We all know, protein is one of the essential nutrients for the proper functioning of our body.

But how much protein our body exactly need per day? — whether our goal is to building or maintaining muscle mass.

In this article, we’ll dig deep into the topic of how much protein do I need to build muscle, including its proper definition and some frequently asked questions regarding protein.

So, let’s dive in!

What is Protein and Why is It Important?

What is Protein and Why is It Important?

Protein is a macronutrient which is one of the big three, along with carbohydrate and fat. Basically, protein is a significant component of our bodies, making muscle, organs, skin, hormones and serves many vital functions.

The protein that we eat is made up of ‘building blocks’ called amino acids. Although there are hundreds of amino acids in nature, humans only use about 20 of them to make every protein type.

There’re 5-non essential, 6-conditionally essential, and 9-essential amino acids.

Our body produces some of these amino acids, but it’s a very tiny amount and less critical. So, you must make sure you’re taking proteins from whole foods. It provides about 4-calories per gram.

Protein is found in both animal and plant sources. Generally speaking, animal-based protein like eggs, dairy, meat and seafood, including, soy food provides all nine essential amino acids in adequate amounts.  

Most other plant-based foods, including whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, have a high amount of some amino acids and a low amount of others. So, eat a variety of foods to get all amino acids from plant-based sources.

How Much Protein Do I Need to Build Muscle?

How Much Protein Do I Need to Build Muscle?

The answer to this question is that — it depends!

How much protein do you really need depends on many factors, including your goal, fitness level, activity level, gender, age and medical condition, among others.

The general recommendation of protein to build muscle mass, as follows:

  • People who don’t workout: 0.5g/lb/day (180lb weight = 90g protein)
  • People who are slightly active (2-3 days workout/week): 0.8g/lb/day (180lb weight = 130g protein)
  • People who are highly active (5-6 days workout/week): 1g/lb/day (180lb weight = 180g protein)
  • People who are advanced (5+ years in training): 1.2 to 1.5g/lb/day (200g to 250g protein)

Remember, it’s a recommended number, but it varies on multiple factors, as I already explain (your age, fitness level, activity level and others).

So, when you’re just starting and a beginner, a 0.5 to 0.8 gram per pound body weight can be perfect for you. But when you’re trained for one to two years, your muscles will need more protein; around 1 gram per pound bodyweight is perfect

An advanced athlete needs about 1.2 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound bodyweight in a day for building or maintaining muscle mass.

Another way to calculate your required protein intake: 

We recommend around 25-30% of your daily calories from protein for lean muscle growth. 

If your daily needed calories is 2800, you should take 700 to 840 calories from protein means around 170-210g protein per day (Whereas 1g protein = 4 kcal).

Related: How to Build Muscle Mass Naturally.

Protein is a vital nutrient required for our body’s proper functioning. It’s crucial to consume enough protein per day to gain or maintain healthy muscles. Studies suggest around 0.7-1 gram per pound (1.6–2.2 grams per kg) protein is perfect for most people.

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What is the Role of Protein in Muscle Growth?

Very much of our body is made up of proteins, including muscle, bones, skin, hair, and so on. The amount of protein we consume from our diets can determine whether we’re in the building or losing mode.

Protein is a vital nutrient for building or maintaining muscle mass because the building blocks of protein called amino acids help repair or maintain damaged muscle tissues.

After intense resistance training, consuming 20 to 40 grams of whey protein is essential to recover muscle tissues fast and grow them bigger and stronger.

FAQs

Which foods are rich in protein?

Whether you’re a vegetarian, non-vegetarian, or vegan, there’re many protein-rich foods available on the market that you can include according to your diet to meet your daily required proteins.

The best dietary protein food sources are:

  • Beef, lamb, veal, pork.
  • Chicken, turkey, duck, emu, goose.
  • Fish, prawns, crab, lobster, mussels, oysters, scallops, clams.
  • Eggs.
  • Milk, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese.
  • Almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, macadamias, hazelnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds.
  • Oats, all beans, lentils, chickpeas, split peas, tofu, etc.

What is the prime time to take protein?

There’re two types of people: fitness people who have a profession in fitness and regular people who exercise but lead a normal lifestyle outside of fitness.

For professional fitness people, we take around 5-6 meals a day, and every meal contains some amount of protein, where normal people should take atleast three meals with protein.

Let’s find out the best time to take protein.

The #1 prime time is your breakfastYes, when you wake up in the morning, your body in the catabolic state (chances of muscle loss), so no matter your goal — muscle building or fat loss, you must take protein-rich food or supplement in the morning.

  • Food: Whole eggs, egg whites, oats, peanut, beans, almonds, milk, etc.
  • Supplement: Whey protein, casein protein, etc.

Now let’s talk about #2 prime time, and it’s your post-workout. Why? When you utilise your muscles during training, they’re broken or damaged, so it’s need protein to recover and rebuild muscle tissues. Here is your option can be lean protein foods or supplement.

  • Food: Egg whites, slim milk (eat fast-digesting foods).
  • Supplement: Whey protein isolate or good quality blend, plant protein.

And the #3 prime time is (you guess right) before bed. Yes, the third time is 30-60 minutes before bed. It’s essential because your body will be fasting for 8-10 hours, and your overall body grows at night. At this time, you should focus on slow-digesting foods or supplements.

  • Food: Paneer, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, nuts (focus on slow-digesting foods).
  • Supplement: Time leasing protein, casein protein.

So, yes, there’re three prime times when our body needs protein most. If you miss protein in your lunch or any snacks, you must make sure you’re taking proteins those prime times fulfill your daily needs.

In the end, you should look out that your body gets around 25-30% protein from your daily calorie intake for your lean muscle growth and overall health.

Do males need more protein than females? 

Usually, males have less body fat and more muscles than females in the same weight and age group. Which means males need more protein to maintain and grow muscle mass than female.

When it comes to gender differences, sometimes females, especially during pregnancy, need more protein to grow their baby and overall health properly.

Generally, males need more protein according to their body composition and activity level, where females can be healthy by taking less amount of protein per day. 

Although studies have shown no gender differences in the basal level net protein balance have been found. 

Conclusion

Whether you want to build muscle or an average person, you must make sure you’re consuming enough protein per day (as above explained) for your optimum muscle growth and overall health.

Whether you want to build muscle or an average person, you must make sure you’re consuming enough protein per day (as above explained) for your optimum muscle growth and overall health.

I hope you got your answer about how much protein do I need to build muscle? If you’ve any questions, please ask me in the comment section below!

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