The question many tend to ask me over and over again, is the simple one; how much protein is enough protein? There are basic ratios that assist in acquiring the right amount of protein in take, to build muscle mass but, there’s also goals that need to be looked at to assume how much protein is needed for a particular body type.
Someone who’s a hardgainer, may require a little more because of the overall requirement of calories to gain weight period, while other body types may just follow the basics. This article is going to just focus on the basics and not go into the nitty gritty of it, I’d rather leave that for another post. In fact, I am just letting you know why the numbers are the way it is, why you should or shouldn’t follow it and at the end of the day it’s up to you to choose which of the 2 ratios, is the one for you and you’re long term muscle building or maintaining goals.
The normal grams to body weight ratio that is recommended to build muscle mass is 1.0 grams per pound of body weight. Some people say lean body mass instead of body weight, but that requires one to know their body fat percentage, to get an accurate number. Instead, using the body weight would make it easier for anyone to calculate their appropriate protein intake. Then again, you find other articles recommending you consume 0.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight and that one doesn’t require so much protein to build muscle mass as commercially thought.
See, the idea stems from the people we look up to who are bodybuilders or fitness experts in magazines, that consume the 1.0 grams of protein per pound of body weight but most of us are aware they are on some sort of anabolic substance so they would benefit heavily from a high protein diet. Naturally, as they are in magazines geared towards the masses who aren’t on anabolic substances, the number will still flow over because that’s what is recommended by those experts.
For the lay, natural, person it is assumed that it could be wasteful to consume anymore than the 0.5g/lb of body weight. The average person who isn’t into fitness, consumes way less than that, so this number should be sufficient for a heavily physically active individual.
To be honest, I personally believe it’s a preference to the individual, on which numbers will work for them. Bodybuilders may want to shoot for the high protein diet, while regular fitness enthusiasts could easily enjoy the latter ratio and gain some descent muscle mass. In fact, if you’re looking to get that beach body, with lean muscle mass and not the bulky look of a body builder, the 0.5 g/lb of body weight, would suffice.
Of course, yet again this all is determined by your body type as I mentioned earlier in this post. If you are a hard gainer, caloric intake would have to be high, so hence protein intake would be high also. As for other folks who find it easy or somewhat easy to gain muscle mass, the lower spectrum could possibly work.
Now, this number is for bulking as well as cutting. It’s been known that the lower your calories goes, the higher your protein intake should be, when it comes to preserving or attempting to build any muscle mass but the fun thing is, it’s no where as high as the 1.5 g per pound of body weight you may read some body builders consuming, for the obvious reasons. For you and I, the max will always and should always stay at 1 gram per pound of body weight.
So, at the end of the day, the ratio all has to do with what you want and what makes you feel comfortable. I have gained muscle mass on both spectrum of the argument but find it more relaxing on the mind to have more protein in my system, than too little. Basically, if I am trying to hit 1g/lb of body weight and get a little less, at least I have gotten a lot. If I am hitting for 0.5 g/lb of body weight instead, I end up risking taking in too much carbohydrates, which for me personally, only messes things up in the long run for my body image and type that I want.Read More »