Have you ever noticed that there is a LOT of different information on the web about how much protein you should be eating? Many of us find this pretty confusing.
Truth is, there is no ‘golden number’ that applies to everybody. The amount of protein you need per day depends on your personal goals, body size, activity levels… you get the idea.
We wanted to bring some clarity to this otherwise foggy topic. In this article, we will tell you how much protein you should be eating per day depending on your personal goals and weight.
How much protein you need to gain muscle
Since protein is the number one building block of our muscles, it’s very important to be getting enough of it every day, especially if you’re looking to build muscle mass.
You should aim for 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. (3.4g protein per KG of body weight.)
So, for example, if you weigh 150lbs, you should aim to eat around 225g of protein per day.
You should also aim to eat in a calorie surplus (meaning more calories than your body naturally burns). This will help you to gain muscle size more quickly and easily.
BUT, you do - of course - need to be doing lots of weight training alongside this diet. Otherwise, you’ll gain fat rather than muscle.
How much protein you need to maintain muscle and body weight
This is for those who want to eat a healthy, balanced diet with the right nutrition, but maintain their current healthy muscle size and body weight.
You should aim for 0.75 grams of protein per pound of body weight. (1.7g per KG of body weight.)
So if you weigh 150lbs, you should be eating roughly 112.5g of protein per day.
You should also be eating ‘maintenance calories’ – this is the amount of calories your body naturally burns, and therefore needs in order to stay at its current weight. To find out your maintenance calories, use this online calculator.
How much protein you need to maintain muscle and lose weight
This is a common question: how can I lose weight without losing muscle? Many people find that, when going on a restricted diet, their muscle mass drops along with their fat. This is probably due to a lack of protein in their diet, too much cardio, and not enough weight-lifting.
In order to maintain muscle and lose weight, you need to eat the same amount of protein as listed above, but in a calorie deficit (this means eating fewer calories than your body naturally burns).
You should aim to eat 0.75 grams of protein per pound of body weight. (1.7g per KG of body weight.)
In order to work out how many calories you need to be in a deficit, we recommend you use this online calculator from JSA. Ensure that you don’t restrict your calories too much – you should never be eating fewer than 1,200 calories per day. This can lead to vitamin deficiencies and a lack of nutritional value, which can lead to serious effects on your health.
Also remember to incorporate weight-lifting into your exercise routine. Cardio is great, but when done solely without any weighted exercise you may find that muscle mass begins to drop and your strength decreases.
How much protein you need to gain muscle and lose weight
This is probably the most common question we hear: how can I gain muscle and lose weight at the same time? In order to do this, you need to be pretty strict with yourself.
You’ll need to be eating a surplus of protein whilst in a caloric deficit (which can be pretty difficult), and you’ll also need to be doing lots of heavy weight lifting.
You should aim to eat 1.2 to 1.3 grams of protein per pound of body weight. (2.7 to 2.9g per KG of body weight.)
An easier way to gain muscle and lose weight is to do it in two separate periods. Depending on your current situation, you may want to focus on losing weight first and building muscle after, or vice versa. This is commonly known as ‘shredding’ or ‘cutting’ (losing fat) and ‘bulking’ (building muscle).
You may have now noticed that we need quite a lot of protein – probably more than many of us get from food alone. This may be particularly apparent if you follow a plant-based diet, since it can sometimes be harder with fewer protein sources available.
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