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How Much Protein Do I Need When Bodybuilding?

A Guide to Proper Protein Amounts for Bodybuilders

Going to the gym on a regular basis and wondering how much protein your body requires to achieve your fitness goals? The recommended daily amount of bodybuilding protein has been debated for some time. It’s true that bodybuilders need to consume a certain amount of this key building block to maintain or increase muscle mass, but eating too much of it can cause problems. A few things to know:

  • Protein is a complex chemical structure made from carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. 
  • It accounts for 50% of the body’s dry weight, and it’s estimated that humans consist of 50,000 different ones. 
  • They play a role in everything we do, from the small motion of blinking to tensing up under pressure. 
  • Protein does much more than repair muscle tissue, which contributes to muscle gain for bodybuilders. 
  • It influences many bodily functions, including hormone secretion, hair and fingernail growth, digestion, blood clotting, water balance, oxygen transfer, the immune system, and many more. 
  • Protein has such a significant role in our body’s function, it’s no wonder getting the proper intake is hotly debated. 

Bodybuilders need to understand the facts about consuming this crucial dietary component to get the right amount. This guide will clarify how much protein bodybuilders need and what they need to know. 

Adverse Effects of Consuming Too Much Protein 

Before getting into how much protein bodybuilders should be consuming, it’s essential to note that there are substantial negative effects of eating too much of it. Doing so can cause several issues and ailments throughout the body, including.

  • Kidney Disease

The kidneys are responsible for excreting the urea formed from ammonia, a toxic compound that comes from protein. Those who already have kidney problems may have difficulty excreting urea, leading to additional stress on the kidneys. Eating too much of it can make this issue worse. 

  • Heart Disease

Researchers have discovered that higher protein intake correlates to an increased risk of heart failure. Studies have shown that men who consumed high-protein diets increased their risk of heart failure by 33%, particularly when it comes from animal sources instead of eggs and fish. Many high-protein sources contain high levels of saturated fat and transfat, which are linked to heart disease. 

  • Osteoporosis

A high protein intake is thought to increase the body’s acid load. This then causes the body to extract calcium from the bones to neutralize the acid, leading to osteoporosis. Those who have a genetic history of osteoporosis should be aware of the risks involved in excess protein consumption. 

  • Constipation 

Several nutritionists and dieticians suggest that diets high in protein are too often low in fiber. Not eating enough fiber can cause issues with the digestive system and lead to constipation. Choosing high-fiber foods, such as certain vegetables, breads, and pastas, as well as drinking lots of water, can prevent constipation and keep the digestive system moving. 

Bodybuilders who consume high-protein diets become fuller more quickly and tend to leave important food groups containing essential vitamins and nutrients, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Be sure to follow a healthy, balanced diet for optimal health. 

Understanding how excess amounts can affect your body is vital to ensure you are not overdoing it. Follow the recommended daily intake for your particular age bracket, gender, and weight to safely meet your health goals without causing bodily harm.

Tips for Bodybuilding Protein Intake

Bodybuilders need to understand how much protein they should be getting, their safe daily limits, and how they can get the recommended amount. Here are a few tips that can help guide healthy levels of intake:

1. Determine Your Personal Recommended Daily Amount

According to the National Institutes of Health, the recommended daily amount for sedentary adults is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of lean body weight to supply themselves with just enough amino acids to replace that lost in a day without exercise or muscle growth. Bodybuilders, on the other hand, require from 2.3 to 3.1 grams per kilogram of weight. That means a bodybuilder who weighs 200 pounds (or 90 kg) should be getting around 225 grams daily. Keep this in mind for optimal muscle gains without overdoing it.  

2. Calorie Method vs. Body Weight Method

There are different ways to track your protein intake and how much you should be getting daily. Many bodybuilders use either the calorie method or the body weight method. The body weight method involves simply following the grams-per-kilogram recommendations above – using your body fat percentage and weight to determine intake. The calorie method, on the other hand, uses a grams-per-calorie formula to determine consumption. 

Some trainers may calculate based on 35% of total calories, while others may calculate based on 30% or less, depending on your weight and level of training. This could equal a large amount of protein, which goes back to being wary and careful about overconsumption. It’s best to consume no more than 150 grams (for 2,000 calorie diets) to 225 grams (for 3,000 calorie diets) per day. 

3. Spread Protein Intake Across Meals

Bodybuilding protein consumption can amount to a lot. Bodybuilders should spread out this intake across meals to not overdo it all at once and make themselves sick. Health experts typically recommend 20 to 40 grams per meal. 

Meal planning can help ensure that you are getting the right amount at each meal. You can get 30 grams of protein from 4 ounces of chicken breast, one scoop of protogen whey, 6 ounces of tempeh, five large hard-boiled eggs, or 4 ounces of ground beef.  Try adding these foods into your diet at these specific amounts to get appropriate amounts. 

4. Fast vs. Slow Proteins

Many gym class enthusiasts follow the idea that “fast” proteins, such as whey, are superior to “slow” proteins, such as casein. The speed at which the chemical is metabolized into amino acids and absorbed into the muscles varies by type. For example, egg protein is absorbed at a rate of fewer than 3 grams per hour, while whey is absorbed at a rate of 8 to 10 grams per hour. Bodybuilders should keep in mind how quickly certain types will metabolize compared to others to spread out specific protein intake properly.

Getting protein consumption right can be a tricky balance, but it’s worth the effort because of the repercussions of too much or too little. It’s tempting to just wing it and hope you’re getting the right amount, but your body will thank you if you pay attention to this essential dietary element.

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