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Optimal Protein Intake for Bodybuilding


Protein intake is the most widely discussed topic in the world of bodybuilding. To say that this food group is typecast as the most important is an understatement. Timely provision of protein after a workout is critical. It is the stuff that provides the building blocks for muscles to recover and grow. After all, muscle is itself a protein, so the logic easily applies. Bodybuilding experts are especially vocal about meeting your daily protein needs. But how much protein is enough?

Understanding Protein

This magical macronutrient is well understood. Enough research has been undertaken to map out its role in muscle building. It does more than provide sustenance. Protein helps with cellular recovery. Because muscles fibers experience microtears during each intense workout, protein helps rebuild said fibers. This repair is accompanied by growth, with the resulting hypertrophy being the end goal.

Having established the importance of a bodybuilder increasing their protein intake it is time to address the enigmatic question- how much of it do you need?

The Myths

Nutritional experts recommend a protein intake of 0.8g/lb of bodyweight. It is argued that this is the ideal amount to sustain life. For a bodybuilder, this amount has to be elevated, because they are subjected to more work. Thus, the 1g/lb ideal was created.

Many studies have been carried out to try and understand the amount that is optimal for a bodybuilder. One done by Kent University demonstrated that an intake of 1.4g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight is sufficient for a bodybuilder. This was reinforced by the fact that test subjects with intake of 2.4g protein per kg of bodyweight had no significant advantages in strength or muscle mass gains.

These studies fail to account for the many variables that determine in how much protein intake is sufficient for a weight lifting athlete. And thus, their findings cannot be enthroned as the ideal indicator on how much is enough.

Optimal Protein

The more you study the subject, the more confused you get. There are so many varied sources that advocate for ideal amounts.

The fact that the role of protein has been so passionately underlined leads many to think that more is better. But it necessarily isn’t. Too much protein intake puts a stress on the kidneys, and can encourage fat gain, if the protein is unutilized.

The optimal protein you need to consume cannot be set in stone. You should base the intake on the amount of activity you engage in. You should follow the RDA specification, and increase it, as you become more active. As a bodybuilder, your protein should increase based on how much time you spend pushing weights.

This recommendation is based on the fact that protein doesn’t cause muscle growth- weight lifting does. Thus the intensity of your training should dictate how much your intake should be. Needless to say, the protein you take should emanate from lean sources. Plant sources should not be sidelined, even if their amino acid profiles are incomplete. And where necessary, you can use supplements.

I recommend these Whey Protein supplements.

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