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Here's How Much Protein You Need To Build Muscle

Anyone who has been looking to build muscle would've encountered endless pools of information on the necessity of protein. Many stress to eat more protein in order to reap the gains you desire, but few tell you exactly how much to consume in order for it to be effective. Here's what you need to know.

 

WHY PROTEIN?

Proteins are made from 20 different amino acids. 12 of those are non-essential, meaning your body produces them. The other 8, however, are essential amino acids that need to be ingested from food and supplements. You need all 20 amino acids to ensure your body's structural functions are working their best, and that includes building muscles. It is a process that requires you to consume the right amount of proteins for your body to break down, and create muscle. This is known as protein synthesis or anabolism.

However, on days when you have a shortage of protein your body tends to work against itself with a process called protein breakdown or catabolism. This is when your muscles break themselves down, to oxidise into energy that is used. Protein breakdown typically occurs during periods of stress on your muscles, like strenuous exercise such as lifting heavy. To build muscle, your body has to be anabolic, rather than catabolic. You maintain anabolism by consuming protein to regulate your muscle breakdown. This is especially crucial after you've worked out.

HOW MUCH PROTEIN SHOULD YOU TAKE?

More protein is not always better. It is, after all, still going to be converted into calories, and if you're going way over the limit your body needs, you're still going to gain weight. For people looking to build muscle, the right gauge is to consume 2g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight daily, so get on the scale and do some calculations.

Even for those looking to lose weight, protein is essential as you want to maintain your lean muscle mass and shed fat, rather than losing muscle and thus your body shape. For muscle maintenance, 1g - 1.5g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight daily is ideal, depending on your level of activity that day.

Taking protein across the span of the day, instead of in one sitting, is also much more beneficial to your body.

WHERE DO YOU GET THE PROTEIN?

Whole food sources like lean meat, beans, tofu and such are great ways to get your protein, you can easily search protein tables that provide a rough estimate on the amount of protein in each raw food ingredient. But certain dietary restrictions or a large amount of protein to consume might make whole food options a tad too calorie excessive, especially if you're not looking to bulk up. In that case, opt for protein powders. Each serving has easily upwards of 24g of protein with a low calorie count, alongside other helpful nutrients, and they come with a pretty broad amino acid profile to help your body build muscle. Whey protein tends to digest a lot faster than the protein found in whole foods, ensuring your muscles receive them faster.

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