How Much Protein Do You Need?

If you’re looking to gain muscle and pack on size, the most important macronutrient to focus on is protein intake. Whilst carbs and fat are key to building a great physique, your protein intake will have the biggest impact by far.

There’s a lot of conflicting information online regarding how much protein is optimal.

The research is clear: as a rule, aim for 0.8g of protein per lb of bodyweight. 

Example: if you weigh 200lbs, you need to aim for 160 grams of protein per day. 

(200 x 0.8 = 160). 

This is probably far less than you’ve been told by other bodybuilders. The truth is, anything over this amount will simply be a surplus of protein and add nothing to your strength or physique. As with training, more is not always better and there’s an optimal range you should look to work in. 

Calculate how many grams you need per day and use this as a minimum. If you eat slightly more, there won’t be any detrimental effects, only the consumption of more calories. If you stay within the range of 0.8-1g per lb of bodyweight, you’ll be more than covered. Protein is 4 calories per gram, so make sure this all fits in with your daily calorie target. 

There’s also an individual difference to account for when consuming protein. Some old-school bodybuilders consumed massive amounts, whereas others didn’t prioritize it above any other macronutrient. Steve Reeves is a classic example. Reeves ate a high-carb diet and didn’t consume much protein compared to modern standards. Steve is a great example to work off as he was a natural bodybuilder. Read all about it here. Mike Mentzer is another example. Mentzer claimed that muscle is 22 percent protein, and we should eat accordingly. 


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