I used to think that the more protein I ate, the better. And while there is some truth to that, you can actually overdo it too! So today, we'll cover everything you need to know about protein: how much you need, how much your body can absorb, how much is too much, and even some great sources of protein to include in your diet.
First off, let's understand what protein is. Every tissue in your body, not just your muscles, is made from proteins. This includes your bones, organs, hair, skin, nails, and more. But not all proteins are created equal. There are complete protein sources and incomplete protein sources. The difference lies in the amino acids they contain.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and there are a total of 20 different amino acids. Your body can't produce 9 of these amino acids on its own, so you need to get them from your diet. These are called essential amino acids (EAAs). To build muscle, you need to consume all 9 essential amino acids from a complete protein source. These are the protein sources that provide all 9 essential amino acids and are crucial for building and maintaining muscle tissue.
So, what are some good protein sources to help you build muscle? Animal protein sources like beef, chicken, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy are considered the best for muscle growth. However, if you follow a plant-based diet, don't worry! You can still get a complete amino acid profile from options like soy, quinoa, hemp, or even plant-based protein powders. You can even combine different plant-based protein sources, like beans and rice, to create a complete protein source.
Now, let's talk about how much protein you actually need to build muscle. There are two common recommendations:
- The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) suggests consuming 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. However, this may be enough for sedentary individuals but not for those actively working to build muscle.
- For those looking to build the maximum amount of muscle possible, scientific research suggests that consuming 1.6-2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight spread out over at least 3-4 meals a day is ideal.
So, aiming for 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is a good starting point if you want to build muscle.
Now, let's talk about post-workout protein intake. One of the best times to consume protein is immediately after your workout. According to experts, athletes should aim for a minimum of 25-30 grams of protein after their workout. It's also recommended to consume protein within four hours after your workout to help increase muscle mass.
Some experts, like Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, suggest consuming at least 30 grams of protein per meal, including post-workout. This ensures an adequate supply of amino acids for muscle building.
If you're looking to increase your protein intake, consider incorporating high-quality protein shakes into your diet. At Fuelled, we offer several options. Our WHEY is perfect for post-workout recovery, as it's a rapid-digesting whey protein isolate and concentrate blend. And our proteins bars are great for snacks throughout the day, providing a steady stream of amino acids.
Remember, getting enough protein can be challenging, but it's essential for building muscle. So pick a protein goal that feels comfortable for you and work your way up. And if you need anything at all, we're here to help you achieve the results you want!