You can spend days and hours in the gym in an attempt to pile on muscle, but without a nutritional diet, it will be some time before you start noticing any real progress. Protein, as we all should know, is the main building block for putting on muscle, and you should make sure all your daily meals contain a healthy dosage.
But you may think that more and more protein equals more and more muscle. Well, according to fitness coach James Kew, that isn’t the case at all. In a recent Instagram post, the “online body transformation coach” says our relationship with protein is “logarithmic in nature, meaning you get less and less marginal benefit for each additional gram of protein you eat.”
So downing three protein shakes a day may have little to no benefit if you’ve already had three protein-rich meals. Not to mention, consuming too much protein on a regular basis can have a wealth of other negative effects on your body.
James goes on to provide the recommended daily protein intake based on lean body mass, as opposed to total body mass. Lean body mass is what your body would weigh if you removed all the fat (there are online calculators to help you work out yours). If you work out much protein you should be consuming each day based on total body weight, you’re going to end up with an exaggerated figure.
James, and several users who have commented, say it’s common for people to be told to consume protein based on total body weight. You should forget that entirely and base your intake on lean mass.
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The optimum amount of protein you should be consuming will also be affected by whether you’re trying to put yourself in a calorie deficit or a calorie surplus. If you’re in a deficit, you will need to increase the amount of protein you consume, or at least make sure you hit your optimum amount each day, as without it you’ll be at a higher risk of losing muscle. For those in a surplus, you can reduce the amount of daily protein you need.
James provides a graph to show the effect of increasing the daily amount of protein you consume against the amount of muscle you can expect to gain. He points out that this graph is aimed more at leaner individuals who are dieting. Ultimately, he recommends 1g – 1.25g of protein per pound of lean body mass.
So now you know once and for all the amount of protein your body needs to make gains, there’s no excuse for chicken legs.