Protein: how much do I need?


This is part two in our “Protein” series. We’re removing all the bro science to give you the truth about protein and how it can help you build muscle. If you haven’t already checked out part one, follow this link there.


So now we have an idea of what protein is and where we can find it. The next step is to find out how protein is actually used for building muscle and how much we actually need to consume. For many people who simply ask their friends or search around on the internet, they quickly find that things can get confusing. Luckily we at Enraged Hippo Fitness are on hand to make things nice and simple. Read on to learn more:


How protein builds muscle

  • When you perform exercises with resistance such as with weight training, you are breaking down your muscle fibres in the process.
  • Your body then breaks down the protein you’ve digested into amino acids that repair those muscles fibres.
  • When your muscle fibres are repaired they also become stronger (and larger) so that they can deal with increased stress in the future. This is why progressively overloading your muscles and increasing the weight used in an exercise is beneficial for gains in both strength and size.
  • This is a prime example of how our bodies have learned to adapt to many situations and has led to us being the most dominant animal on the planet.

How much protein do you need to have?

  • If you frequently browse bodybuilding sites you will likely believe that you need over 250g of protein per day. Unless you are an enormous individual, this is highly likely to be far too much. Most bodybuilding websites will lie and make you believe that copious amounts of protein and supplements are needed to grow. This is purely so you will buy their products.
  • Most scientific journals advise that the actual amount of protein that should be necessary to promote increased muscle mass is 1 gram per pound of body weight each day (or 2.2g/kg)
  • If you are wanting to maintain your current muscle mass, you require as few as 0.7 grams per pound of body weight each day (or 1.5g/kg).
  • This is a lot less protein than most people are led to believe they need.
  • Examples below (these numbers are for people involved weight training) :
    1. If you are a 60kg female wanting to maintain your muscle mass you need a daily intake of 60 x 1.5 = 90 grams of protein per day.
    2. If you are a 160lb male wanting to increase your muscle mass you need a daily intake of 160 grams of protein per day.
  • Contrary to popular belief, if you participate in endurance sports such as cycling or long distance running, then you actually require more protein than someone who is a bodybuilder. Consider adding 10-25 grams of protein to the above calculations to find how much you require.

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Hopefully you should have a good understanding of how much protein you’re needing and where you can get it from. Follow the blog to stay up to date with the Protein series. Check out the third entry in the series here.

 
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