How Much Protein Do I Need to Build Muscle?

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How often you ask yourself "How much protein do I need to build muscle"? Well the answer depends on the category in which you fall. As it is different for professional bodybuilders,for regular gym goers & for pregnant women.

Why is protein important?

It’s a well known fact that people are taking an inadequate amount of protein when it comes to their day-to-day activities. However, this doesn’t equate to the fact that some people are overdosing their daily protein intake, which can mean adverse side effects for some. However one can’t deny the importance protein has in our body. It is literally responsible for every critical function of the body. That’s because protein is made from amino acids, which can be considered  the building blocks of our body. Below are just some of the functions where protein is needed:

  • Functions of Nerves
  • Function of immune defense, cell growth
  • Function of blood production and most importantly brain transmission

However we know now, through scientific studies that protein intake per day is a double-edged sword, meaning too much and too little is going to cause you severe side effects like cramping, poor sleep, constant flu.

protein sources

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How much is too much? Different amounts of protein for different people?

Earlier in 2011, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommended anywhere from 1.2-1.5 g of protein, per pound of bodyweight. That number now is halved and technically in kilograms which is a relief for your kidneys if you ask me. Naturally the question of how much protein per day is good for health is different for men and women. Typically speaking, for the general health conscious person, 35% of his or her diet should be protein. That’s 46grams for women and around 60g for men.

Tip: You can easily get 25g of protein from a whey protein shake

Obviously, there are exceptions to this rule. Bodybuilding enthusiasts will fall on the higher end of the spectrum as will pregnant and breastfeeding women. Professional bodybuilders and magazines will have you believe that you need 300-400g of protein. Do yourself a favor and don’t try this. In bodybuilding protein by itself doesn’t do much for muscle building when compared to protein and carbs. So as a general rule males who regularly workout should aim at 1.2-1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight and women around 1g. Again at the risk of repeating information, this is only for people who are enthusiastic about bodybuilding. General health oriented individuals are going to be alright consuming around 46-50grams.

Not only do Pregnant and breastfeeding women need 10 grams more than their usual intake, and nursing women need 20grams more, but they also need to indulge in exercise.

Tip: When cutting fat, one needs to keep their protein intake higher than normal to maintain muscle mass

When it comes to vegetarians and vegans they can get their daily protein requirement to build muscles by sources like peas, peanuts, beans and whole grains. Although bodybuilding for vegetarians is difficult, it’s not impossible. 

protein shake

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We hope now that this settles the question “how much protein do I take to build muscle?” as well as any doubts about the daily requirement of protein. It’s important but nothing to be frantic about. But what are the side effects if you take too much? Read on.

Protein Side Effects

Right off the bat do understand that excess of anything is harmful. Too much Vitamin-C can kill you so it’s obvious that super-high dosages of protein could cause some damage. Below are just some of the side effects that occur when trying to overdo your daily requirement of protein. 

  • Kidney Stones- This will only happen to people who are already at a risk of getting stones since protein increases the deposits for a stone. Having lots of fiber will negate this. 
  • Fatigue- Too much protein might cause fatigue to set in and can mess up even the best workouts
  • Headache- In rare cases an overdose of protein might lead to a headache

Although there are obviously some sort of side effects, these can all be avoided by counting calories. By counting our calories, we can get exact amount of protein needed by the body to grow and hence make some spectacular gains! So what are you waiting for?! Stock up on protein today!

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