How Much Protein Do I Need to Build Muscle & Lose Weight
How much protein do you really need to build muscle and what’s the optimal amount of protein to have when trying to lose weight? There or so many different opinions on this topic and these opinions have changed over time. For example, many bodybuilders back in the seventies and eighties believed that the higher your protein intake was, the more muscle you would build. And right around this time, doctors were on the complete opposite side of the spectrum saying that consuming a very high protein diet would lead to major kidney damage and irreversible negative changes. Both of these ideas have since proven to not be true. Protein is made up of amino acids which are the building blocks to muscle however just by having more protein does not mean you’re going to build more muscle. In fact, if you overdo it on the protein you can store it as fat just like any other macronutrient. Since protein is the building block to our muscles we don’t want to have too low of a protein intake either because this macro is obviously necessary to synthesize new muscle tissue and repair already broken down muscle tissue. The recommendations for protein intake very very largely depending on who you ask. Some bodybuilders to this day believe in a very high protein intake like 1.5 or two or even three grams of protein for every pound of body weight. These very high recommendations for your protein intake are slowly getting phased out because plenty of new research shows that it’s just not necessary to have that much protein. And in fact, having so much protein can make you have to cut calories from carbs and fats to balance out your daily totals which could affect your hormones very negatively. And that alone could stop you from building muscle and losing weight at the optimal rate. ….There are also other recommendations where they say that the highest amount of protein that you should have per day is .6 grams for every pound of body weight. Even though I think this is a totally acceptable recommendation for someone that isn’t very Physically Active I also think that this recommendation is totally unacceptable for someone that does weight training and is actively trying to burn fat or build muscle. The whole point of weight training is to purposefully try to actually break your muscles down. so obviously when you’re doing a proper weight training program you’ll require more protein than the average person to repair the damage that you’re doing on a weekly basis.
So with all that said the ideal recommendation for protein intake is .8 to one gram of protein per pound of body weight and a maximum of maybe 1.2 or 1.3 grams of protein per pound if you’re incredibly physically active and you’re breaking down those muscles very frequently. If you are incredibly lean like I’m talking about 6% body fat you may want to go with the higher protein intake per pound of weight because the majority of your weight would obviously be muscle mass in that scenario. On the flip side if you have a lot of fat on your body then you’re probably better off with going with the .8 grams for every pound of body weight. When you’re trying to build muscle you typically won’t need more than one gram of protein per pound of body weight. When the goal is to build muscle even though carbs and fats are not the building blocks to your muscles they are extremely important to spare muscle tissue and to help increase your strength to ultimately help build more muscle. For weight loss however its a little different and you have to understand why high protein diets are so effective at helping people lose weight fast. at the same time, you have to also understand that even though a very high protein diet is very effective for fat loss it’s not an optimal strategy to stick to very high protein diets over the long run. So the reason why for weight loss especially for aggressive fat loss where you’re trying to lose a lot of fat fast the reason why high protein diets are so good at getting it off fast is that protein has enzymes in it that are so difficult for your body to digest that your body will use energy ….AKA …calories just to digest that protein source. Meaning anywhere from 20 to 30% of the calories from the protein source that you eat will be used in the digestion process.
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