Updated: Jun 6, 2020
Protein is the number 1 most important nutrient for building muscle. If you don't get enough through your diet, your health, fitness and body goals are going to suffer.
For this reason, people who want to build muscle need to eat a higher amount of protein and lift weights, of course. It's well documented that a higher protein intake helps build muscle and strength.
People who want to hold on to muscle they've already built may need to increase their protein intake when losing body fat, as a high protein intake can help prevent muscle loss that usually occurs when dieting.
When it comes to muscle mass, studies usually don't look at the percentage of calories but rather daily grams of protein per kilograms or pounds of body weight.
A common recommendation for gaining muscle is 2.2 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight.
Other scientists have estimated the protein needs to be a minimum of 1.6 grams per kg bodyweight.
Numerous studies have tried to determine the optimal amount of protein for muscle gain, but many reach different conclusions.
Some studies show that more than 1.8 grams per kg of bodyweight have no benefit, while others indicate that intakes slightly higher than 2.2 grams per kg is best.
Though it's hard to give exact figures due to conflicting study results, about 1.6–2.2 grams per kg of bodyweight seems to be a reasonable estimate.
If you're carrying a lot of body fat, using either your lean mass or your goal weight, instead of your total body weight, is a good idea, as it's mostly your lean mass that determines the amount of protein you need.
For example: Let's look at an obese man who weighs 135kg at 35% bodyfat. Would you still base his protein intake on total bodyweight? Give him that same 2g of protein per kg, and he'll be taking in a whopping 270g of protein per day. He doesn't need to be consuming that much protein as he doesn't have that amount of lean body mass.
Remove 25% body fat now you have 101.25kg of lean body mass at 10% bodyfat. Multiply that number by 2.2, and you get a daily protein target of 202.5g per day.
To achieve a successful transformation, you have to educate yourself on all things nutrition for long-lasting change.
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