How Much Protein Should I Eat to Grow My Muscles?

You will need more protein than the daily allowance of 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight if you are an endurance athlete, do strength training frequently, or are very active. The exact amount you need is determined by a number of factors, including your age, weight, and level of activity. Still, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) says that for best results, you should eat between 1.2 and 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight every day.

The type of protein you consume is just as important for muscle growth as the amount of protein you consume. When it comes to your health, for instance, there are a number of advantages to choosing plant proteins over animal proteins. A 2020 study that was published in the journal Nutrients found that plant protein is just as good at building muscle as animal protein. Since animal proteins are also high in saturated fat, calories, and sodium, the study also found that plant protein is better for maintaining a healthy weight and reducing cardiometabolic risk factors.

According to Elmardi, “both plant and animal proteins have their advantages and disadvantages.” Elmardi points out, for instance, that animal protein is more difficult to digest than plant protein. Additionally, compared to animal protein, plant protein is lower in fat and calories. Lentils, beans, quinoa, tofu, tempeh, edamame, nuts, seeds, and seitan are all excellent sources of plant protein. Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy are all examples of animal proteins. According to a 2021 study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, choosing plant protein over animal protein may also lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality.

Meal timing is another factor that affects muscle growth. A way to eat that divides your meals into three smaller portions throughout the day is called meal timing. Elmardi explains, “This enables the body to use protein from each meal to repair muscles and build lean mass.” According to a 2019 Nutrients article, meal timing can also reduce hunger while increasing muscle size and strength.

In the past, it was thought that you should eat protein during your anabolic window, which is 30 to 120 minutes after a workout, to get the most out of muscle growth and repair. However, research, such as a 2018 Frontiers in Nutrition article, suggests that the best way to improve performance, build muscle, and recover is to consume protein consistently throughout the day. Ideally, consume 20-30 grams of protein at three or four different meals spread out throughout the day. “You don’t have to worry too much about eating within a specific window,” says Lorencz, “as long as you’re eating protein at meals and snacks every four to six hours throughout the day.” However, it is not harmful to consume carbohydrates and protein again within an hour to two hours of exercising.

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