This is how much protein you really need to build muscle 6 years ago

This is how much protein you really need to build muscle

Protein builds muscle.

If you want to get bigger, you've got to get eating as much protein as you can, right?


Well, kind of. Just eating piles and piles of protein alone certainly won't make you a muscle god on its own.

Before you go off and buy half a cow, stacks of chicken breasts and as many protein shakes as your credit card will allow, it's best to know the optimal amounts you should be consuming.

Obviously not everyone is the same. Your age, training frequency, current muscle mass and what sex you are will all determine how much protein you need to consume to build muscle.

It stands to reason that the 180kg strongman Hafthor Bjornsson will probably need a little bit more than your average hardgainer just starting out at the gym.


The reason you need to get adequate protein in your diet when doing any kind of training is because your body uses amino acids to repair damaged cells and grow new muscle tissue.

If you're not getting enough essential amino acids from diet alone during exercise, then your body is forced to dip into its stores and use amino acids from muscle. Not great if you're looking to get bigger.


The RDA (recommended daily amount) of protein for your average adult in the UK is set at 0.75g per kilogram of bodyweight.

So an 80kg man would need to eat 60g of protein in a day - which probably equates to two small chicken breasts.

But if you're doing any kind of weight training this amount of protein just isn't going to cut it. Athletes and people who do strength training require considerably more.


Research shows that eating between 1.6g and 1.8g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight is optimal for most people who train.

So again, for an 80kg man you'd be looking at between 128g and 144g of protein.

For elite athletes, strength athletes or sportspeople that could go as high as 2g to 2.5g per kilogram of bodyweight (So 160g to 200g of protein for your 80kg man).

So what does this mean in practice?


Well, if you're training and you're calculating your daily calorie need, protein should always be the first thing you factor in.

Once you've set the right protein amount for muscle gain, then you factor in fats and carbs for the rest of your daily calorie need.

This explains in greater detail how to calculate your calories and work out your 'macros' to achieve your goals.

Unless you're getting a protein shake for fast nutrients after a workout, Conor McGregor's nutritionist Georges Lockhart says that getting your protein from whole foods will see your body utilising more of the nutrients.