Lift weights? Here’s how much protein you should consume

Protein is absolutely essential in building muscle. When you start lifting weights your entire goal is to build muscle and burn fat.  People don’t always understand how important and impactful the right diet will have on the results they are seeking.  The amount of protein you eat on a daily basis will dictate how effective each of your workouts actually are. One of those important aspects of diet that you should be focusing on is your protein intake.

How Much Protein Should I Eat While Dieting?

We found three, very specific research studies published in 2014 and 2015.  The first study tested protein intake following a calorie restricted diet. They took 40 fat guys who didn’t lift weights and separated them into two groups. The first group consumed only .5 grams of protein per pound they weighed. The second group consumed around 1 gram per pound they weighted. If you weight 177 pounds and were in the second group, you would be consuming 177 grams of protein per day. The averages of the rest of the macro nutrients can be found below.

protein intake study

For four weeks the study participants lifted weights and stayed on those diets and they measured the results at the conclusion. What did they find? Significantly more muscle was gained, more body mass was lost, and more of that body mass was fat lost with the group that consumed 1 gram of protein per pound.

higher protein equaled more weight loss

So we know that 1 gram per pound of protein has some clear benefits but one study by itself might not tell us the whole story. According to this meta analysis, other research has shown that protein intake as high as 1.4 grams per pound may be required in order to maintain your muscle while under calorie restriction.

If your lifting weights under calorie restriction in an effort to lose fat, you should be consuming at least 1 gram of protein per pound you weigh

What If I Want To Build Muscle

Well we know now that if you want to at least preserve muscle mass (and gain some), you should be consuming at least 1 gram of protein per pound. This next study published in 2014 wanted to see what happened when you ate 2g per pound of protein per pound. They took 40 males who already actively lifted weights and separated them into two groups. One group maintained whatever diet they were already eating while the other group consumed 2 gram per pound of body weight. The high protein group also supplemented with protein powder due to the high protein requirements. They determined that not only did the high protein group build more muscle, they actually had some fat loss even though they were consuming more calories than they were burning.  The biggest take away here is that even though they consumed 800 more calories a day than they were burning, they gained no fat.  This means that if you happen to consume more calories than you actually need to build muscle, it’s not going to make you fat like other “sources” would have you believe.

2g per pound of protein builds muscle and burns fat

One thing to note about this study is that we didn’t really know what the control group was eating. It would have been better if they had chosen to restrict the protein intake in the control group in order to compare the differences, in our opinion, but either way the results of this study are still good information regardless.

If your lifting weights under a hypercaloric diet in an effort to build muscle, you should be consuming anywhere from 1 – 1.5 grams of protein per pound you weigh

Conclusion

The take away from this article is simple: Eat at least 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound to gain muscle and mass or eat 1 gram of protein per pound when dieting to preserve muscle and enhance fat loss. Combining this information with our many other articles will send you down the path to success.  Don’t forget to share this out and spread the word!

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