BlogNutritionHow Much Protein Do You Need To Build Muscle

How Much Protein Do You Need To Build Muscle

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Taisiia Dobrozorova
Written by Taisiia Dobrozorova on August 18, 2022
Ievgeniia Dobrynina
Fact checked by Ievgeniia Dobrynina
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Proper nutrition is the basis of effective training. One of the reasons why some people exercise in vain to bulk up is not having enough protein in their diet. Protein is the primary building material of the human body. So, let's discuss the number of grams of protein per day you need to gain muscles and mention the best sources of protein in food!

Table of content

How many grams of protein daily you need depends on various factors. These are physical activity, physique, mobility, and quality of nutrition. Defining the protein rate per day is easy. There are a large number of calculation formulas. The most straightforward one is multiplying body weight by a specific coefficient. What is this ratio? It is taken according to the characteristics of the body. Here is how to calculate how much protein you need:

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  •  If your physical activity is low during the day, multiply 1 pound of weight by 0.5 grams of protein.
  •  If you exercise no more than 2 times a week, multiply 1 pound of weight by 0.8 grams of protein.
  •  If you've got regular sports at least 3-4 times a week, multiply 1 pound of weight by 1 gram.

Can you have too much protein?

People who want to grow muscles may ask: will eating more protein help your body gain muscle faster? According to the standard protein intake calculator, the daily recommendation is 1 gram per pound of body weight. A person weighing 140 pounds should consume 140 g of proteins per day. So, you shouldn't consume more than this norm. Eating more protein than you really need can lead to digestive, kidney, and blood health problems. Among the main consequences of consuming too much protein for some period are,,,,:

  •  dehydration;
  •  headache and weakness;
  •  bad breath from the mouth;
  •  constipation;
  •  kidney stones.

Can you build muscle without protein?

When you exercise, your muscles become damaged and weakened. So, they need protein to repair the muscle fibers and building blocks required to grow the muscle mass. And it's challenging to build muscle without consuming proteins. The process of muscle protein synthesis is stimulated by strength training activity. But it's also promoted when you eat protein.

What percent of protein should be in your diet

The right balance of protein, fats, and carbs plays a significant role during bulking up. The daily rate of proteins is 30-35%; fat content - 25-30%; carbohydrates - 45-55%.

If you consume 2,000 calories daily, 200–700 calories should belong to protein (50–175 grams). The recommended dietary allowance to avert deficiency for an average sedentary adult is 0.36 - 0.40 grams per pound of body weight. For example, a person weighing 160 pounds (or almost 73 kilos) should consume 58 grams of protein daily.

As you get older and reach the 40–50 age mark, sarcopenia, or losing muscle mass, begins to set in. You can prevent this by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and increasing your protein needs to about 0.7 grams per pound.

People who go in for sports regularly also have higher necessities. These are about 1.1–1.5 grams per pound. If you regularly lift weights or train for a running or cycling event, eat 0.9 - 1.1 grams per pound. Excessive protein intake will be considered more than 1.2 grams per pound of body weight each day.

For those who want to lose extra pounds, their weight should be adjusted before calculating their protein needs to avoid overestimating. We recommend consulting a dietitian to help develop a personalized plan.

High protein foods

Best sources of protein include:


Most seafood is high in protein and low in saturated fat. Fish such as salmon, trout, sardines, mackerel, and herring are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Experts recommend eating seafood at least twice a week.


Removing the skin from chicken and turkey can significantly reduce saturated fat.

Dairy products

Foods like skim milk, cheese, and yogurt are high in healthy protein. However, beware of added sugar in low-fat yogurts and flavored milk, and avoid processed cheeses, which often contain non-dairy ingredients.

Beans and peas

They are rich in both protein and fiber. Add them to salads, soups, and stews to increase your protein intake.

Nuts and seeds.

In addition to being rich sources of protein, nuts and seeds are also rich in fiber and "good" fats. Add to salads or keep on hand as a snack.

Tofu and soy products.

They are excellent high-protein, low-fat alternatives to red meat. Try Meatless Monday: plant-based protein sources are often cheaper than meat. They can be good for your wallet and your health.

Summing up

Protein is an essential micronutrient, especially during active muscle building and tissue regeneration. The daily protein dosage depends on factors such as physical activity, gender, and diet quality. The protein percentage in the daily menu should form 30-35%. To ensure the necessary daily rate, you should eat food with high protein content. But here, you should not overdo it to prevent side effects.

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Unimeal does not diagnose or suggest treatments. Any description of the diet, training plan or supplement should be discussed with your current physician or nutritionist. This article does not address specific conditions and is simply meant to provide general information on healthcare topics. Following any advice is at your own initiative and does not impose any responsibility on the blog authors for your health and safety.



By choosing high-quality sources, we make sure that all articles on the Unimeal blog are reliable and trustworthy. Learn more about our editorial processes.

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Brad Jon Schoenfeld, Alan Albert Aragon. (2018, February 27). J Int Soc Sports Nutr. How much protein can the body use in a single meal for muscle-building? Implications for daily protein distribution. DOI:10.1186/s12970-018-0215-1
FEDERATION OF AMERICAN SOCIETIES FOR EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY. (2002, April 22). High protein diets cause dehydration, even in trained atheletes. EurekAlert! Retrieved from https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/886083
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