In this article, we will look at the research when it comes to how much protein you need to eat to gain muscle
When it comes to building muscle, this is one of the most commonly asked questions. While only one part of the equation when trying to gain muscle mass, it’s an extremely important one. How much protein do you need to eat to gain muscle mass? Is there a specific number? Is there a range? Do you even need protein to gain muscle?
In this article, we will look at the research when it comes to how much protein you need to eat to gain muscle mass and why you need protein (specifically) to put on quality lean muscle.
I’ll save you from getting absolutely nerdy and all scientific in this article, and just give you the straightforward answer to why you need protein to gain muscle mass: when you engage in resistance training, you create a stimulus that affects the muscle fibers. Putting tension and stress on the muscle fibers causes micro-tears and “damage” to the fibers themselves. To put on size, those muscle fibers need to be repaired, and that’s where protein comes in.
Consuming protein allows the macronutrient to be broken down into amino acids so that the body can absorb them. Those amino acids are then shuttled out to the muscles to repair the torn-down fibers.
During the recovery process, the amino acids help the fibers get rebuilt bigger and stronger to handle the stimulus they are put under — this helps increase muscle size and strength over time.
For that reason, you need to focus on progressive overload with your training regimen to provide the muscle fibers with a greater stimulus than before, further breaking down those muscle fibers and restarting the process again (also known as hypertrophy).
Now, let’s dive into the specifics of how much protein you need to eat to gain muscle mass. There are many different numbers being thrown around today, with as little as 40g of protein being needed up to hundreds of grams. So, what’s the real answer?
According to research, there appears to be some gray area in pinpointing an exact number. Additionally, it should be noted that you’ll want to get as much protein through real food items as possible. If you find you’re not able to meet your recommended daily protein requirement, a protein supplement such as a protein powder may be beneficial to help you get there.
One study looked at the amount of protein needed to gain muscle mass and found that individuals got the best results when consuming between 0.7-0.8g of protein per pound of body weight.
Another study looked at the same parameters and determined that a higher amount of protein was needed and recommended as much as 0.8-0.9g of protein per pound of body weight.
So, what’s the verdict? How much protein do you need to eat to gain muscle mass? From the information gathered through research, if you fall anywhere between 0.7-1.0g of protein per pound of body weight, you will be in the best position to experience gains in lean muscle mass. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you’ll need 140-200g of protein per day.