This is one of the most common questions that is asked in the fitness industry, and it’s a good question. I mean we all want to get the best results possible and make strength and muscle gains right? Who want’s to find out that they’ve just been wasting the last 3 months or 2 years doing something wrong? That’s a lot of muscle and progress that could have been made in that time if you knew the right answer.
The only problem is what is the right answer? The amount of protein somebody needs has been recommended from as little as .3g per kg of bodyweight all the way up to 3.3g and above, and it seems like all of these approaches work (to a degree), and today I want to help you all sift through the noise and ensure you’re getting the right amount for your body, not too little to not make progress but also not too much that’ you’re literally pissing away your money because you consumed too much. I like to think of it like putting fuel in a car: If you only put in a little bit you aren’t going to go very far, but if you overfill it and there’s petrol spilling all over the floor you’re spending a lot of extra money for wasted petrol.
I’ve created a quick video that I suggest you watch after reading this article to get a better idea on protein.
Too little or too much?
The biggest problem with all the recommendations of protein is that they’re either too little or too much. When you hear claims about consuming .35 – .5g of protein per kg or per pound of bodyweight that is directed to the people who don’t lift weights, let’s call them “Average Joes”. These people don’t need a lot of protein because they’re not trying to gain muscle, they’re happy doing their thing and don’t have to think about what we do.
Then there are the huge bodybuilders who recommend 3, 4 or 5g per kilo of bodyweight and just eat as much protein as you can with every meal. There’s a few problems with these recommendations:
- They’re huge bodybuilders or athletes who weigh a lot more than you and I and they have a lot more muscle.
- They’re most likely on steroids so they will use the protein more efficiently and put it to good use.
- They have no idea about how the body uses nutrients and they just think “the more the better”.
These people mean well, and because they look great and that’s how they do it they assume everyone should, but if you aren’t looking to be 110kg of just pure muscle and spend a ridiculous amount on food every week then you don’t need to go that high.
Just the right amount
The right amount is going to be somewhere in between these two recommendations. This way you’re going to get enough protein that your body needs, and you aren’t going to be wasting your money on over consuming protein and just pee it out later on (there’s a lot better things you could be spending your money on). The right amount of protein for you is going to be determined by your goals. If you’re looking to maintain your current muscle mass or looking to gain muscle you actually don’t need that much protein. I recommend about 1.5 – 2g of protein per kilo of body weight. This might not seem like a lot and to be honest it doesn’t have to be, you should be using your extra calories you consume in the forms of carbohydrates for fuel and a little bit of extra fats for regular hormone function.
If you’re someone looking to cut body fat, then you need to bump up your protein a little bit more, because you want to make sure you’re preserving as much muscle as possible while cutting weight. For you I recommend 1.8 – 2.5g of protein per kilo of bodyweight. Another reason for having a high amount of protein is because it’s going to help with satiation too. You’re going to feel fuller for longer and not always be starving yourself.
It couldn’t be simpler
That’s really as simple as i could make it. I didn’t want to overwhelm you with the science of too little or too much or have a lot of studies showing the benefits of more vs less and less vs more protein. Instead I thought I would put it as simply as possible for you.
If you want to go just a little bit more in depth you can watch my video here:
What to do next
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Stay Strong. Live Long.