Tip: Calculating Your Caloric Needs
Your height, weight, age, and level of physical activity all contribute to your caloric needs. There are many calorie calculators out there, but the NIH Body Weight Planner stands out. It has been tested and validated against real-world data and can estimate the number of calories you need to reach then maintain a specific weight.
Calorie-wise, there are only three types of diets:
A hypocaloric diet feeds you fewer calories than you burn. If you want to lose weight, thats the diet for you. If you want most of your weight loss to be in the form of fat, not muscle, youll also need to get enough protein and preferably to exercise.
A hypercaloric diet feeds you more calories than you burn. If you want to gain weight, thats the diet for you. If you want most of your weight gain to be in the form of muscle, not fat, youll need to get enough protein and engage in resistance training .
A eucaloric diet feeds you as many calories as you burn. It is also called a maintenance diet, since your weight wont change much but you can gain or lose fat or muscle, depending on how much protein and exercise you get.
Daily protein requirements are expressed in grams, either per kilogram of body weight or per pound of body weight . Ranges in the table below reflect known individual variances.
How Much Protein For Muscle Gain Guide For Beginners
When it comes to protein for muscle gain, your gym training is only one part of the puzzle another essential aspect of your diet, especially protein intake.
In general, you need 0.8 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight to promote muscle growth.
While certain factors can play a role in getting you to that threshold, providing high-quality protein from your diet to your muscles is key to improving muscle growth. Read on to learn how to make the most of your protein intake.
So How Much Whey Protein Do I Need
Your age, goals and weight are just a few factors that’ll determine how much protein you will need to build muscle. Not sure how much is enough? Our complete guide to protein will help.
It’s worth noting here, however, that the majority of your protein intake, and macronutrients in general, should come from your diet. Supplements are there to do just that: supplement. Real foods, for example, contain more nutrients, fibre and minerals and are far easier to digest.
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Prevalence Of Sarcopenia By Age And Sex In The Us
Reference: Janssen et al. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2002.
Fortunately, sarcopenia is neither inevitable nor irreversible some seniors have built more muscle in their old age than they ever had in their youth. The older you get, though, the greater your muscles anabolic resistance , and so the more protein you must eat to stimulate muscle protein synthesis.
The protein RDA for adults over 50 is currently the same as for younger adults: 0.8 g/kg. Same as for younger adults, however, studies using the method have suggested that 1.2 g/kg would be a more appropriate RDA. Moreover, since a low protein intake is associated with frailty and worse physical function than a higher protein intake, several authorities now recommend that older adults consume 1.21.5 g/kg. Finally, while all adults have similar daily protein requirements, older adults have higher .
Notably, doubling protein intake from 0.8 to 1.6 g/kg has been shown to significantly increase lean body mass in elderly men. Similar observations have been made in elderly women who increase their protein intake from 0.9 to 1.4 g/kg. Even a small increase in protein intake from 1.0 to 1.3 g/kg has minor benefits towards lean mass and overall body composition.
So how much protein should you get?
- Sedentary but healthy seniors: 1.01.2 g/kg
- Sick or injured seniors: 1.21.5 g/kg
- Seniors wishing to lose weight: 1.52.2 g/kg
- Seniors wishing to build muscle: 1.72.0 g/kg
How Much Protein Do You Need Per Day
As with most things in nutrition, theres no simple answer. Your ideal intake of calories and protein depends on your health, body composition, main goal, and the type, intensity, duration, and frequency of your physical activity. And even taking all this into account, youll end up with a starting number, which youll need to adjust through self-experimentation.
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Dietary Protein And Physical Activity
The benefits of consuming protein following resistance exercise training have been well-documented, especially as they relate to muscle hypertrophy and function . A recent meta-analysis showed significant positive associations between coupling resistance exercise with post-exercise protein ingestion and total fat-free mass, strength, as measured by one-repetition maximum, and muscle size, as measured by myofiber cross-sectional area . The type and volume of exercise plays a determining role in muscle protein synthetic responses to post-exercise protein ingestion , as does age and the training experience of the individual. The type of protein consumed also factors into the net anabolic response, given that postprandial muscle protein and whole-body protein kinetic responses to free-form amino acids, isolated intact proteins, and mixed-macronutrient meals all differ . As reflected in sports nutrition recommendations , holistic evaluation of varied experimental designs suggests that coupling post-resistance exercise protein ingestion with habitual protein intakes at ~1.6 g/kg/d promotes favorable muscle adaptations to exercise training .
What Is The Best Form Of Exercise To Mitigate Menopausal Weight Gain
In addition to changing what we eat, increasing our activity output is helpful. However, not all physical activity is created equal.
For example, excessive cardioor running, biking, swimming, hiking, and even walkingcan increase the rate at which you burn lean mass, especially if you arent engaging in much or any exercise that builds muscle. Hence, strength and resistance training is often best, especially when combined with lower-intensity activities.
The figure below shows how we use fat vs glycogen. Lower-intensity exercise like walking or cycling tends to use more fat, whereas high-intensity activity that increases your heart rate tends to use more glycogen. Glycogen is a form of glucose stored in your liver and muscles.
Gentle exercise that maintains a lower heart rate where you can still breathe easilycommonly referred to as zone 2 or low-impact steady state can improve your fat burning and fitness. A good example is walking on a gentle incline.
Not only can you do this style of exercise every day without becoming sore or exhausted, but it also tends to lower your glucose gently without provoking excessive hunger. If youre chasing your trigger in a Data-Driven Fasting Challenge, youll find your blood glucose lowers nicely, and you can refuel with a robust meal.
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How Much Protein Should I Take To Gain Weight
While no one single nutrient will completely make or break your weight-gain progress, getting enough protein in your diet is key for maximizing weight gain. On top of needing extra calories to add pounds, you’ll also need more protein than the average sedentary person, especially if you’re trying to gain muscle. Your protein intake can come from high-protein foods — like meat or beans — or from protein supplements.
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Is Vegan Protein As Effective As Whey Protein
Put simply, yes, vegan protein is as effective as whey. A 2019 study that looked at the effect both whey and pea protein had on body composition and exercise performance found that whichever protein men opted for there was little to no difference in their body composition, muscle gain, performance or strength.
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How Much Protein Is Too Much
In terms of muscle growth, theres not much point in eating more than one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day.
That is, going from one to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight wont lead to muscle being built any faster.
While protein plays an important role in helping your muscles recover and grow, theres an upper limit on the amount that your body can use to synthesize new muscle tissue.
And most research points to that upper limit being around 0.7 grams per pound, or 1.6 grams per kilogram, of bodyweight per day.
More isnt necessarily better when it comes to any nutrient, and that includes protein.
What Are The Side Effects Of Taking Too Much Protein
Taking too much protein can lead to a number of side effects, including weight gain, increased fat storage, and kidney damage. If you’re concerned about taking too much protein, be sure to speak with a doctor or registered dietitian before starting any supplement regimen.
Protein is an important nutrient for gaining muscle, but it’s not the only one. Be sure to focus on getting enough calories and carbohydrates as well. And don’t forget to stay hydrated! Drinking plenty of water will help your body flush out any excess protein and prevent dehydration.
Now that you know more about how much protein is needed to gain muscle your questions answered, its time to elaborate in further detail on the top protein supplements to gain muscle:
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Which Factors Could Affect Your Calculations
You might have higher or lower protein needs for different reasons. Women typically have less lean mass than men and require less protein in general.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding have higher protein needs. Also, if youre recovering from any kind of injury, your needs may be higher as your body is in a state of repair.
If youre trying to lose weight and are currently consuming too many calories, you might have to cut back on protein intake as part of an overall lower-calorie diet.
However, keeping your percentage of calories from protein the same will help preserve your lean muscle mass and potentially promote muscle growth based on exercise.
Can I Build Muscle With Just Protein
Studies have shown that ingesting 20 to 40 grams of protein around the time of a workout seems to maximize the body’s ability to recover after exercise, but it takes more than just protein to build muscle. If your focus is on muscle building, then youll want to consume more calories to help stimulate that desired muscle growth but those calories shouldnt just be from protein. In fact, you should focus more on carbohydrate consumption if youre trying to increase muscle mass than you would if your end goal was just to lose weight.
While you’re working to build muscle with exercise, protein should make up 25% of your total calories. That makes your macronutrient breakdown about 25% protein, 45-60% carbohydrate and 20-30% fat. If youre aiming for 100 grams of protein per day, try having 25 grams of protein per each meal, whether thats four meals per day or your standard three meals per day with two snacks that have about 12.5 grams of protein each.
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Is Some Protein Powder Dairy Or Lactose
While most are made from milk, lactose-free proteins have been developed for people who have milk allergies. Some are made from lactose-free dairy. Others are completely dairy-free, like plant proteins and products made from eggs and beef.
If you’re looking for a vegan or vegetarian products, there are more options than ever. Some of the most popular plant proteins include:
Soy is unique because it is one of the only complete vegetarian proteins. Soy products are rich in the three branched-chain amino acids which also help your body recover and rebuild after physical activity. It is also high in glutamine, which helps your body recover after exercise, and arginine, which helps dilate blood vessels to get nutrients to your muscles more quickly.
Pea is an increasingly popular option, usually made from yellow split peas. It does not have the same amount of the three BCAAs as whey, but has a more complete amino acid profile than many other vegetarian options. It is a common ingredient in vegetarian blends, but also popular among people with dairy allergies.
Brown rice isn’t a complete protein, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not worth takingâas long as you take enough. A prominent study found that resistance-trained men who took a hefty 48 grams of rice isolate on training days experienced similar muscle gains to men taking the same amount of whey.
High Protein Intake For Fat Loss
If you noticed Dr. Nelsons comment about being hypocaloric , you may be wondering if theres evidence that protein needs might change based on if youre trying to lose fat or gain muscle.
To be clear: the majority of research and the most prominent sports nutrition bodies agree that theres probably no need to exceed the daily 0.7 grams per pound, even if youre trying to lose weight.
That said, there are a couple of studies that have suggested more protein might be useful if you have a good amount of muscle mass and are trying to lose fat quickly. One, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, , found that athletes in a big calorie deficit maintained more muscle and lost more fat eating 1.1 grams of protein per pound than a group taking 0.54 grams, the absolute minimum recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine.
Another study published in 2014 that looked specifically at bodybuilders found that they would respond best to consuming 2.3-3.1 g/kg of lean body mass per day of protein. This is among folks with under 10 percent body fat, so they were eating an upper level of about 1.3 grams per pound of bodyweight.
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Why You Shouldn’t Calculate How Much Protein You Need Based On Total Calories Or Weight
On a simple level, protein guidelines generally fall into one of two camps: a proportion either of how much you eat or how much you weigh. However, both are flawed if youre looking to build muscle fast.
Take only eating a specific percentage of protein. The problem is that the numbers are going to be affected in a big way by your total calorie intake. For example, 30 per cent protein on a 2000-calorie diet is very different from 30 per cent protein on a 4000-calorie diet despite the fact that the percentages are exactly the same: 150g a day compared to 300g a day.
So, calculating your protein intake relative to your weight could be better, as it stays consistent regardless of how many calories you’re packing in.
For example, if you were to eat two grams of protein per kilo of bodyweight, you’ll be fuelling yourself with the same amount of protein regardless of your total daily calorie count whether that’s 1500 or 4000. However, this system is also not without its flaws.
Fast Vs Slow Proteins
How quickly protein gets metabolized into amino acids and absorbed into muscles can vary by the protein type. There are some bodybuilding enthusiasts who will tell you that “fast” proteins such as whey are superior to “slow” proteins like casein in that you can consume more and build muscles faster. For example:
- Egg protein gets absorbed at a rate of fewer than 3 grams per hour.
- Casein gets absorbed at a rate of 6.1 grams per hour.
- Whey gets absorbed at a rate of 8 to 10 grams per hour.
There is not much evidence that these variations make a big difference in muscle building over the long term. Moreover, if a protein is metabolized and absorbed at a rate of, say, 7 grams per hour, you would only absorb around 168 grams per day.
Given these limitations, the type of protein you consume really won’t make all that much difference given the amount you’ll be able to reasonably consume. Certain whole-food proteins may be just as goodor even betterand cost far less.
One advantage that casein and whey products do offer, outside of convenience, is that you may not have to consume as much as some whole-food products. In addition, 30-40 grams of casein consumption 30 minutes before sleeping has shown to increase muscle protein synthesis, muscle recovery, and overall metabolism in acute and long-term studies.
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Protein Helps Maintain Weight Loss
Its often said that the hardest part of weight loss is maintaining your new figure.
Luckily, a high-protein diet can actually help you do just that.
Studies3 show that increasing your protein intake by a modest 15-18% can reduce the amount of weight gained back after weight loss by up to 50%.
The bottom line?
Some simple dietary changes might just help you keep that weight off that youve worked so hard to lose.
How Much Whey Protein Should I Take To Lose Weight
There is no definitive answer to this question as the amount of whey protein needed to lose weight will vary depending on factors such as age, activity level, and diet. However, as a general guideline, adults should consume 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight to lose weight. For example, a person who weighs 150 pounds would need to consume 54 grams of whey protein per day to lose weight.
Whey protein is produced as a by-product during the production of cheese. This protein has all nine essential amino acids, is low in lactose, and is labeled as a complete protein. When used as a supplement, whey protein can help to increase muscle protein synthesis and promote lean tissue mass growth. Because whey protein is a type of protein, you will feel full for longer than other food sources. Men can consume as many 30g shakes as they want women on a weight loss plan can consume one 30g shake per week. You dont want to replace all of your meals with whey protein in order to lose weight. During a weight loss program, we recommend that supplements be taken only once daily.
When youve reached your weight goal, you can simply consume whey protein after a workout. True protein has 20% protein per serving in its Whey Protein Concentrate. We recommend WPI for its higher protein content for the best results.
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