How many grams of protein do you need to build muscle

Why is protein necessary to build muscle?

Protein is a special molecule made up of amino acids which are known as the ‘building blocks’ – which means that protein cannot be made without amino acids. There are various proteins and the different types do different jobs – like cell signaling, replicating DNA and forming tissues.
In order for muscle proteins to be made various amino acids are required. Some of those amino acids – also called ‘essential amino acids’ – should come from the food.

When you consume food that has protein your body will break down those protein molecules into their building blocks – the amino acids. Then it will use those amino acids to build up the proteins it requires.

If your diet consists of insufficient proteins the body doesn’t get enough amino acids and is unable to build up muscle proteins and repair damaged muscle cells.

And, when you exercise, some of your muscle fibers get damaged and, thus, your body requires more proteins to repair them and make them larger. Thus, for a maximized performance, a high-protein diet is recommended.

How much protein do athletes need?

The Institute of Medicine recommends that 10-35% of the daily calories should come from proteins. But 10-35% is a wide range and if the daily calories are too small an amount even if 35% of them are protein we’ll still not be getting enough protein. But if we consume too much
calories, we’ll be eating more than necessary.

A research from McMaster University says that in order to stimulate the maximal protein synthesis 1.3-1.8 grams of proteins per a kilogram of body weight are required. But if you train too frequently or too intensely you may need even more protein.Another study (by the University of Western Ontario) reached the same conclusion – that for athletes 1.6-1.8 g of protein per a kilogram of body weight are enough. Still, they also said that higher intake may be required under depending on different factors.

It’s important to take into consideration the type of protein

Note the following three things:

  • Your body utilizes some forms of protein better than others.
  • Different types of proteins have different amounts of amino acids.
  • Your body digests different types of proteins with different rates.

Let’s look further into this. To take as an example the beef protein – the body metabolizes it quickly and uses 70-80% of the consumed. Another good type is the whey protein – the body uses about 90% of what’s consumed. Egg protein is digested slower than the aforementioned two types of protein but about 90% of the consumed is used by the body.

To best meet the needs of the body, you’d better include eggs, fish and other in your food regimen.

Things are a little bit tougher for vegans, though. For them it’s recommended the intake of lots of grains, legumes and vegetables with high protein.

Does it matter when you consume protein?

Well, as long as you reach the daily number of protein which you need, then it doesn’t matter when you consume the protein. Some people prefer to have 3 larger meals per day and that’s fine. But you can also, if you like, spread the food over 5 smaller portions per day – that’s also

When it comes to whether to consume protein before or after you work out, there are several researches we would like to mention. The studies by several universities show that there is a benefit of consuming protein before and after you work out. Still, there are other studies which show no correlation between whether you take protein near the time of your work-out. So, that’s mostly up to you.

Eating protein before bed, however, might be a good thing. It may promote the repair of the damaged during the work-out muscle fibers.

The main points

You need to pick foods with complex protein rather than those with simple protein. They help you have more energy for a longer period of time in contrast with the simple protein which leads to spike in the blood sugar and in the energy levels for a short duration.

The rule which the bodybuilders follow is usually 1 g of protein consumed per a pound of body weight. Still, if you are “cutting” to lose fat, then you’ll need a higher amount of protein – about 1.2-1.5 g per a pound of body weight.

It’s very important to consume a high amount of protein as you get leaner because if you consume too little protein then you’ll quickly lose strength and muscle mass.

Whether to consume protein before or after work-out, or not, it’s completely up to you. It’s recommended, though, to consume some protein before you go to bed at night in order to help the muscle repair.


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