Friday, January 14, 2005

How Much Protein To Build Muscle?

If you want to lose fat and build muscle mass,
there's no question you have to focus on your daily
calorie intake and the amount of protein, carbs, and
fats you eat.

But there are so many conflicting views on how much
protein one needs in a day to effectively gain lean
muscle and shed body fat.

It's one of the most-asked questions that I get as
a personal trainer, so I'm going to attempt to shed
some light on the subject.

First of all, is it important to get enough protein
in your daily nutrition?

Absolutely! It's absolutely critical you get enough
of it in your diet if you do any form of weight
training or exercise.

Protein is the major nutrient responsible for muscle
growth and repair.

Protein (specifically amino acids) builds muscle.
In fact, protein should be the number one nutritional
concern for people working out.

Protein is the critical nutrient responsible for
tendon, ligament, and muscle strength.

Protein is also the least likely of the three nutrients
(protein, fat, carbohydrates) to be converted to body fat.

But how much protein do you really need?

Again, there are many conflicting views on this, but
I've studied thousands of natural bodybuilders and
athletes to find some common ground as far as their
protein intake.

Also, I've developed a ratio that works well for
my own training as well as the personal training clients
I've instructed.

For people involved in weight training, I recommend
one and a half to two grams (1 1/2 - 2 grams) of protein
per pound of bodyweight.

So if you weigh 200 pounds, you want to consume 300
to 400 grams of protein each day. This may seem like
a high number, but it really is that important to supply
enough of the "raw material" needed for muscle building.

As far as percentage of your daily calories, I would
make protein about half (50%) of your daily calories.

It doesn't have to be exact. It can be 45-50% or
somewhere around there.

But a simple rule of thumb is that about half your
daily calories should come from protein sources like
fish, lean red meat, turkey, chicken, eggs, dairy, beans
or protein supplements (whey, egg, milk).

40% of your daily calories should come from carbs and
10% from fats.

If you eat 2000 calories a day, 1000 of your calories
will come from protein, the remainder from carbs and fats.

Again, these numbers do not have to be exact, but should
be a guideline.

If you're currently overweight, you want to come as
close as you can to the 50% protein, 40% carbs,
and 10% fats ratio as you can.

If you're quite thin and want to gain some weight
fast, you can use more of a 40% protein, 40% carbs,
and 20% fats ratio.

If you do more cardio and aerobic work (long distance running)
than weight training, you can follow a 30% protein, 50% carbs,
and 20% fats breakdown.

The most important thing to remember is, if you're after
lean muscle mass growth, you need to supply your body
with the raw materials used to build muscle.

Carbs are not directly involved in lean muscle tissue
growth and repair and neither are fats.

Supply your body with adequate protein levels and you'll soon find it a lot
easier to build muscle.

For more information on how to build muscle mass, check out my muscle building program "Simple Steps To Get Huge And Shredded"

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