You go to the gym faithfully three or ever four times per week. You are meticulous about ever set and every rep during each workout. You are constantly consuming fitness and workout magazines for the latest muscle building routines. You’ve tried strip sets, drop sets, giant sets, super sets, super duper sets, compound sets.
You pretty much have the workout side of things down pat. There isn’t a muscle building workout trick left that you haven’t already incorporated into your routine.
So when you leave the gym how do you ensure that you will actually reap the real rewards from your workout? If the time spent in the gym ‘stimulates’ your muscles to grow, then the time spent out of the gym must be when they actually start growing right?
What are muscles built of anyway? Well protein of course. It stands to reason that you must eat enough protein to make your muscles grow and add to what is already there. So exactly how much protein per day do you really need to build muscle?
And this is the $64,000 question.
Many bodybuilding magazines and common fitness industry lore will state that you need approximately 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. This however is not supported by scientific research. Although it’s probably not harmful to take in this much protein, it also doesn’t really make much scientific sense to relate the amount of protein you require to your bodyweight.
Consider the fact that your body is made up of two major compartments.
1. Lean Body Mass (LBM)
2. Fat Mass
Lean Body Mass accounts for all the parts of your body that aren’t fat, this includes your muscles, bones, connective tissues, nervous system, organs, gastro-intestinal tract, blood, blood vessels…basically everything besides fat.
Fat Mass is just that, the fat that is wrapped around all of the lean body mass.
Both of these compartments contribute to your bodyweight, however only one of them (LMB) is really metabolically active and requires protein. It makes no sense to use your bodyweight as a calculation for protein requirement simply because your body fat % can fluctuate so greatly.
If you have 50 pounds of extra fat on your body but your lean mass is the same, do you really think you need 50 more grams of protein in order to build muscle mass?
In reality you only need to feed the muscle mass underneath the fat mass, therefore your total bodyweight is irrelevant to calculating how much protein per day you need to eat.
Our research indicated that for the height man (around 6 feet tall) 120 grams of protein is more than enough to support muscle growth.
You can go above this level if you like, but it most likely won’t produce any magical result.