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How Much Protein do you Need to Build Muscle ?

How Much Protein do you Need to Build Muscle ?

Alright, if you know ANYTHING about muscle building nutrition, you probably know that protein is the most important nutrient! Sure, you need to get your carbs and fats right in order to have the energy to train hard, but the protein should still be the main event in your diet.

A good way to think about your nutrition is to think of your body as a “builder,” and the protein you give it as “bricks.” Your body can be a damn efficient builder, but without enough protein “bricks,” it can’t build muscle! Likewise, you might think of carbs and fats as mortar or glue. You need just the right amount to build your body bigger and stronger, but too much, and you end up with a sloppy mess – body fat gains!

How Much Protein?

Anyway, you’re probably wondering just how much protein you actually need to build muscle. You want the best results possible, but protein-packed foods are expensive! Plus, the more meat, poultry, and eggs you’ve got to eat, the more time you’ve got to devote to prep, cooking, and cleaning.

You’ve got nutritionists out there who will rabidly claim your body can only digest “X” amount of protein every “Y” hours or days. Some people will claim that anymore than twenty or thirty grams of protein every four to five hours is overdoing it, and others will even state that more than a hundred or so grams per day is WAY more than enough.

On the other hand, you’ve got some seriously hardcore (and maybe a little crazy) bodybuilders claiming that you need in excess of two grams per pound of bodyweight PER DAY to grow optimally. That would mean four hundred grams of protein just for a two hundred pound lifter! All that protein would certainly provide some extra calories for growth, but your body is probably not putting all of those amino acids to work just for rebuilding muscle tissue.

For most hard-training weight lifters, the answer is a happy medium between these two extremes. A good, simple baseline number is one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. This means a two hundred pound lifter would get two hundred grams of protein per day, spread out over his daily meals according to his specific dietary plan.

However, the kicker here is that you DO NOT count “incidental” amounts of protein from foods which primarily contain starches or fats. Sure grains, nuts, and seeds have some protein in them, but that protein does not count toward your daily totals! Plant-based protein sources like that typically do not contain all of the essential amino acids. In our muscle-building terminology, that means those proteins might as well be chipped, cracked, and useless “bricks!”

The best Sources of Protein   

Now, where you should you get all of this protein? Animal products! Sorry vegans, but a proper bodybuilding diet is rich in animal protein. The best foods include meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. Basically, if a food had a face or was going to have a face, it’s got high-quality, muscle-building protein! Strive to get as much of your protein as possible from these whole food sources. Oh, and a good rule of thumb for figuring out the numbers is that one ounce of any raw meat, as well as one large egg, has about six grams of protein.

Of course, sometimes our schedules and budgets put us into a bind where we need something a little cheaper and more convenient. That’s where a quality protein powder comes into play in your muscle building diet. With all of the quality powders on the market these days, there is really NEVER an excuse for not having protein at hand when you need it.

Though there are a large variety of protein powders, as well, you should focus almost exclusively on WHEY protein. It contains tons of protein (usually around 20-25 grams per scoop), has very little fat or carbohydrate, and can taste great when properly combined with artificial or natural sweeteners. When you pick your brand of whey protein, go for one that mixes well, tastes good enough to consume for the long haul, and isn’t too expensive. Any more than seven or eight dollars per pound, and you’re probably paying too much.

Artcile by Sixpackfactory Muscle Building Expert and Top Fitness Model Justin Woltering. Get more info on Justin at:

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  1. Mal B
    September 19, 2011
    8:55 pm

    Please tell me where I can get whey for $7 or $8 per pound?

  2. Tom
    September 19, 2011
    11:04 pm

    hey peter, ive got a question.. im only 16, would it be ok if i take powder proteins at this age?.. i meen im not skinny at all nor fat, but id like to get my 6 pack and be in good shape, wich im atm, just not as good as i want to be since i only got 2 of my upper abs

  3. Duncon
    September 20, 2011
    1:56 am

    Hi Peter, regarding the statement “One Gram of Protein Per Pound Of Body Weight, do you means current weight or ideal weight?

  4. Justin Woltering
    September 20, 2011
    4:12 am

    @ Tom I think 16 is a great age to start taking protein powders, and see some really nice muscle gains.

    @ Duncon 1 gram per pound of ideal weight.

  5. Dick L
    September 20, 2011
    2:46 pm

    I agree with Mal B where can I get whey for $7 or $8
    per pound

  6. mohannad
    September 20, 2011
    5:32 pm

    hi justin,
    Im a 14 year old guy who LOVES to pump iron 🙂 but my protein is only from animal resources is this good or should i add whey protein? and is whey protein good for my age?

    another thing is that i have an i dea which can be added to sixpackfactory, it is puting a muscle building program instead of always having weight loss programs because there are also many skinny guys who need to build muscle.

    thx for everything 🙂

  7. Shauna
    October 16, 2011
    7:33 pm

    How about dairy products? Is their protein chipped, cracked, and useless “bricks?”

  8. peter
    October 18, 2011
    8:07 pm

    It is just not as good as animal or whey protein.

  9. Richard
    October 25, 2011
    2:30 pm

    Hi Peter,

    I would like to check with you is Protein Bars good? Why does it have so high Total Fat, Saturated Fat, Sugar & Sodium. Aren’t these bad for us? Will it spoil my 6 packs training? Please advice, Thank You.

  10. peter
    October 25, 2011
    4:55 pm

    Hi Richard, go read this article I wrote on it:

  11. Personal Trainer Mumbai
    November 10, 2011
    3:36 am

    There seems to by typing error

    “Any more than seven or eight dollars per pound, and you’re probably paying too much.”

    Where do we get seven or eight dollars per pound whey protein?

  12. mahendra
    November 30, 2011
    10:09 am

    hey peter, i daily goto 5km(kilometers) run im morning hours, and regular workuts in evening in gym,
    plz suggest a proper diet for a complete day

  13. peter
    December 1, 2011
    7:43 am

    Sounds good, for diet info pop over to

  14. Antonio
    January 18, 2012
    5:25 am

    Hi I will your Six pack factory diet work for me? I’m a fairly skinny guy with Big Thick legs and a medium upper build. I have a layer of fat around my hips . I eat well train well … Can this layer of fat be just my natural Genes or do u think I could find some middle ground where I could see all my abs not just my upper Abs
    Antonio enjoy your site keep up the good work

  15. peter
    January 18, 2012
    9:02 am

    Yes if you want to lose more fat it will.

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