Before and After: How to build muscle | Part 1: How Much Protein Do I Need?

SUMMARY

You are probably already eating way more protein than you need to build muscle, you might even already be eating enough protein to be building 10 pounds of muscle – if you would only do the appropriate exercise and rest required for it. – David

Here’s the before:

Before at 133

Before at 133

I had recently started eating a raw food diet styled after the 80/10/10 Diet. My fitness skyrocketed and I went from high energy to super high energy. I started running effortlessly all the way up to 25 miles. I was BOUNCING.

 

After at around 155

After at around 155

 

I’ve gained around 20 pounds of what seems like lean muscle to me eating a diet that on average was less than 10% protein. Average probably around 60-70 grams per day over the last few years. Which is more than what most anyone needs according to the World Health Organization.

 

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So I’m going to make this brief. There are lots of misconceptions about muscle building and I’m trying to get to the core. What I’m finding out is that so far people do not know this answer.

The question is: How much protein does it take to build a pound of muscle?

Well here’s something you might not have considered – A pound of muscle is not a pound of protein!

A pound of muscle is actually around 25% protein and the rest water. Therefor, to build a pound of muscle would require putting in at least 113.5 grams of protein (25% of 454=113.5).

So if we were 100% efficient from eating to muscle creation, we’d only require less than 114 grams of protein to create 1 pound of muscle.

Now obviously we can’t just make a claim that that’s all the protein we need because different people have different rates of absorption and assimilation and the muscle building process might not be so efficient. We need to know how efficient the muscle building process is.

HOWEVER, if it’s reasonably efficient, this should blow the lid off the whole protein game because consider this. How quickly can you expect to build muscle? Conservative estimates say that 1 pound per month is a very solid gain.

Think about it. If you gained 1 pound per month, within 3 years that would be 36 pounds of muscle.

Are you planning on being alive for another 3 years?

Are you planning on living even longer than that?

If so, you might not want to gain 1 pound every month, you might want to stop at a certain point. Either way, that rate will be enough and at a certain point you’d want to stop.

So back to the question of protein. Since it might take around a month to build a pound of muscle, this means that you don’t need to eat the entire 114 grams of protein for that pound of muscle every day, but rather over the course of the whole month.

So, the raw estimate without calculating for efficiency, shows that to build a pound of muscle over the course of a month, simply eat 114/31=3.67 grams of protein per day in excess of what you need for maintenance.

So 3.67 grams in excess of what you need for maintenance.

How much do you need for maintenance? Well the amount recommended for 97.5% of the population is 56 grams for males and 45 grams for females.

In the United States, on average, people consume 115 grams of protein.

In other words, if you want to gain muscle, don’t eat more protein.

3 oranges contain 3.67 grams of protein. If you are just consuming your maintenance needs and want to get more protein for muscle building just eating a few oranges may do the trick. However, it takes the exercise to tell the muscles to build.

 

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