Protein Requirements for Muscle Building
by Tony Schwartz
If you are looking to build muscle, or lose fat, you have undoubtedly heard about the benefitsof protein. It seems that nearly everyone seems to think that more protein means faster muscle gains. I am going to give you the straight truth on protein intake as it relates to your muscle building nutrition plan.As with nearly everything, there are individual differences that come into play whendetermining the correct protein intake for you. First and foremost is your lean muscle mass.Please notice that I did not say your “weight.”Muscle is largely compromised of protein, while fat is not. As muscle breaks down andrebuilds it requires protein to do so. Fat does not. For this reason you need to look at your lean body mass (LBM), not your body weight, when determining your protein intake.To determine your LBM you will need to have your body fat percentage tested. Let’s say wehave a 200 pound man who has a body fat percentage of 15%. This would mean that he has aLBM of 170 pounds (200 * 85%).A good guideline for most people who are lifting weights regularly is to consume 1-1.5 gramsof protein per pound of LBM. Exactly where you fall in that range will be determined by avariety of factors.The first factor is your goals. If your goal is simply to maintain your lean muscle mass thenyou can move towards the lower end of the range, whereas someone trying to gain musclewould move towards the higher end.Another factor is your hormonal profile. There are many hormones that will dictate thecorrect protein intake for you, but one of the most important is testosterone. Testosteronedictates how much protein can be utilized by your muscles. Someone with very hightestosterone levels can utilize much more protein than someone with lower levels. This iswhy anabolic steroids (testosterone derivatives) are so effective (albeit dangerous).While these factors are important in determining the correct protein intake for you, the mainfactor is the make-up of the rest of your diet. For example, someone consuming 3000 kcalfrom fats and carbs will need less protein than someone consuming 1500 kcal. So if you areon a hardcore muscle building nutrition plan where you are eating everything in sight, youwill actually need less protein. Conversely, if you are on a low-calorie diet your proteinrequirements will be higher.These are just some of the factors that go into determining your daily protein needs.Remember that proteins are just the building blocks for muscle. Without a well-designedtraining program you won’t be able to put these building blocks to good use.