We all need protein for growth and to repair muscle and tissue. But how much protein to build muscle? It should be based on your lifestyle and activity level. There’s a lot of evidence indicating that individuals and athletes who engage in intense training need more protein.

Both Endurance Athletes and Strength Athletes need more protein then the general population. For many years the general belief was that protein did not contribute to energy demands during exercise only muscle repair. But research has shown that it’s not just carbohydrates and fats that fuel the muscles. Protein is used as fuel along with carbohydrates and fats especially if your glycogen (carbohydrates) stores are low. Not only does protein help repair and promote growth in the body, it also can help fuel the body when needed.

Since athletes and active people place more demands on their bodies they need more protein.

Recommended protein for the general population is:

  • .8 grams per kg of body weight per day

To figure out your protein requirement take your weight ÷ 2.2 × .8 = Protein requirements. So if you weight 150 pounds: 150 ÷ 2.2 × .8 = 54.5 grams of protein per day

Recommended protein for aerobic or endurance athletes:

  • 1.1 to 1.4 grams per kg of body weight per day

A 150-pound endurance athlete would need therefore up to 95.5 grams of protein a day.

Recommended protein to build muscle:

  • 1.5 to 2.0 grams per kg of body weight per day

That same 150-pound person who is a strength athlete would need therefore up to 136 grams of protein per day.

The research is indicating that athletes can need two to almost three times the protein requirements than the average individual.

How much protein do I need ?

It is important not to over do it. You may have read or heard bodybuilders advocate taking 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight.  Be careful; in my opinion, that’s too much protein. You will just wind up gaining weight with the extra calories.

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Best – Mike Cola

Fitness Contrarian

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