the use of acids and enzymes. It is here it is converted to amino acids. There are some forms of protein which break down quickly such as whey powder, while others such as eggs take much longer.

At this point, the amino acids make their way to the small intestine where they are transported into the bloodstream via special cells.

As there are a limited number of these carrier cells, there are limits to the levels of amino acids which can be transported into the bloodstream every hour.

Reverting back to the previous section of how much protein the body can absorb, you can look at hourly figures which are as follows for varying protein types:

  • 2.8 grams of cooked egg protein
  • 3.9 grams of soy protein
  • 6.1 grams of casein protein
  • 8 to 10 grams of whey protein

These figures will vary person to person due to size and exercise levels, though they do show the varying amounts when the proteins break down quickly or slowly.

Most of this is the root of why people say only 40 grams of protein can be absorbed in one meal. It doesn’t hold true because of the varying types.

Whey powders source of proteinWhey powders, for instance, would spike protein synthesis much faster than an equivalent weight of another protein (casein as an example).

At this point the levels don’t only spike quicker due to faster absorption, they also fall back to the base level much faster.

Healthy eating dieting will also play a crucial role in this as foods which interfere with protein absorption won’t give accurate readings.

This type of junk food can play havoc with any calculations you come up with for how much protein for muscle building you will need.

The Amount of Protein to Build Muscle

You have seen how protein affects the body and how specific foods offer varying amounts of these Amino acids. The basic answer though is the grams of protein per day to build muscle.

This is where varying body sizes come into play as body weight is used as part of the calculation to find out how much protein a day to build muscle is required.

For a while, athletes have been working on figures of 0.6 grams to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Since this was conducted, Scientists have now come up with the answer of 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight when looking to build muscle. [Source]

After all this, you might think you need to calculate a considerable amount of protein to compensate for many visits to the gym to gain muscle.

This is another area where what you have been led to believe is entirely correct. It is still possible to workout at home and adjusts your protein levels to build muscle.

The crucial point is the one mentioned right at the beginning. Fat can’t be converted to muscle, it is a gradual weight loss which shows the muscle you build underneath.

About the author

Robert Hudson

I'm Robert Hudson aka Robbo, a personal trainer for over 10 years. I love helping people get into the best shape of their lives - the fastest and healthiest way possible.

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