When it comes to dieting, the first macronutrient everyone thinks about to grow muscle is Protein.
Why? Because protein is the basic building block for the human body, comprised of amino acids, it is essential for growth in every aspect of the body from height to muscle size, to even basic organ functions.
When it comes to bodybuilding and weightlifting, protein is seen as a macronutrient that we must consume in a larger amount compared to normal in order to promote frequent and sufficient growth. So how does one go about determining how much protein they need for themselves?
Well, there’s actually a formula I like to use to help get an idea and a better understanding of how much protein you should have. By using this formula, you will get an ideal number of grams of protein to consume per day, which can be used as an ideal range for you to consume around X amount of protein on a daily basis.
How Much Protein Per Day?
Since protein, just like carbs and fats, are made up of calories, we need to determine how much of our daily calories we need to use for protein. When it comes to finding out calories, for weight loss I like to do:
Bodyweight x 11-15 = X amount
For weight gain, I like to do:
Bodyweight x 18-21 = X amount
Once you have your total number of calories, you will use 40% of those for Protein (4 kcal per gram), 40% for Carbs (4 kcal per gram), and 20% for fats (9 kcal per gram). Since I’m discussing protein, you will set it up like this:
Example for 160lb male
160 x 15 = 2400 calories per day
2400 x 0.40 = 960 calories of protein per day
960/4 (cal per gram) = 240 grams of protein per day.
For someone who weighs 160lbs and is consuming 240 grams of protein per day, this means you will be eating 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. This is a very sufficient amount of protein to consume daily in order to have adequate growth in muscle tissue with proper training.
Although this number is typically used for weight loss, the weight you will lose will be from fat and you will still be able to have proper muscle growth due to the higher amount of protein that your body is consuming that will be used for muscle repair. If this amount of calories or protein is not enough and is not giving you growth, simply increase your intake, just do not increase your intake way too high to an absurd amount.
Consuming More Protein
So what happens if we consume more protein vs what the ideal range of our body weight is?
Well, although you may think that by eating more protein it will lead to more growth, this is not actually the case. If you eat 300g of protein per day and only weigh 150lbs, you are using up extra calories for protein instead of carbohydrates and fats, which will lead to less room to use up for those other macros.
If you consume too few carbohydrates, you will begin to feel sluggish and slow with activities like running and jogging since these calories are used primarily as fuel. And if you consume too little fat, after X amount of days or time, you will begin to feel sluggish mentally and eventually physically, as everyday tasks will become harder and harder to perform.
Although when you over consume on protein, your body will use it all up to its abilities (No, consuming too much protein doesn’t just get wasted. No, the body doesn’t have a cap or limit on how much protein it can absorb daily and per meal.) However, just because we won’t waste any extra protein consumed, its best to use up those extra calories gained, but cutting back on protein to use towards other macros such as fats and carbs. By increasing fats, you will have more energy during the day, since fats are not stored as fat and are used as energy.
By consuming extra carbs, you will have more energy as well and you’ll be able to exercise a lot longer and more intensely due to an increase in energy levels from the carbohydrates since carbohydrates are what we use mostly when exercising intensely, such as weight training or performing high-intensity cardio, such as sprints.
Take Home Message
So there you have it, a rough idea and hopefully a better understanding of how much protein you should try to consume per day and how much protein would lead to too high a consumption. Also, remember that each person’s body type and metabolism is different, just because you weigh 150lbs and someone else weighs 150lbs doesn’t mean you both will require the same amount of protein per day for growth.
What works for one person won’t always work for the other. If you are not having achieving growth, you simply need to increase protein or calories overall in order to achieve sufficient growth.