When it comes to building a lean, muscular physique, protein is one of the most important macronutrients to making this a reality. Muscle cells contain protein filaments of actin and myosin that slide past one another, producing a contraction that changes both the length and the shape of the cell. What this means is that your muscles are made up of protein so the more protein you eat, the more muscle you can build. Protein plays a key role in repairing and rebuilding torn muscle fibers from your intense workouts. So now that you know how important protein is in building new muscle, let’s take a deeper dive into how much you should eat, when you should eat it, what types of proteins to eat, and other effects protein can have on the body.
How Much Protein You Should Eat Everyday
The first assumption that I’m going to make here is that your goal is to build a lean, muscular physique. With this in mind, the general rule of thumb is that you should consume, at minimum, 1g per pound of bodyweight.
If you’re a female this should be sufficient but if you’re a male then I would recommend that the minimum should be 1.25g and upwards of even 1.5g per pound of body weight.
So if you’re a 200lb male, the absolute minimum amount of protein you would want to consume daily is 200g. I would personally make it closer to 250g-300g from my own personal experience. The only real way to tell how your body will respond is through trial and error. So pick an amount and try it out for at least 4 weeks to see how your body responds before making adjustments.
It’s also worth noting that if you eat an excess amount of protein that your body does not need, your body is most likely just going to get rid of what it doesn’t use. This is unlike eating an excess amount of fat or carbohydrates which has a greater chance of being stored as fat.
How Often Should You Eat Protein
Our bodies were made by design to eat every 3 to 4 hours. Think about this for a second. When someone goes to the hospital and they’re hooked up to an IV drip, why don’t the doctors just squeeze all of the fluid into you in one shot and call it a day? It’s because our bodies like to receive a constant flow of nutrients over time. I would recommend starting with 6 meals per day and evenly dividing up the protein between the meals. So if your goal is to eat 200g a day, then you should eat around 33g of protein every 3 to 4 hours.
Different Types Of Protein For Different Times Of The Day
There are really 2 main types of protein, fast digesting and slow digesting.
Usually first thing in the morning and post workout is when you would want to consume a fast digesting protein like a whey isolate. This is because your body is pretty much begging for nutrients so you want to be able to deliver them as fast as possible.
For all other times of the day it’s better to go with whole food sources like chicken, beef, fish, eggs, dairy, and casein. These proteins take much more time to digest which is good because it will deliver a constant flow of nutrients to your body throughout the day.
It’s also a good idea to consume some casein before you go to bed so that your body will continue to receive a flow of nutrients while you are sleeping.
Thermogenic Effect From Eating Protein
Another important aspect of consuming a lot of protein is that everytime you consume protein your body has to use a good amount of energy to digest it. Every time this takes place your internal body temperature rises causing a thermogenic effect which actually helps to burn calories. Eating more protein will help boost your metabolism. Consider this an added bonus to help you get more lean.
Be Sure To Drink A Lot Of Water
Eating a high protein diet can be a little taxing on the kidneys. This is because protein is broken down in the kidneys, so when you consume a lot of it, your kidneys are constantly on overdrive to break it down. One way to make sure your kidneys are functioning at optimal levels is by consuming a lot of water. Staying hydrated is critical to keep your body running at peak performance at all times.
Quality Protein Sources
It’s important to consume protein from high quality sources. What makes a source high quality? Protein is made up of a bunch of different kinds of amino acids. So what you’re looking for are proteins that have a very rich amino acid profile.
Here are a few staples that should be in your diet:
If your goal is to build a body that would make even the greek gods jealous, then you will be consuming a ton of protein. Eating a diet high in protein is critical to achieving this look. At minimum you should be consuming 1g per pound of bodyweight per day. This should be split of evenly across multiple meals throughout the day. Be sure to drink a ton of water and get your protein from high quality sources. Until next time, be sure to stay sell and swole my friends!