Muscle for life

How Much Protein You Should Eat to Build Muscle

How Much Protein You Should Eat to Build Muscle

How much protein does your body really need to build muscle? Are some forms of protein better than others? Does the time you eat it matter?

Whenever I talk about protein and building muscle, I think of this video:

…and then I want a protein shake, hahah.

In all seriousness, I’m often asked how much protein is actually needed for building muscle.

Is 1 gram per pound of body weight per day enough? If we eat more, will we build more muscle?

Or should we be eating less than that? 1 gram per pound of lean mass, maybe? Is that even more than we need?

Well, let’s find out.

Why Your Body Needs Protein to Build Muscle


You may already know this, but I want to give a brief summary just to make sure.

In the body, a protein is a special type of molecule that is comprised of substances known as amino acids. Think of amino acids as the “building blocks” of proteins–without the requisite amino acids, the body can’t create protein molecules.

Now, there are many types of proteins in the body, and they perform a wide variety of functions ranging from the replication and repair of DNA, to cell signaling (insulin is a protein, for instance), to the formation of tissues and other substances like hair and nails, and more.

The building of “muscle proteins” (the types of protein molecules that our muscles are made of) requires a variety of amino acids, some of which must be obtained from food (these are known as “essential” amino acids).

When you eat a food that contains protein, your body breaks the protein molecules in the food down into the amino acids they’re comprised of, and then uses those amino acids to build its own proteins.

If you eat too few grams of protein every day, your body can become deficient in the amino acids it needs to build and repair muscle, and thus, muscle growth becomes impaired.

Now, the body has certain protein needs even if you don’t exercise. Remember that every day cells are dying and being regenerated, and this requires amino acids.

When you do exercise, however, the body needs even more amino acids to repair damaged muscle fibers and, depending on what you’re doing, grow them larger. This is why athletes need to eat a high-protein diet to maximize performance.

How high do you have to go, though?

Use this workout and flexible dieting program to lose up to 10 pounds of fat and build muscle in just 30 days…without starving yourself or living in the gym.

400 Grams of Protein Per Day? Seriously?

how much protein to build muscle bodybuilding

Many years ago, before I knew what I was doing, I was stuck in a rut in the gym, and I thought maybe my protein intake was the problem.

I asked an ex-professional bodybuilder how much protein I should eat every day, and he said 2 grams per pound of body weight.

I was a bit taken aback–that would mean eating close to 400 grams per day.

He was adamant that 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight was absolutely necessary to break through the plateau and start building muscle again, so I went for it.

I manned up and doubled my daily intake to reach the 400 g/day number, and, well, it suckedI was constantly full, beyond sick of protein shakes, and eating in general just felt more and more like a chore.

But I stuck it out…and didn’t build any muscle to speak of.

Fast forwards to today. I’ve radically transformed my physique since that time, and I haven’t eaten more than 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day in many years (don’t worry, we’ll get into the numbers in a second).

The point of this little story is this:

  • If you’re having trouble building muscle, eating more protein is not necessarily the solution.
  • You don’t need to eat outrageous amounts of protein to efficiently build muscle.

The bottom line is maximizing muscle growth does require following what is generally known as a “high-protein diet,” but it does not require choking down pounds of meat and cups of protein powder every day.

So, how much protein should you actually be eating to build muscle, then?

The Protein Needs of Athletes

much protein bodybuilding

According to the Institute of Medicine, 10 – 35% of our daily calories should come from protein. That’s not very helpful for us, though.

10 – 35% is quite a range to choose from, and even if we went with 35%, if our daily calorie intake is too low, we won’t get enough protein, and if it’s too high, we’ll eat more than we need.

So let’s look at some of the clinical research available on protein needs, and specifically with athletes.

First, let’s look at research conducted by McMaster University.

According to their paper, protein intake of 1.3 – 1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight (.6 – .8 grams per pound of body weight) is adequate for stimulating maximal protein synthesis. They note, however, that more protein might be needed in the case of frequent and/or high-intensity training, and in the case of dieting to lose fat (restricting calories).

A widely cited study conducted by The University of Western Ontario concluded the same: 1.6 – 1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight might be enough for athletes, but higher intakes may also be warranted depending on a wide variety of factors including energy intake, carbohydrate availability, exercise intensity, duration and type, dietary protein quality, training history, gender, age, timing of nutrient intake, and more.

As you can see, the topic is actually quite complex, and there may not be a “one-size-fits-all” solution.

“Gym lore” can actually lend some insight here, and it agrees with the above findings.

  • 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight (2.2 g/kg of BW) per day has been a bodybuilding rule of thumb for decades.
  • Higher levels of protein intake, usually in the range of 1.2 – 1.5 grams per pound of body weight (2.6 – 3.3 g/kg BW) per day, are commonly recommended when “cutting” to lose fat

If those numbers sound really high to you, consider this research published earlier this year, and conducted by AUT University. Here’s the conclusion:

“Protein needs for energy-restricted resistance-trained athletes are likely 2.3-3.1g/kg of FFM [1 – 1.4 grams per pound of fat free mass] scaled upwards with severity of caloric restriction and leanness.”

I’ve found this to be very true, not only with my body, but with the hundreds and hundreds of people i’ve worked with.

As you get leaner, keeping your protein intake high becomes very important. If it drops too low (below 1 gram per pound of body weight, in my experience), strength and muscle loss is accelerated.

Oh and in case you’re worried that eating that much protein is bad for your kidneys, don’t worry–it’s not.

The Type of Protein Matters

how much protein to build muscle calculator

Not all forms of protein are alike. There are three important factors you should know about:

  • Different forms of protein digest at different speeds.
  • Some forms of protein are better utilized by the body than others.
  • Different forms of protein have different amounts of the essential amino acids our bodies need.

Beef protein, for example, is digested quickly and 70-80% of what’s eaten is utilized by the body (the exact number varies based on what study you read, but they all fall between 70 and 80%), and has a large amount of essential amino acids.

Whey protein is also digested quickly and its “net protein utilization” (NPU) is in the low 90%s, which means that 90-something percent of it can actually be used by your body. It also is high in essential amino acids, and in leucine in particular.

Egg protein digests much slower than whey and beef and its NPU also falls in the low 90%s. It too has a great amino acid profile.









NPU and digestion speeds are important to know because you want to rely on high-NPU proteins to meet your daily protein requirements, and research has shown that a fast-digesting protein like whey is ideal for post-workout consumption.

The bottom line is if you get plenty of fish, meat, dairy, and eggs in your diet, you’ll have no issues with meeting your body’s protein needs.

Vegans, however, have it a little tougher.

You probably expect me to start talking about “complete” and “incomplete” proteins, but the “incomplete protein” myth and the faulty research that spawned it was thoroughly debunked by MIT years ago. All protein found in vegetables is “complete.”

What is true, however, is that some forms of vegetable proteins are lower in certain amino acids than others, making certain sources better than others.

For example, the protein found in peas and rice is superior to the protein found in hemp.

I recommend vegans eat plenty of grains (quinoa, and amaranth are probably the most popular high-protein choices), legumes (with all types of beans being the most popular choice here), and high-protein vegetables like peas. I recommend soy be eaten sparingly, for reasons given in this article on protein powders.

Supplementing with vegan protein powders, such as Sunwarrior’s brown rice protein, also makes balancing your numbers easier.

Does “Protein Timing” Matter?

bodybuilding protein intake

The last thing I want to quickly touch on is protein timing. That is, when you eat protein. Does it matter?

Do you need to eat protein every 3 hours? Is eating protein before or after working out necessary?

  • The frequency of protein intake doesn’t matter, so long as you hit your daily numbers.

You’re not going to “go catabolic” if you don’t have protein every few hours, and eating protein more frequently won’t help you build more muscle.

If you like to eat 3, larger meals per day with several hours in between each, do that (don’t worry, your body can absorb a lot of protein at once). If you’re like me and prefer more smaller meals throughout the day, that’s fine as well.

(Check out my article on intermittent fasting if you want to learn more about the irrelevance of meal timing.)

  • Having protein before and after working probably does matter, however–it can help you build more muscle.

The reason why I say “probably” and “can” is the research is contradictory at this time.

Some studies, such as those conducted by Victoria UniversityBaylor University, and the University of Jyväskylä indicate pre- and post-workout protein consumption does help build more muscle; whereas other studies found no such benefits, such as those conducted by The College of New Jersey and Manchester Metropolitan University.

Personally, I eat protein before working out (unless I’m training fasted), as well as after, because I believe there’s enough clinical and anecdotal evidence to support doing so (and so do other smart people in this industry).

  • Eating protein before bed is a good idea as well. Not to prevent muscle breakdown, but to aid in muscle repair.


What do you think about protein numbers, types, and timing? Have anything else you’d like to share? Lemme know in the comments below!

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I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

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  • Scott

    Knowledge is power and I always get it from you Mike! It’s funny how many years I followed the myths. I also did the 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight and meals every 3 hours. I always thought the body could only absorb 30 grams of protein at a time. After 30 years of BS I can almost manipulate my body. Still learning though. Keep up the great info!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Scott! I really appreciate it.

      Yeah most of us go through that phase, haha. Many guys never make it out…

  • Fernando

    Is it 1.2 grams per pound of bodyweight or pound of lean mass? This article stated lean body mass but Bigger, leaner,stronger says bodyweight. A little confused. Thanks Mike.

    • Michael Matthews

      Per pound of body weight, as stated in the article. (Check it again.)

      • Fernando


        • Michael Matthews


    • Quentin

      It’s funny how grams and ounces are combined (metric and imperial). We have that over here with metres and miles. I think people are comfortable with metres now, but we still describe larger distances in miles. Off topic – but things like that fascinate me!

      • Quentin

        *I meant ‘pounds’ above 🙂

        • Michael Matthews

          Yeah I figured. 🙂

      • Michael Matthews

        Yeah it is kind of strange… I would much prefer using the metric system.

      • Fed up with laws

        Metric is great for precision machining, but not so great when building houses or charting the distance of a Planes flight path. People need to learn to use both systems where they work the best. I use both, I machine in metric, but I do everything else in inches and feet.

    • Fed up with laws

      Fernando, I always just do 1.2 per pound of body weight. If you lose weight, re figure, I do that ever week I work out. On Sunday I weigh and adjust to new weight.


      “Is 1 gram per pound of body weight per day enough? If we eat more, will we build more muscle?

      Or should we be eating less than that? 1 gram per pound of lean mass, maybe? Is that even more than we need?

      Well, let’s find out.”

      So grams per pound, if you weigh 200 pounds multiply 200×1.2, and you would get 240 grams per pound. If you divide 5 meals into 240 you get 48 grams per meal, over 6 meals it’s 40 grams per meal. So you should be sleeping 8 hours, and I’m a big guy, so I had a problem with too many grams and not enough hours in the day, I solved this be pre making a protein shake before going to bed and putting it in the fridge, after 4 hours of sleep I would wake up and drink it, works magic, then go back to bed. My shake had vitamin D milk and protien powder at night, but during work outs I would make a big one with a large banana in there too or strawberries, and drink it between sets, finish it after work out.

      One thing you can do is buy chicken breast and eggs, hard boil the eggs and boil the chicken breast. On the eggs eat mostly the white, boil a dozen at a time and take them with you each day how many egg whites you need. I used to boil a bunch of chicken breasts at once, then freeze for all week. De skin and salt and pepper after boiling. Put in zip lock bags and freeze, just take out what you need the night before and put it in the fridge then take with you to work or what have you.


      As you can see one large egg white has 17 calories, 0.06g Fat, .24 grams of carbs and 3.6 grams of protein. So one dozen large egg whites is worth 43.2 grams of protein, and I think that would be close enough for one meal at the 200 pounds listed above, and it’s only 204 calories, and 2.88 grams of fat per dozen.


      Half of a Large Skinless Chicken Breast:

      130 calories, 1.45 grams of fat, zero carbs, 27.5 grams of protein.

      So you may notice that there is little to no fat in this diet, and very low carbs. I would supplement with protein power and bananas or some other fruit, and Vitamin D milk. You will drop fat on that diet and end up lean muscle, strong bones, and very little fat.

      I hope this helps, and don’t be afraid to eat a steak, baked potato and salad too, just be mindful how much butter and dressing and such you use, you can even put nuts in the salad to get even more protein.

      What I do is when I am trying to lose weight, I gradually use less butter and dressing on my salad and baked potato, and over the years I automatically use much less now than I did before that, even non diet. Steak can be substituted with fish, change it up so you don’t get bored.

      Rice is good with the chicken or fish for carbs.

  • Brad Warren

    At the beginning of this year I weighed in at over 320 lbs and I was miserable. One day I decided that I wasn’t going to continue this way and resorted to a diet of six eggs a day with some cheese and an exercise plan that consisted of pulling a diesel tire on a log chain. Despite my low calorie and moderate protein intake my legs have grown like tree trunks but my weight loss has stalled out at 288.8 lbs. I agree that generally you don’t need as much protein to build muscle as what has been traditionally accepted and from what I have read about protein metabolism it may be something as simple as your blood type that determines the efficiency with which your body utilizes animal proteins.

    • Michael Matthews

      Great job on the weight loss. It sounds like it’s time to eat a bit better. Due to your weight, you CAN deal with a large calorie deficit, but if you’re not losing weight, let’s fix your diet…

      • Brad Warren

        Every two weeks I load up on slow digesting carbs which causes a small reduction in weight. I only take my weights and tapes once a week and this morning when I did both I was down to 386.8 and waist diameter at it’s largest point was 53″ which is a half inch reduction. I am not sure why all of a sudden I experienced this loss, I haven’t changed anything. Any thoughts?

        • Michael Matthews

          That water loss that then allows you to actually see the fat you’ve lost:

          https://www.muscleforlife.com /water-retention-and-weight-loss/

          I would recommend eating a bit more. You can run a large deficit, but let’s try to keep you around 1,500 calories per day. I would do this:

          200 pro
          70 carb
          50 fat

          (Per day)

          Have most if not all your carbs after training.

  • Quentin

    Great article as always Mike. Your new book has been really helpful too. It’s nice when the recipes are quick to make.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! I really appreciate it and am glad you’re liking the book.

      • Glen Wilson

        Another really good read! Im cutting at the minute im 69k and need to drop to around 66-67k I eat around 160-170grams protein is this enough as I see the ideal is 2.6-3.3grams per kilo. That’s roughly 170 -227g for me which is a fair few added calories if I put in too much.

        • Michael Matthews

          Thanks Glen! 170ish is fine. You could drop carbs a little and up protein if you wanted but 170 should be plenty to preserve muscle.

        • Glen Wilson

          Thanks for getting back good to know im going down the right paths!

          • Michael Matthews

            My pleasure! 🙂

  • Dino

    Just my experience.

    I have been trying to bulk with 400 grams of complex carbs (bananas, oatmeal, carb powder) and 1.5 grams protein per body weight. But only seeing slow muscle growth in a 3 month span.

    The last few months I have been cutting to go on my vacation next week. I have upped my protein to 2 to 2.5x my body weight (protein powder only) and eating 100 calorie yogurt cups a few times a day. I since have shed 15 lbs, (size 38 to size 34 pants); but the weird thing is my muscle are getting bigger fast. I have just about the same routine (mike’s) — but I run at least once a day on the treadmill for 30-45 minutes doing high intensity interval training.

    I thought by going mainly protein powder for meals it would preserve some muscle while letting me lose fat. But I had no idea I would gain muscle, so I’m very happy about that. I had planned on taking water pill in the next few days before I leave, but I really don’t think I need to now.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks for the comment Dino. Very interesting. My guess is your body fat % was a bit too high to efficiently build muscle on your bulk. You can read about this here:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com /the-best-way-to-gain-muscle-not-fat/

      Very-high-protein diets that are also low in calories work for losing weight, but that high might put a bit of stress on your kidneys (not sure as I haven’t seen a study with intake that high). Make sure you’re drinking a gallon of water per day or so.

      • Fed up with laws

        Right, the more water you drink, the more fat you lose.

    • Ovidiu Drobotă

      These proteins based on whey, received various awards in competitions in the field, receiving awards protein powder supplement Year and the Year of 2005 to 2008. This version is the third generation of ON 100% Whey Protein: ON 100% Whey gold Standard. Take a look: http://www.proteinen-shop.nl/68–100-whey-gold-standard-protein-227-kg.html

  • ADTS

    “I know you love protein, I love protein too” The embedded video proves that not only are you a scholar, but a gentlemen too. I believe a “well-done” is in order. Great article as per usual.

    • Michael Matthews

      Hahah thanks. I appreciate it. 🙂

  • Danny

    Hi Mike neither my ipad or android smartphone support support flash player – where can i find video? Also is it necessary to increase protein when you have a muscle injury?

    • Michael Matthews

      Hmm not sure I found it on some random website. If you Google “kali muscle Taco Bell commercial” you’ll find it.

      No, you don’t have to eat more protein than laid out in this article when you’re injured.

  • Toni

    Great article! You don’t need gads of protein to build muscle. I eat around .8 grams per lb of bodyweight and I have had good results as a forty-two year old lady.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! Next time you’re dieting for fat loss, I recommend bumping it up a bit–at least to 1 g/lb.

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  • Ram

    I don’t understand. I read the Bigger Leaner Stronger book and you said that you should eat protein every 3 or so hours and also advocate doing several small meals. But in this article you are saying that is not necessary. Did you change your philosophy?

    • Michael Matthews

      Remember I simply LIKE to eat this way, but it’s not entirely necessary, that’s all. I recommend it in my book because it’s very easy and keeps you full and energetic, that’s all.

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  • AgeUke

    Hi Mike, what’s your take on this http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/mar/04/animal-protein-diets-smoking-meat-eggs-dairy it’s just made its way into British newspapers today.

    • Michael Matthews

      Another alarmist take on epidemiological research. Yawn. Correlation isn’t causation.

      There are so many other factors involved in the onset of such diseases. Blaming protein alone is moronic, but makes for good headlines.

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  • del

    I am 52 , female, vegetarian. am 5ft 2″ and weigh 47kilos with a small bone frame. I have always been extremely ‘pear shaped’ and have exercised to combat this, which only brings marginal results for a lot of effort. Over the last few years my skin and muscles have become very saggy, droopy and ‘spongy’. Think I have muscle Atrophy as I don’t have any muscle tone, though I walk everywhere and have a physical job.I look awful, undernourished and underweight! I would like to put on weight to look healthier and more toned, but am afraid if I do I will just end up putting on more fat and ‘sponge’. My hair seems to be thinning too. Please would you advise me how to put on weight whilst building lean, feminine muscle tone – no ‘sponge’ , no Cellulite, no muscle atrophy? am thinking , though my muscle tone and shape were not very good even when I was younger , inspite of exercising daily , it has got a lot worse since I’ve become veggie, hair included. many thanks for any advise you can offer ..del

    • Michael Matthews
    • Parkersspace

      This is exactly why I was reading this article. Spongy is the word I was looking for. I’m not spongy perse, but I’ve always been athletic, strong legs which were heavy muscle when I was younger are spongy looking now especially visible in certain positions and I tend to blame it on muscle atrophy. I think I’m not eating enough protein, (suspected) but now you have me pretty sure that’s an issue. I know I smell ammonia after my two hour bike rides now and generally info kept saying eat more carbs but I think over all by reading this i’m not eating enough protein. I never hit 1 gr per pound of weight a day and food log daily so I know. At 49 the closer I get to 50 the more I’ve noticed this. I eat meat but not a lot and not daily, I think I’ll start upping it and see how it goes and maybe give up my morning oatmeal yogurt a few days a week. What a great article that quotes all the studies. Hard to find this kind of information on line.

      • Michael Matthews

        Ah yeah you’re going to want to hit at least 1 g/lb if you’re really active. As you age, your body’s ability to use protein to rebuild itself declines.

  • Joel

    Have u ever watched the show Game of Thrones? There’s a scene where 1 of the characters has to eat an entire bloody horse heart. All I could think was “I wonder how much protein is in that?”

    • Michael Matthews


    • Fed up with laws

      I’m sure the info can be found, some cultures eat horses.

  • Pax

    Hi Mike and everyone

    I’m wondering if you are familiar with this study and if so, what’s your take on this. It’s a long article but the bottomline is that allegedly you don’t need more than 0,82g/lb of protein even when cutting (subjects were running on a 1000kcal daily deficit and didn’t loose any muscle).


    I recently started my cut and managed to loose 4kg in about 8 weeks so far. It’s my first cut so I don’t have much experience but I’m currently at 2g/kg of protein and feeling ok with my strength (I don’t seem to get weaker, even a bit stronger in some parts). I’m just wondering if my protein needs can get higher in the final stages of cutting. I’m currently at 2100 kcal (77kg and around 13% BF i think)

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  • vipul

    i weight 62 kg. I want to know how many grams of protein do i need everyday if i do intense training at the gym??

    • Michael Matthews

      Did you read the article?

  • Morgen

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the article! As always, your advice is a big help! 🙂

    I read that eating too much protein can actually lead to fat/weight gain (even if it’s not excess calories) because your body can only use so much protein. Is this true? For example, I am ~126lb and according to the formula, my ‘max limit’ is about 189 grams (126×1.5). I have no problem getting my protein in and usually end up around 200grams (or more) per day. Could this be preventing me from losing those last few pounds, especially when cutting? It seems like it would be hard for the body to store protein as fat because it takes so much work to digest it….

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  • Dan

    Hi Mike,
    I work a manual labor job, so I require a really large number of calories each day, around 4,000 depending if I’m cutting or bulking. I am currently bulking at 4,200 calories per day and since I need so many carbs, I have been getting almost all of my protein from incomplete sources such as potatoes, whole grains, legumes, nuts etc. I weigh 175 LBS, so should I stick to the 1 gram per pound of body weight or should I go higher so I can incorporate more meats, eggs etc. ? If I do the 1 gram per pound for protein and 20% fats, my carbs are around 60% and protein just under 20%. What do you think I should do for macros?

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah we could rejigger your macros:

      250 protein
      500 carb
      100 fat

      I would also stick to lower protein carbs. You could include some fruit juice as well.


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  • Thijs Buelens

    Hi Mike,

    First of all congrats with this amazing site, have already learned a lot ! My question is this: I go to the gym twice a week (compound excercises and functional fitness), I do three days of interval cardio and three days of core work out. Do I need to eat 1gram per pound of bodyweight everyday (also when not going to the gym) or is my training intensity to low, so that I will actually gain fat doing this? Thanks

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  • Alvaro

    Mike, what is the best protein powder? Whey concentrate or isolate? regarding what you say on soy undesired effects, traces of soy lecithin are ok to consume? unable to find whey isolate without at least small amounts of soy…Thanks.

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  • Michael Matthews

    Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article! I hope you enjoyed it.

    Feel free to comment below if you have any questions. I do my best to check and reply to every comment left on my blog, so don’t be shy!

    Oh and if you like what I have to say, you should sign up for my free weekly newsletter! You’ll get awesome, science-based health and fitness tips, delicious “guilt-free” recipes, articles to keep you motivated, and much more!

    You can sign up here:


    Your information is safe with me too. I don’t share, sell, or rent my lists. Pinky swear!

  • Aditya Manocha

    Wonderful article mike
    Untill now i used to fear as to how much protein is actually required above which it can be bane for us now u’ve cleared all my doubts now ill follow the 1gm per lb rule
    Thank you so much i appreciate it!! 🙂

    • Michael Matthews

      Great! Glad I could help.

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  • Dabeer Khan

    mike i have a question, My weight is 154 lbs that means i have to take 154 grams of protein,For example If 100 gram of chicken contain 25 gram of protein, That means i have to eat 600 grams of chicken which contain 150 grams of protein, but my question is its very hard to eat that much chicken.

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  • Kiwi

    Do you have any tips for vegetarians?

    • What do you mean?

      • Kiwi

        Meaning do we have to eat more protein grams per weight due to the fact we are getting it from dairy and egg, should we take BCAAs, etc.

        • Oh, no. Dairy and egg protein are great. Protein from grains and vegetables are decent too.

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  • Joseph

    Hey Mike. I see you recommend the old tried rule of at least 1g protein/lb bodyweight. What is your opinion on Brad Pilon about protein requirements ? Also, a guy named Menno Henselmans has an article about this ( the myth of 1gr/lb of bodyweight or something ) How come all of you guys are using credible sources for your recommendations, yet the said recommendations seems to differ ?

    • If you consider all the credible positions you can settle on 0.8 grams per pound and know you’re fine…

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  • Brent

    Hey Mike, love your articles. Did have a question regarding the risk of excess protein getting stored as fat. Is it preferable to supplement with slow digestion proteins in general other than for pre and post workout meals? For instance, if you supplement with whey throughout the day, would the protein be metabolized quicker than needed by your muscles so that any excess protein gets converted to glucose/glycogen, and then fat?

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  • Omi Baker

    Although to take exercises, taking nutritious food is also helpful to gain a fit &
    fine body. Your personal fitness trainer & health consultant’s advice is also helpful to take. Besides this one site can also be helpful –

    body buildo
    one of my friend used this supplement and gain enormous results in form of 5-6

    inches increment.

  • Mark Stuber

    I have put on a lot of fat in the last couple of years. Therefore, I think it would be more useful to get a figure based on lean body mass instead of total body mass. Since, I am strength training, what’s the max amount of gramns of protein per pound of lean body mass I would neeed?

    • If you’re quite overweight then yes 1 to 1.2 grams per pound of lean mass would work.

  • Andrew Juve

    I’m about 250 lbs, and could easily lose 30-40 lbs. I’m trying to build muscle and lose my excess fat. What protein ratio should I aim for?

  • marco

    Hi Michael.

    I know rugby players which are really enormous and have plenty of muscles with a very low intake of proteins and never used whey or casein powders.

    And I recently stumbled across this link from John Alvino:

    So I “suspect” that, AFTER HAVING SATISFIED YOUR NEED FOR PROTEINS (WHICH IS PROBABLY VERY LOW, like ½ gram of protein per pound of bodyweight ), build muscles is a matter of calories and carbs.

    • Did you check out any of the research I cite in this article?

      You also need to remember that steroid use is very prevalent in professional sports like rugby.

      • marco

        Yes, I know that what I’ve said is very “anecdotal”, but it’s evidence.
        And the answer cannot be always “drugs” or “genetics”…
        They probably don’t always show 8 pack abs, yet they are very big and muscled.
        This means proteins, above the minimum required, do nothing in building muscles.
        I think good workouts, calories and carbohydrates do.

  • Casey Collier

    Hello Mike,

    Although it was stated in the article above that there is a gram per day protein requirement, I have heard mixed things about this “30-40 gram of protein/ 3g of leucine requirements” PER MEAL to maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis (MPS). Layne Norton was the man who first solidified that claim…(http://www.biolayne.com/wp-content/uploads/Norton-J-Ag-Food-Ind-Hi-Tech-2008.pdf).

    To your knowledge, do I need to hit that 3g leucine marker at each and every meal? I prefer eating six-seven meals per day and my TDEE is 2800 calories. I weigh of 130-135 lbs at 5’5”.

    Would it be best to:
    1. Eat ~30g protein at each meal – 210g protein per day
    2. Consume seven meals per day, but only consume protein sources (meat, whey, etc.) at four or five of them – 130 -150g protein per day
    3. Change my eating habits to consume four or five meals per day so I can keep my protein around 130 – 150g per day

    Thank you so much. Sorry about the length of the question!!

    • Hey Casey!

      Yeah there is an ongoing debate about protein needs and timing.

      Honestly I think we tend to get into splitting hairs on things like this. 90% of it is just getting enough protein every day and if getting really granular is going to do anything, it’s going to manifest slightly over the course of years, not weeks or months, you know?

      Personally I eat protein 5 to 6 times per day, about every 3 hours. I enjoy that eating schedule. But look at IF for evidence that eating it just a few times per day can work as well.

      • Casey Collier

        Thanks Mike, that’s good to hear since I have been overdoing my protein intake. I think I’ll just focus on getting five quality protein servings per day, while focusing them around workouts and still eating six or seven meals. I appreciate the help.

  • Andy Holahan

    Hi Mike,
    Curious about something: In your book you recommend something like 1.2 grams of protein/lb of body weight when cutting. And when bulking you recommend the typical 1g/1lb. Why eat slightly less protein when bulking? Can you explain that a bit further? Thanks!

    • Because protein needs are higher when cutting to preserve muscle.

  • Niall

    Hi Mike,

    I just came across your site, it got my attention and I started reading some articles. I am 25y, 185cm, 79/80kg and I think i have 11% body-fat at the moment. Ive been training for some years now but I guess havent always been eating enough kcals to gain lots of muscles, unfortunately. (I think I started at 65kg, gained some muscles but not a lot). Now I am trying to put up a strict diet and I wonder if 2g per bodyweight in Kg would be enough to maximize muscle growth too?

    I am now following: carbs 50-60%, 20-30% fat, 2g per bodyweight in Kg protein.

    Please let me know what you think of the numbers im using above. Thanks!

  • Melissa

    Thank you for this article! It helped me understand protein a lot!

  • Josiah

    Hi Mike,
    I’m 14. Does age matter when eating protein? I’ve got about 20% body fat, and I’m not strength training yet. I’m just jogging 3 times per week.
    Thanks a lot!

    • I wouldn’t recommend trying to get to 10% at your age.

      Generally speaking, you don’t want to be in a calorie deficit because it can impair your body’s development. You want to eat plenty of nutritious foods and move your body and let it develop naturally.

      Regarding protein, if you ate around 0.8 grams per pound you’d be fine. It can be tricky as a vegetarian but you can stick to dairy, eggs, plant-based powders, higher protein grains and seeds, etc.

      • Josiah

        Thanks! ok, I’ll raise my calories to 2,000 from 1,500, and I’ll lower my protein from 115 to 92. What percentage would you suggest I should put my fat and carbs at?

        • Cool I like the plan. 100 grams pro and 0.3 grams fat per pound and the rest from carbs should be fine.

  • Brozathon

    Hey Mike, great article! Quick question. I’m 6’2 232 and logged my stuff into myfitnesspal so i’m trying to reach around 220 right now and eating 1700 calories a day. I have a fat cap of 55g. I’m finding it slightly difficult to eat more than 150g protein without going over my limit in fat, do you have any suggestions on how to overcome a problem like this, and is the fat budget just as important as the caloric budget?

    • First, your cals are too low. Check out the cals for your weight and BF% here:


      As to getting enough protein without going over in fat, you need stick to lean meat! Chicken, turkey, etc.

      • Brozathon

        Wow thanks a lot Mike!! I found that with my body fat percentage at 19% my BMR is about 2200 so i’ll be eating about 2112 according to my workout hours as of now with 40% of that going to proteins and carbs with 20% to fat and see how it works out for a while.

        I also got a link from that article you linked


        Which already cured my curiosity on whether to cut or bulk, so i’ll be cutting down to about 10 – 12% body fat and if I feel like I want more muscle start juggling around 10 to 15% body fat till i get my desired size. U made me so much smarter about this stuff, love your website man!! :DDD

        • YW!

          I don’t recommend eating below BMR…

          I like the goal of getting to 10-12% and then focusing on building muscle. Let’s do it.

          Happy to have helped man!

          • Brozathon

            Ya I’ve been reading about that, so i decided to just go harder in the gym for 4 – 6 hours per week, so i’ll be eating about 2376 calories now, this also gives me a little more fat to work with as well 😀

          • Sounds like a plan!

            LMK how it goes.

  • C

    Yo Mr. Mike… I was really interested in your article, and found it very informative! I’m glad to know someone out there can certainly help me out. However, there’s a little something wrong with the article, about your kidneys… I was eating about my weight in protein in order to keep my muscle growing, making sure to hit it at the right times of the day. I ended up becoming severely constipated, and then I found out I had “proteinuria”, a condition where too much protein in the kidneys turns into calcium sediment and is passed through your urinary tract… lets just say things got a lot worse. I was told a high protein diet requires an even higher fiber diet and although it is true that most of the protein was calcium based, it ended up causing so much damage to my kidneys and bladder that I’ve had to see several doctors and had to stop lifting :(. I hope its understandable why I’m not exactly so eager to go back to eating a high protein diet. I don’t know what to do, I suppose I’m looking for the best advice I can find about if there’s any other way to build muscle without too much protein.

    • C

      I feel stupid, I feel horrible and it’s totally my fault! I ended up eating so much protien, AND the protein Ensure’s ( the ones for old people? total accident) accidentally without seeing what they really were first. Long and embarrassing story about that 🙁 If I wanted to start up again, how would I go about my diet to make sure this doesn’t happen again, because believe me… I’ve been through a LOT of pain

    • Thanks! Glad you liked the article.

      There are definitely individual cases where high protein intake can be an issue but it’s quite rare. The vast majority of people have no problems.

      Regarding fiber, the standard recommendation of 10 to 15 grams per 1,000 calories works fine for the majority of people as well.

      How much protein are you able to eat every day without problems?

      • C

        Before this problem, protein intake wasn’t much of a problem. 100 grams easily! I drank tons of water and ate a ton of fruit, probably 5 bottles a day of water. However, I accidentally drank those ensures for older people mistakenly thinking it was a protein shake for growth (super bad decision) and had so much calcium protein in my body that it ruined my urinary tract 🙁 at that time not enough fiber. So, before all this, a good enough amount!

  • Perry

    I eat only one gram of protein per pound, and my progress hasn’t been hurt any.
    Many, many bodybuilders have scaled way back because of the new research and findings showing that the body does not need more than one gram, and their progress hasn’t suffered either.
    On top of that, of the days that I do not work out, and the protein synthesis has gone back down to normal, I lower it to 3/4 of a gram because I am watching my weight.

    • 1g/pound is what I recommend while training to build muscle so that’s great!

      • Cezar

        Hi Michael ! I’m 15 years old , 5’10 (177 cm) , 163 pounds and I started cutting this summer. I’ve seen some good progress but I didn’t counted my calories/macros all the cut. It’s been 2 weeks since I started to do so and I can only hit about 100 grams of protein. I do pushups and pullups only. Will I loose any muscle considering that I don’t do “high intensity workouts” ? I don’t do cardio at all. I did Insanity but I got bored so I stopped since I started to count calories. Thank you very much !

        • Hey man!

          I actually don’t recommend that you try to get very lean at your age. It’s unhealthy.

          The overall plan as a teenager is to maintain a normal, healthy body fat range (10 to 15% in guys 20 to 25% in girls), be active, and eat a nutritious, high-protein diet.

          Wait until 18+ to diet to get “shredded.”

          • Cezar

            I don’t want to get to like 6%, 7%, 8% etc . I want to get to 10%.

          • Fair enough. The point though is you don’t want to spend long periods of time in a calorie deficit.

  • Jon

    Hi Mike,

    I am 200lbs (148LBM + 52BF/26%) 1820BMR/1.35activity/2457TDEE/eating1965per day – so according to this article/AUT Study I can eat 148-207grams of protein if I am looking into losing a substantial amount of fat without compromising any muscle?

    Does it matter what end of the spectrum I lean towards?

    Now, if I eat the lowest end of the spectrum (148gams) that would be about 30% of my calories. This is much less protein than you recommend in your 40p/40c/20f or your other macro breakdowns in other articles like the one for rapid fat loss (45p/20c/35f). Therefore, if 30% is my protein should I evenly split the rest of calories into carbs and fats?

    Thanks again bro for your kindness in taking the time to answer me and everyone else – Jon

  • Ty

    Hi Mike!

    I gotta say I love your no nonsense approach, its very refreshing. I really enjoyed reading this article as well as some of your others. I read your article on protein absorption and this article back to back and it raised a few questions about my situation:

    I have always been a lean dude, I’m 27 years old, 6ft 4in and 150lbs. Medically I am as healthy as they come and over the last year I’ve gotten in the best shape of my life. I am what you would consider a slow gainer in terms of mass and weight but I have seen my strength increase greatly over that time. I gained about 12 pounds over the last year of regular lifting and exercise. Now I know that doesn’t sound terrible but there is a couple kickers to this story; in order to gain that weight I had to average around 4250-5000 calories a day, my metabolism is nuts. The other big issue I have is that my body cannot digest whey protein, if I have any my system freaks out. So, I have been getting my main sources of protein through meat, fish, nuts and seeds. I try to get around 275g of protein each day due to my crazy metabolism and 5-6 day a week activity level.

    So, after reading your article on protein absorption and this one, I am wondering where do these types of proteins (meat, fish, nuts and seeds) fall in terms of grams absorbed per hour? I know the body will store unused protein but am I overdoing it a ton because the absorption rate is lower?

    Does the fact that I cannot intake any whey protein mean that I may be stuck at this slower gain rate period? Is there a type of protein I should be focusing on because of my odd situation? Any insight you may be able to give on this would be amazing. I really have never met anyone in the same boat as I am, and whenever an athlete or lifter find out my situation they just apologize over and over lol. I know they mean well but I don’t need condolences and sorry’s; I just need solutions and options haha. I know what I am doing is working, however, I would just like to optimize and maximize my potential.

    Thank you so much man!

    • Thanks Ty! I really appreciate it.

      Great job on the gains so far. I like it.

      You don’t need that much protein. Let’s keep it around 150 grams and get the rest of your cals from carbs and fat. Should be much easier for your diet.

      Your sources of food protein are great. Nothing needs to be changed there.

      You definitely don’t need whey to make gains. You don’t need any supplements actually. Some can help but none are vital.

      Check this out:


      • Ty


        Thanks so much for the advice and encouragement! I will adjust my intake and track my results over the next two weeks. I totally read that article you linked and it hit very close to home; seems like I am in the position that you started in. I really enjoyed reading it. Please keep writing! I have avoided creatine thus far in my training simply due to the fact that when I was younger I heard that there were negative long term effects. After reading the positive things you had to say about it, I am a bit more open to giving it a shot. I am going to do some more reading and research but I am considering it now. I really appreciate all of your help and I’ll definitely be frequenting your site. You freakin rock.

        Thanks so much dude!


        • My pleasure man. Happy to do it!

          Yep, creatine is a well-researched and effective product.

          LMK how you like it when you start taking it.

  • Andy

    Hey, Mike, really enjoy reading your article. I’m 83.6 lbs at 5 ft 2 in. And i did tons of research to find what my macro should be to gain muscle. Some ranged from 50c/30p/20f; 55c/25p/20f, 50c/25p/25f. What should I do? I’m taking in around 2500 cals daily by the way, thanks a lot!

  • Dean

    Hello! I just started reading your book, I am 61 years old and was wondering if there is anything I should be doing differently?

    • The dieting is exactly the same there are just a few minor tweaks to the training.

      1. No heavy deadlifting or squatting unless the person was an experienced weightlifter. If you have any lower back issues, don’t deadlift at all unless instructed to do so by a PT. If you have any knee issues, no squatting unless instructed to do so by a PT. If you have no such issues, start your deadlifting and squatting in the 8 – 10 rep range and stay there until the exercises feel very comfortable. You can then move into 6 – 8 rep range and work with that until it feels completely stable and comfortable. You can then move into the 4 – 6 rep range, but it’s not mandatory. You have to see how your body feels.

      2. No heavy bench pressing or military pressing if you have shoulder issues. If you don’t have any, start these exercises in the 6 – 8 rep range and work there until they feel very comfortable and stable. You can then move into the 4 – 6 rep range.

      That’s it. Some guys had very particular circumstances that required further tweaks, but that was it for most.

  • Bublina

    Hey Mike, great article.

    Can you shed some light on this research? It says that your body can not use more than 0,89g of protein per pound of your body weight a day. Unfortunatelly, I can’t find the research article but Kinobody talks about it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gg97GY2EkDA

    What do you think about it? Is it necessary to eat the amount you recommend in your book? Other than that, I love your books 🙂

  • Akua

    HI Mike,
    I am new to your site, I enjoy reading your articles; very detailed and helpful.
    My question is, I am 31 yrs old, 5’5,205 lbs with approximately 36% bf. I am finding it difficult to lose fat since the birth of my second child… I initially lost 26 lbs from cutting back on intake with no exercise… Now I exercise 4 to 6 hrs a week some times more.I track my intake on my fitness pal but still am stack, currently consuming 1800 cal daily, what macros do you recommend I follow and should I go lower on my Cals? Thanks for your help.

  • Briana

    I’m 13 and I was wondering how I can gain weight without it going to my stomach

  • Palash Gulati

    Hey Mike, I found your articles really interesting, just want to ask that I am 23 yrs 76 kg n 5’10” , I have sagging muscles n now my body hs started to develop moobs bcz of fat. Now I want to bring my body in size which is distorted completely right now. I have read somewhere that for moobs zinc is better. Since I am new on this tell me what to do regarding diet n proteins .

    • Thanks Palash!

      Let’s focus on reducing fat. Check this out:


      • Palash Gulati

        That was great Mike. …I am planning to order the complete pack….but I want to ask that I work on ships and there we don’t have much heavy weights and mainly multiform and treadmill. Tell me will it be OK to continue with same diet plan.

        • Glad you liked it. Yeah you can make it work you just have to adjust calorie intake on expenditure.

  • Mostafa

    Mike this was one of the best articles Ive read in quite some time. Specially the section with the amount of protein required daily. I have a quick question that no one seems to cover. I think I might have high metabolism and its holding me back. Everyone notices a difference in my appearance after a short period of training however I lose everything super fast of I stop. I know its normal to lose if you dont work out but with me its super fast. What do you recommend I do? I get busy sometimes and stop working out for a week and bam muscles start to disappear. (Body type slim 143 lbs and 5 8 tall.) Thanks In advance.

  • Rajat

    Hey Mike. I’m 16 and I do body weight exercises. I am becoming advanced day by day. But I am not gaining any more muscles. I have not hit a plateau but it seems like I am taking less proteins. Should I take supplements at this age like those protein bars. I weigh 65 kg and I m 5’7″ . How much protein should I take daily

  • Simon French

    Very interesting article – as a 49 year old who has taken up Cross Fit in the last 2 years. Not to compete, but for my own health and enjoyment i would be interested to know what you think my protein intake should be to help create more muscle . height 6’9″ and 220lbs

  • Tyran

    This is an awesome article! Thanks so much for the in depth information 🙂
    I’m 38, and recently started doing weight & powerlifting. I’m lifting much more than I was 2 months ago, but I know I’m definitely not eating enough.. I still can’t work out how much protein, fats & complex carbs I should be ingesting per meal to get to my calories per day – whatever that amount is?

    I’m 6.3″ and weight 80kg, and I’m pretty lean, what do you suggest? Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, man!

  • lapsmith

    A recent article in Consumer Reports on Health says you need to eat a minimum of 25-30 grams of protein at a time to initiate protein synthesis, especially as you age. It was written by an MD, but wonder how valid it is as I’ve never heard that before and besides, how does your digestive tract know how much protein is in your system. What do you think?

    • That’s an over-simplification. You need at least 25 to 30 grams to maximize protein synthesis.

      • lapsmith

        Thanks Mike. So do you think there’s any benefit to eating 30 grams at breakfast, for example, versus 15 grams for breakfast and another 15 grams an hour or two later?

  • Burçin Bozkır

    I want to sure about, how much time is enough eating meal before fasted training on an average. I know it depends on what and how much we eat but for example eating 10 egg whites with some rice or potatoes.

    • If you keep it to 30 to 40 grams of pro and sub-10 carb and fat, you should be good within 4ish hours.

  • alfie dowers

    Could you eat 0.8 per pound of protein and still gain 0.5lbs on a bulk and run into no muscle building issues?

  • Casey Collier

    After finding out that I am sensitive to lactose (as well as have Celiac Disease), I am looking for other ways to get protein into the diet. I have been using lots of eggs, whey isolate (no lactose), and meat. What are your thoughts on a brown rice, pea, hemp and quinoa blend? (NOW Plant Protein Complex)
    I have heard that it’s “harder” to digest plant proteins? Also they lack leucine, so I have added 3G raw leucine to the shake. I like to have this before bed in replacement for casein.

    • Hey hey!

      That’s a great blend for a meal replacement. If you want something that’s just protein with little carb and fat, get a pea and rice blend (without the help and quinoa).

      I actually plan on creating a vegan protein powder. It will be out next year.

      • Casey Collier

        Oh sweet I think that will be awesome! Ill be waiting to hear about that. What is the digestion speed of plant proteins?

        • Yeah I’m excited for it. Honestly it won’t be until Q2ish next year.

          In the meantime, check for another pea/rice blend.

          Depends on the source.

          • Casey Collier

            That’s fine I’ll be paitent👌🏻 thank you so much for everything Mike! You really have helped me meet my goals so far!

          • I appreciate it! NP. Happy to help. 🙂

  • karl

    Hi Micheal is there a app for your protein, carbs and all others to find out exactly what your intake is and for meal planning.

    • I’m in the middle of making an app right now! Check it out:


      In the meantime, MyFitnessPal is a good option.

      My pleasure!

  • xyz

    my weight is 74 kg and m 29 I workout six days a week n m working out for last 2 years, how much protein shall I consume, I don’t lift heavy weights but I want to get lean, presently I consume less than 0.8 per pound body weight . How much protein shall I consume….? please help

  • Yash

    Hatsoff. Totally blown away by this brilliant piece of writing. Came here as a fitness enthusiast and can say this is one of the best articles that backs practical knowledge with in-depth research.

    Cheers Mike.

    • Thanks a ton for the kind words and support. I appreciate it, and I’m glad you enjoyed the article. 🙂

  • Almost007

    Hey! Just getting into all this fitness stuff, have begun the pursuit of “the body of my dreams”. From all the research I’ve done it seems like around a gram of protein per pound of body weight is the common recommended standard for those wanting to build muscle and strip fat. I’m not sure if anyone else feels this way or if I’m missing something here but this feels like a massively daunting task to try and achieve. I’m 216 pounds, I’m not particularly lean nor very fat either. How does one go about trying to consume 216 grams of protein in one day without eating himself sick and without breaking the bank? Some practical advice here on how to get that protein count to 216 grams would be really helpful. Cheers! 🙂

    • Awesome!

      If you eat around 200 grams per day, you’ll be fine. Getting there is pretty simple if you eat 5 to 6 meals per day and don’t mind eating meat, dairy, eggs, etc.

  • gojira

    i was on high protein diet and then i did RFTs and my blood urea is high so how much protein should i take in that case. doctor said there is nothing alarming ,but i am still scared.i ve cut down on my protein but not sure how much should i take i am approx. 75 kgs and 21 years old. i was taking 14 egg whites, 500gms of chicken breast and 2 scoops pf whey but now i m eating 10 egg whites 350 grams of chicken and 1 scoop whey so it fine or should i reduce some more? plz help.

    • I would either stick with your doctor’s recommendations or get another medical opinion if you’re not sure…

  • Phillip

    Hey Mike!
    I know you mentioned getting you protein from vegetables, but approximately how much do u recommend? I feel when I am calculating my meal plan, I feel like a big chunk of protein comes from fruits and vegetables because I am eating so carbs that have small amounts of protein that add up.

    Thanks a ton! Keep up the great work with Muscle for Life and Legion!

    • I recommend you get the majority of your protein from animal sources. The rest coming from vegetables and other carb sources is totally fine.

      Welcome! Will do. 🙂

      • Phillip

        So does that mean at least 50%? Just making sure because I know that sounds like a really dumb question. hahah Thanks again

  • John

    It’s grams per kilogram of body mass, not grams per pound. The bodybuilder either misspoke or didn’t know that you should convert pounds to kilograms first. If you were to calculate 2.0 grams for a 200lb male, it would require approximately 181g of protein a day. 200/2.2 = 90.9kg, and 90.0 * 2.0 = 181 grams. This is drastically different than 400 grams!

  • Andrea

    What about the risk of too much protein doing Liver damage?? Like me, I weigh 118pounds, small frame woman and I was told that 120 grams of protein is too much for me, and that I can do liver damage?

    • No, definitely not. It would be your kidneys, not your liver, but no, a high-protein diet doesn’t harm your kidneys (assuming you’re health, etc.).

  • SAMama2

    Is eating your recommended amount of protein for non-workout days too?? I only workout about 3 days a week intensely. Should i eat the same amount of protein every day? Which would be about 100 grams of protein for my size based on your .6-.8 grams/pound calculation.

    • You could reduce to 0.8 grams per pound on your off days but honestly around 1 g/lb is the best rule of thumb.

  • Christopher Molinet

    Hey Mike, looking for some practical advice on hitting these recommended protein marks. I’m 6’3″ 210# +/- 18%bf and cutting to your recommended 10% range before bulking. At 1.2g per lb I’d have to hit 250g a day which is not only a chore but at my calorie goal of 2250 it also seems to take up too much room on the macro pie at 45%. Also what’s your suggested limit on how much protein to get from whey vs. fish, meat etc.

    Thanks as always for the great resources.

    • Yep, it’s a lot of protein, but it’s what I recommend when cutting!

      To help reach that goal, I recommend sticking to lean cuts of meat for meals. For snacks, I recommend Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, jerky, etc. What you can’t get with meals and snacks, supplement with protein powder as necessary.

      You should get the majority of your protein for whole food sources.

      My pleasure! Talk soon.

  • Slim Shady

    Hey Mike i am 5foot8inches and 150 pounds my goal is to build a good physique not that muscular so is 100 grams protein per day enough for me to build normal muscles i train everyday and i only get my proteins from animal sources is it enough quantity of protein for me?
    Thanks as always for the great resources

    • Hmm. Nah, I recommend you eat more protein than that. I wouldn’t worry about getting too muscular. Once you’re happy with the amount of muscle you have, we can lower the training volume and/or your intake.


      My pleasure.

  • Kal-El

    Hey Mike,
    Is taking whey protein pre workout necessary?
    And how much protein is ideal before and after workout?
    I take 30g but apparently taking more than 20g is not useful?

  • Mitch Chapman

    Hi Mike,
    I think your website and advice are fantastic, thanks for creating it! I just have a quick question about how much protein I need. Should I eat 1g of protein per lb of body weight based on my current weight (11 stone) or the weight I’d like to be with the extra muscle I intend to build included (about 12.5 – 13 stone)?
    This equates to about 150g or 180g whichever way you look at it which is quite a difference. Any advice please?

    • Thanks, Mitch. My pleasure!

      You should have 1g of protein per pound of your current body weight.

      Hope that clears it up! Talk soon.

      • Mitch Chapman

        Excellent thanks for replying! I’ve just about got down to my 10% body fat goal using your methods (plus intermittent fasting) and now I’m going to reverse diet and start to bulk up. Can’t wait! Keep up the good work!

        • Welcome!

          Awesome job on getting to 10% BF!

          Good plan on the RD. I look forward to seeing your gains on the bulk!

          Will do. 🙂

          Definitely keep me posted on your progress and write anytime if you have any questions or run into any difficulties. I’m always happy to help.

  • greg

    hey mike, I weigh about 160 lbs how much carbs and protein do I need a day and before I work out to gain more muscle mass ???

  • Riss1020

    Great article! Question: I’m currently breastfeeding and looking to add muscle and lose fat. I started lifting along with some HIIT a few months ago and have noticed some toning but I feel like my protein intake may be too low. It’s definitely something I have to watch because I’m also ovo-vegetarian. Ive looked for nutritional info on nursing moms working to add muscle but have found very little. What would be your recommendation for daily protein intake for a breastfeeding mom lifting 4 days a week? Thank you!

    • Thanks!

      Cool you want to build muscle and lose fat. Check this out:


      Understood on the breastfeeding. I’ve worked with quite a few women that breastfeed and so long as you account for the calories burned (500 to 700 per day) and don’t be too aggressive with your calorie deficit (20% is fine), you’re good!

      Regarding how much protein (and the rest of the macros), let’s just stick to a 40P/40C/20F split.

      I recommend keeping the intake consistent daily.

      Hope this helps! My pleasure. 🙂

  • Stefanie Diane

    Came across this site and love the articles – exactly what I’ve been looking for. Thank you for replying to everyone’s comments!

    I’m a 26 year old woman, 5’6″ and about 114lbs. My BF is about 18% but I still look “skinny fat”. I’ve started strength training and am definitely seeing the difference in body composition – except my problem area of lower belly fat. I’m thin and toned everywhere else. I was eating mostly paleo (40F/30P/20C) and about 1600-1800 calories per day but I’ve started switching up my carb intake. My protein goal is about 80-100 grams. Am I on the right track?

    Thanks for your time!

  • Edward Silva

    Great article Mike! This site is my “go to” whenever I’m unsure about anything that has to do with nutrition. I did have a question though. Is that 1.2 grams of protein per bodyweight or lean body mass?(for cutting)

    • Thanks! It’s 1.2g per pound of body weight if you’re under 25% BF (30% BF for women). If you’re over 25 BF%, it’s 1g per pound of LBM.

      Hope that makes sense! Talk soon.

  • Mark Gillingham

    I’ve bought copies of Bigger Leaner Stronger and Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger and am a big fan of both. I weigh 210 at approximately 13% bodyfat. I’m currently cutting and in a coloric deficit to lower my bodyfat percentage. I’m having a hard time keeping above 210 grams of protein per day. Currently I take two protein shakes a day. A third protein shake would hit my protein target perfectly but I’m concerned that’s too many shakes. In Bigger Leaner Stronger you state that at least 50% of your protein should come from natural sources. Technically, I could take a third shake and still get over 50% of my protein naturally (75 grams from shakes, 135 grams naturally). Any thoughts?

    • Thanks for picking up my books!

      I hear you on the protein. To help, I recommend lean cuts of meat for meals. For snacks, I recommend Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, jerky, etc.

      As long as you’re getting the majority from whole food sources, that’s fine!

      What do you think?

  • Natas_nico

    I don’t know how I ended up reading this article, my initial research was on cardio, but I have to say, I have found a place where I am lacking…this article kinda kick me around a little. I just read 3 or 4 of your articles starting from cardio, calorie intake, losing fat, now on protein, YIKES I have a lot of work to do, not just in the gym but with my diet. My main issue has been with finding meals I can live with. I don’t want to live off 2 shakes and a meal for the rest of my weight loss journey, but I also don’t want to eat poorly in the meals I chose to eat. All of this feels like a science in balancing the eating and the exercise to promote losing fat and gaining muscle. I guess I need to do more homework on this getting in shape.

    • Haha, that’s the internet for you… Glad you found it, though. Hope you enjoyed the other articles as well!

      Fortunately, you don’t have to eat only shakes and one meal a day or a bunch of food you don’t like. You can eat the foods you like. You just need to make sure they fit in your cals/macors. Check this out:


      I recommend setting up a meal plan with foods you like and seeing how it goes.


  • Jeremy Smithes

    Hey Mike,

    Stats: 122 lb male, 21 years old
    Goal: Lean Bulk

    My question regards the type of protein I consume. My current macros are 125p/450c/50f. By the time I get close to my 450 carb goal, I barely have enough protein left to add in “real” protein sources like meat/eggs/whey etc…so basically my 125g of protein is met automatically by a ton of veggies, beans, potatoes, peanut butter etc since my carbs are so high. Is it okay to get most of my protein from these sources?

    • Jeremy Smithes

      Never mind, just read your most recent article. Talk about perfect timing! I eat a ton of beans, potatoes and greek yogurt so I should be good.

  • Mike Sanders

    Sup mike
    im 6″1 170lbs 26 year old male trying to gain muscle mass but stay cut at the same time(aiming for 205) any ideas cause its been hard for me to gain mass n is it pissible with 3 big meals a day?

    • Hey hey! Cool on what you’re trying to do. Yes, it is definitely possible to do with 3 meals a day. You just need to hit your target cals/macros. You can calculate them here:


      However, when focusing on building muscle and properly bulking, some fat gain is part of the process. If your main concern is staying lean, and you’re okay with slow gains, your best bet is calorie cycling. Check this out:


      Hope this helps. LMK what you think.

  • Preston Carbonaro

    Hi Michael.

    Details: Male, 20 years old, 56 kg, 5’7″ in height

    Goal: Lean Bulk

    I am a soccer referee with a fairly busy schedule throughout the week. I usually have 5 matches per week, therefore I find it very hard to gain muscle mass. My usual workouts are cardio-related to keep my fitness levels up, however, whenever I am not as busy, I do a 20-minute resistance-band workout at home. But somehow I don’t feel that that is enough.

    My main aim is to beef up, as I am quite skinny. So my question to you is this: What are the best food options and workouts/exercises for me to bulk up?

    Many thanks.

  • Terrell Calloway

    Hi Michael,

    26 Yesrs old. 165lbs 10-11.5% BF 5’7 HT

    I’ve been trying really hard to get to 7% BF again. I’ve been tinkering with my calories – 1800, but not been perfect. I am thinking it’s not enough protein. I am trying to IF. But it’s not really working as I can’t really track what I eat since its at an all you can eat lunch buffet at work. Any advice?

    Also – I am realizing that I should be at 1650 for calorie deficit. Instead of 1800….1773 is my BMR. (What do you think of 50% p 30 % c 20% f) split?

  • Georgia

    Hi Mike

    I am 119lbs and in the process of reverse dieting into a bulk. I am trying to put together some meal plans for when I am bulking and I am struggling to stay under 119g protein per day. Because I need to eat 298g carbs per day, the protein in the carb dense foods seems to make up most of my daily protein intake and I have room for little meat and fish in my diet. My well trained friends seem to think I should still be eating 1.2g protein per lb anyway. What are your opinions on this?

    Thanks very much

  • Alan

    hello Mike!
    need help with something here my weight is 130 pounds approx.. need to gain some muscle and weight so i do go to gym everyday taking protein supplements as well.. so need some help with protein diets how much should i take on everyday basis .. any specific suggestion for gaining muscle and weighht together with some dietery supplements .. i can work in gym but help me with some products whether they can get this process faster.. whats you opinion on this??

    • Hey Alan,

      If you’re looking to bulk: 1g/lb body weight. You can use protein supplements to help you reach 130g if you need it.

  • Girish Chauhan

    I’m 21 years, 180 cms and 128 pounds.
    I need to gain muscle and weight. Its been a month joining gym and doing 6 days workout a week. I don’t want to use any supplements/products.I can only manage to eat 3 times a day or sometimes 4, Can you recommend how should I divide my protein intake and what my food comprise of?

    • Hey Girish,

      Take a look at this:

      Here’s some good protein sources:
      * Lean meat (chicken, lean beef, fish, and so forth)
      * Low-fat dairy
      * Eggs and egg whites
      * Whole grains like wheat, brown rice, oats, and barley
      * Vegetables like green beans, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower
      * Legumes like green peas and beans
      * Tubers like white potato, which is incredibly satiating, and sweet potato

  • Hassan shk

    Hi mike
    I am 16 year old and i have started weight training about an year ago…it will stunt my height growth?? I am 5’9”.

    And my 2nd question is this that being a caloric deficit stunts my growth??

    And i am eating 120g grams of protein per day and i have a 149lb body…it is enough protein to maintain and build my muscle??

    • Hey Hassan,

      Take a look at this for teenagers lifting:

      It will not stunt your growth by lifting weights. A caloric deficit is generally not a good idea when you’re still developing. I recommend increasing your activity instead. Get at least 150g protein!

  • John

    Hi Mike,
    I’m 27 years, 220 lbs (32% body fat) and 175 cm. I’m currently on a diet and I’m working out 5 days a week i really need to drop at least 10% BF I’m lifting heavy and doing cardio. As for my diet do you recommend 1gm of protein per pound of total body weight or just per the lean mass? And is 1gm enough for what i wanna do or do i need more protein intake? My current protein intake is 170gm a day I’m doing (40 40 20) so what do you think?

    • John, I recommend that you increase your protein to 220g. Keep your fat as 20% of total calories, and put the rest into carbs.

  • Shubham Dadhwal

    hi mike
    I,m 19, 141 lbs and 174 cm. I’m doing Workout for half an hour 5 days a week, how much protein i need to take everyday, and is there any single chance for me to increase my height? Thanks.

    • 170g protein is sufficient. You’re pretty much done growing at 19, Shubham.

      • Shubham Dadhwal

        Thanks Roger

        • Shubham Dadhwal

          Roger, as I’m a student, so what kind of food i should eat to get protein, which should be under my budget. and i don’t eat beef. Pls help. Thanks.

  • Bruce Sasser

    Mike, hope do not think crazy!! I am 75,had 3 back surgeries, but I have lost 50 pounds in last year. I work out hard for 45 minutes Mon.-Fri. After workout then 3 days I take an hour class of intense Pilates. I am addicted to this program! Is it too late to build muscle mass?? I am beginning to build some,but want more. Started taking 30 gr. Protein daily. Do I need to up it. 230 pounds 5′ 8″

    • Not at all! That’s great you’ve made such great progress. Keep up the great work! Not too late. If you’re over 25% body fat, the guideline is 1g protein per lbs body weight. Otherwise, 1.2g/lbs.

  • Jasbir Singh Bajwa

    I am 23,154lbs,5’7″.
    I take nearly 190 gm of protien
    Source of protien egg, whey protien, nd chicken chest.
    Is it good

  • Tim

    I weigh 160 and I am a powerlifter how many grams of protein should I take?

  • Winic

    Hello Mike,

    Thank you for this article! I am 23, 5’3″ (160cm), and I weight around 93 pounds. I have a very small frame and a fast metabolism, and I have always been thin (I’ve had the same weight for about 5 years now). To add to this I am a dancer so I engage in cardio activities every week, and now, although I know I have gained some weight in muscles, I’m losing it on the little fat I had. I eat a lot, but I am not consistent with breakfast, and also I know my diet is not high in protein.

    I have a goal to gain some weight, because I want to be stronger and to be and look healthier. So from this article I get that by eating 95g of protein daily I can build more muscle. I’ve also read that I should increase my calorie intake between 300-600 more a day. So I am trying to figure out how I can gain the weight I want (and strenght too), without having my dance rehearsals and all their cardio power taking those gained pounds away.

    Any advice? (Also I would really like to gain some fat back)

    Thank you!

  • Hello Mike, I have some doubt when it comes to the whey protein supplement, some clans of athletes believe natural protein or egg protein are the best best source when compared to the whey. Because they are completely natural for body intake and it get digest with a proper Technic. While whey is easily and fast digestible and that’s why kidney has to work more efficiently than it usually do. So whey can create other health problem pertaining to kidney. Well, I don’t know the reality, but I am very confused to opt the best one – whey vs egg protien or the combination of both. Please guide me – how shoul I proceed for the supplement.

    • Hey man! There’s nothing wrong with whey, and it’s not bad for your kidneys. Whey is totally natural too.

      Use whey for post-workout recovery or snacks. For egg, you can use it as snacks or right before bed.

  • Rakesh Pandya


  • Rebecca Lancaster

    Hi Mike, I’m a 23 year old female, 80kg and 175cm. I’m quite an athletic build but still have a bit of abdominal fat that I want to lose. I want to lose that fat and build more muscle. I currently do weight training and some cardio. How much protein do you suggest I should consume? Thanks in advance.

  • Tawar Rashid

    hello mike 🙂

    So I am pretty active ,i try to hit the gym 3 times a week and ive taken up kickboxing classes.I am vegetarian and ive only started being active for the past 2-3 years and it has not been consistent. I am not overweight, however i have a very tough time building muscles. even when i work out alot I dont seem to gain any muscles. I am 164 cm and i weigh 59-60 KGs. I am going crazy , i have read all articles but i just dont seem to be able to gain any muscles 🙁 help meeee

  • sidddhesh

    Hello mike sir … I am 25 year old male.. My body weight 60kg and hight 5″ 5 …body fat 25% so how much protien intake you will suggest plase help… And i m working out in gym from past 3 years

    • I recommend that you start cutting, and with 132g protein.

  • Aikas

    Hey Mike 🙂
    I feel like 2.2gr per kg for a non-competitive gym goer is just a little too much when Bulking & Maintaing and I’ve also heard some people in the fitness industry say it. I honestly don’t believe that my body utilizes it all as I’m ecto-mesomorph. For someone who trains 5 days a week, would you recommend me to cut on some protein and get a little more carbs? How much grams lower than 2.2gr a day would be fine?

    Best wishes,

    • Aikas, it’s not about what you feel. It’s about science and the data that proves the guidelines set in this article.

  • Hey Mike – in your book your recommend 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day when Cutting. Is that my actual body weight or LBM? I am:

    Total Weight: 167.55lbs
    BF%: 16
    LBM: 140.72lbs

    So should my daily protein intake be 1.2 * 167.55 = 201g OR 1.2 * 140.72 = 169g?

  • Jon96

    So I should count protein from vegetables as well?

  • Tammy

    I am fat. 160 lbs, 5’3″, 48 years old, female. – about 42 BF%; This BF% is somewhat new – in my 30’s I was 127 lbs and about 24 BF%; MY CONFUSION: Should I eat protein based on the weight I should be or my obese weight? Very motivated – doing HIIT 3 days per week and pure lifting 2 days per week. My fat% is so discouraging, yes, I want to lose weight, but I want to lower my BF% more. Can you help with my protein intake question?

  • Aidan Vosooghi

    Hi Mike! Thanks for all your awesome work!

    I know you recommend keeping protein intake at 1g/lb when bulking, but at only 127lbs, I’m finding it tough to spread my servings evenly across the day without going over. My main concern is with optimal protein timing (including before bed), so my question is:

    Keeping calories the same, is it better for muscle growth to have a larger daily protein intake (~1.2g/lb) if it means having a serving every 2-3 hours? Or is it better to just keep it at 1g/lb with the extra cals going to carbs?

    • Welcome! Glad you’re enjoying it. 🙂

      I hear you. If you’re maintaining or bulking, there just isn’t a need for more protein and the extra cals should go to carbs.

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • The_Great_Putzini

    That was… Awesome. Thanks man for that totally comprehensive answer. Exactly what I was looking for, totally hit the spot. Thanks!

  • JZ

    @Mike Matthews:disqus hi Mike I got your BLS and TLS. I love how you back all your statements with studies and proofs not the usual broscience that I used to read. However, correct me if I’m wrong, I couldn’t seem to find the answer to these questions.

    1. Is it healthy to have prolonged high protein diet for our bodies especially for the kidneys for a long period of time or even possibly for an entire lifetime? If so, are there studies that back this up?
    2. Do you think having “diet breaks” from a high protein diet would be ideal? Just as like deloading in your workout plan?

    I also sent a question via Twitter but I don’t think 140 characters is enough. Thank you very much for your awesome work.

  • Aikas

    Hey Mike,
    Due to diet preferences, recently I have been having 2.4gr of protein per kg of body weight with 28gr pre-workout and 31gr post-workout and the majority in my big dinner. Is there something wrong with having extra protein when not on a Cut? I do know that It is better to have more carbs…

    Sending my regards,

  • Vineet Tyagi

    Hi Mike,

    Brilliant article. Very very informative. I am a vegetarian and my weight is 74 Kg. As part of my daily in take of proteins, I take 35g of proteins from protein powder and rest from vegetables, eggs and lentils. Could you please suggest that what else should I add in my food list in order to eat the required amount of protein to build muscles? Would be great if you suggest the best items to include in my food.

    Thanks and Regards

  • Madison

    Hi Mike,

    I’m 5’7″, 60 kg (132 pounds), 18% BF, 25yo female. I’m about to start bulking. I’d rather keep low on carbs and higher on protein. Is 160g per day OK?

  • Bibhishan hembram

    HI…. i m a biggener… and i want to take supplement for build muscle …. but i m little confused…. suppose i m of 52 kg and i have gained muscle….. like i m now 62 kg….. should i have to take more protien..to balance body weight ..??
    Bibhishan hembram

  • Hossein Yaghoobi

    what about milk protein?
    can i use it as post workout ?

    • Milk protein is great, but due to the faster digesting nature of whey protein, that makes it a better choice post-workout.

  • Nitish S

    I’m a 26 year old man, 6’0 in height, 165 lbs, pretty active ( I go to the gym 5x a week, 45mins-1hr workout sessions), however I’m having a hard time gaining weight. I’ve been trying for 2 months now but I haven’t seen much change in both muscle mass and weight gain. I eat 6 times a day (3 big meals, 3 snacks in between). I’m constantly eating but I still haven’t seen any big difference. I’m frustrated at this point because I’m constantly full and nothing seems to be working. I take supplements as well (whey protein, keratin & bcaa). What am I doing wrong?

  • Mia Gamboa

    Hi Mike, I have a question: so if a person is trying to lose weight in the form of fat and build muscle, to find the optimal amount of protein one should be eating per day, then do you multiply 1.2-1.5 g of protein x your current body weight or by your ideal body weight? I have heard different opinions.

    • Hey Mia, it would be your current body weight. But, it does depend on your BF%. Take a look at this:


      Hope that helps!

      • Mia Gamboa

        Thank you, Mike. That link wasn’t very helpful. I have been trying to stick to your recommendations but I find it difficult to eat that much protein in one day even with supplements; sometimes I just don’t feel that hungry. It seems counterintuitive to continue eating even if I’m not hungry, but at the same time, I don’t want to lose muscle mass. Anyway I have ordered your book Thinner Leaner Stronger so hopefully it will answer some of these questions.

  • juxtaposed Owl

    hey mike , first of all great article. I am 21 year old and i weigh about 64 in kilograms . I dont eat meat neither do I consume any kind of protein supplements . So how much protein do you suggest to intake to build muscle .
    Cheers from India !!

    • Hi! Your protein targets do not change. This might help:


      • jay

        Mat can I ask a question. If I’m working out fasted and I’m in a calorie deficit. How much protein do I need to take it to not lose muscle and can I still build? How can I get cut? I’ve seen all these success stories. Would you help me out

        • Hey Jay, that depends. 1.2g/lbs body weight if you’re under 25% BF, and 1g/lbs if over 25%.

          • Long Julius

            Respectfully, that’s too much protein. 0.68-0.82g/lbs is more than enough. The protein synthesis doesn’t vary if you take more.

          • Hey Long, 0.8/lb can certainly work for many, but for the reasons I outlined above, I generally recommend higher intakes.

          • Fed up with laws

            Julius, trust me, 1.2 grams per pound of body weight is the actual optimal amount to build the most muscle while hitting the weights heavy. I am 47 years old and I been working out off and on since I was 15, and 1.2 is pretty much optimal, anything more is really not needed, and anything less you won’t get maximum gains in lean muscle mass.

            .67 with all due respect, just doesn’t cut it, and .80 per pound is just a maintenance intake, you will get very little gains with that number. Try for at least 1 gram per pound, but trust me 1.2 is where it’s at.

            I worked out heavy in power lifting for 6 months one time and took in 5 small meals every 3 hours at 1.2 grams per pound divided over 5 meals, gained 5 pounds every week on every lift, every week. Some weeks I would miss the 5 pounds just barely on my max day, but the next week I would go ahead and add 5 more and would hit it every time.

            Your mileage may vary, but stop listening to the Vegans spitting out low numbers to justify not eating meat, it’s 1.2 grams per pound if you want it done right.

            Btw, I went to the Nationals after that 6 months and placed second in Sub Masters, take that for what’s it’s worth. I remember the first week on my dead lift I naturally pulled 335, and by the time the 6 months was up I was working out with 425 for sets. 5×5 sets at 425 versus 6 months earlier 1x 325 at max 1 rep weight.

            I could of got 1st place the next year btw, but I shattered my wrist in 3 clean breaks in an accident at work. Lower arm and hand hurt for about 2 years every day. I was lifting raw btw against fully equipped lifters.

          • Thanks for sharing!

  • Alex Nelson

    Hi Mike, what would you suggest for protein for some who is 6’7″ @ 225lbs. Looking to get down to about 215lbs. The kicker is I only have 1 kidney and was advised to ‘limit’ protein so as not put unneeded stress on my kidney.

    Thanks in advance…Just trying to find a balance.

    • Hey Alex! Hmm. That’s something I really haven’t done much research on. You should check with your doc.

      • Charisma Coombs

        Hi do u think it’s possible to do bodybuilding without the use of protein powders and other supplements? By simply meeting protein carbs and fat intake with 4-5 meals daily?

  • Great Source. I really like your vise advice regarding over eating of pretein about 400gms. Thanks a lot.

  • Cesar

    Hi Mike ! Great article I’m 30 and have 80 kilos, how much protein should I take but at the same time try to loose that darn belly fat ??? Thank you in advance ! ( I’ve been running and weight lifting for the past 4 months )

  • Niko

    What a coincidence. i did a search the other day about bodybuilders who look great even though they have a larger space between their pecs and your name popped up first. Now I do a search for protein, read the article and low and behold you’re the author. Anyway, you are my body building role model because I too have the wider gap between my pecs (almost identical muscle attachment/pattern as your pecs – mine might be just a touch closer) and became discouraged until i realized that one, its not a that bad (it could be worse) and two, if I build the muscle it can indeed look amazing, as yours do. I wear it as a badge of honor now because people with wider gaps between pecs have to work all the more harder to achieve good inner chest aesthetics.Thanks for the great article – I appreciate balanced, scientific evidence based info.

    • Hey Niko, glad you liked the article. It sounds like you have the right attitude. Little differences like that really don’t matter, and to be honest, we’re usually the only people who notice them. 😉

      And, as you said, building muscle in general will still give you a great looking chest.

      Keep up the great work and keep in touch!

      • Niko

        Thanks Mike for the great encouragement!

  • it0s me

    and you didn’t even mention BCAA’s? whey is good yeah but careful with propaganda machines, the best is OAT, MEAT;FISH;EGGS and buy only BCAA 4:1:1: to stimulate the body protein absorption, 5 grams BCAA for each 20 grm protein intake, whey protein is digested to quick always take them whit other good proteins to balance intakes…and specially have a good dinner before sleeping…when the body will start pump proteins to repair muscles with the advantage the body is in low need of proteins because is sleeping and you eat lots of proteins…means your body will have condition for muscle growth because the protein available is more then the needed…so the muscle will growth to is maximum capability possible depending ofc the training you did and how you did….slow training = more muscles….cross training = less fat, and low muscles too

  • Shane

    Find it really hard to hit protein at times. How much would you get hung up about being 10-15 grams under some days? I really struggle to get my calories right as I need the diet to be a little flexible or I simply won’t stick to it!

    • Hey Shane, honestly, being 10-15g shy isn’t a huge deal every now and then. You could probably find 10g of carbs to swap out though somewhere in your meal plan, no?

  • Eric Barnes

    Thanks for the solid article.

    Its really refreshing to read a health article that:
    Tries to keep bias free
    Acknowledges when there is bias (your personal experience).
    Acknowledges when the evidence isn’t conclusive.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it, Eric. Thank you for the support!

  • Krystal


    I enjoyed your article. I am 120lbs, 5’1 woman. I want to gain muscles and lean out my body. I just bought a muscle milk protein powder Muscle Milk ( would you say this is a good protein shake?) along with meat,eggs, brown rices, Greek yogurt, and beans. I am learning about proteins and didn’t realize how essential it is to gain muscle. My questions are is Muscle Milk a good protein shake to drink? And how do I convert the amount of protein intake I need. I seen in the article you mentioned 1.2g per pound. I don’t know if I am converting it correctly and wanted to know if you could please tell me what it is.

  • Great article, thanks!

  • tony thomas

    Hi Mike,
    Great article.
    Please help me with few questions of mine.

    I do moderate lifting 4 days per week. Taking .8-1gm protien/ lb.

    -I take 3 scoops of whey per day. Is that recommended?
    -Taking whey with water/yogurt with breakfast is effective or it should be taken with milk for slow digestion?
    I don’t digest milk well.
    -When I travel ( 2 weeks) i don’t workout, but I keep my whey intake ( 2 scoop) . Is it good or do i have to opt for other protein source?

    -My blood creatinine level is 1.2 – 1.3 md/dl. Is it adviceable to start with creatine supplements.

    Thanks ,

    • Hey Tony, there’s nothing wrong with taking 3 scoops of whey, and it’s fine to mix it with water. I do recommend getting the majority of your protein from whole foods if possible.

      Supplementing with whey while traveling is perfectly fine, too 🙂

      As long as your kidneys are healthy, there’s no reason not to take creatine. Check this out: https://legionathletics.com/creatine-monohydrate/

      • tony thomas

        Thanks Mike
        Appreciate your prompt reply.
        All the best

  • Adam


    What is the exact amount of protein you should have for your post-workout meal? For ages I thought it was capped at 30g, but after learning about how your body can absorb much more than that, how much can be utilized in one sitting? Is it better to shoot for 40g of protein after a workout?

    I am clear on the total amount of protein you should take in per day, and you explained that well, but do you think you should emphasis your protein intake in your post-workout meal? Shoot for 30g of protein at meals and then for the post-workout do 40-50g?

    Thanks – Adam

  • Sri

    Hi Mike, do whey protein shakes affect the kidneys and cause kidney stones? Or do they result in excess calcium loss?

    I’ve noticed that my urine isn’t as clear in the morning after a scoop of whey the night before (there’s a very small amount of something thready in it).

    Now I take at the most 40-50 g of whey protein per day. The rest I try to get from natural food. I drink a lot of water so that my urine is always clear. For my height and lean muscle mass about 100g of protein is quite enough.

    I notice that the soreness that used to persist for days now vanishes overnight.

    Do you know people who’ve taken whey for several decades with no side effects?

    • Hey Sri, as long as you have healthy kidneys, a high-protein diet is perfectly healthy and won’t cause kidney damage. It also helps prevent osteoporosis. You’re eating a very reasonable amount of protein, and drinking plenty of fluids, so I wouldn’t be too concerned about kidney stones. Check this out: https://www.muscleforlife.com/high-protein-diet/

  • Sri

    Hi Mike, does eating whey protein cause hair loss in men? Or does it help with hair growth? I’m 28 and my hair’s been thinning slowly since 20.

    When I was gymming out I used to take 2 scoops of whey every day and felt that my hair loss did come down a bit. Now I want to restart it again and see.

    • Whey does not cause hair loss, and it won’t speed up growth. That said, getting adequate protein in your diet in general is important for normal hair growth.

  • Jerome

    Hi Mike, I am curious what do you think about insect based protein. They are loaded with amino acid, iron, b12, calcium etc. A protein is a protein but insect do a great job at digested their food so eating them make it easier for us.

    • Hey Jerome, I haven’t really looked into insect-based protein, but if it works for you, go for it 🙂

  • Luke

    Hey research shows that 0.82g of protien is what’s needed to maintain positive nitrogen balance, do you think going higher that this is necessary, should you also count all trace proteins from potatoes cereal etc towards your intake

  • Jesper Gadegaard Thomsen

    Hey Mike

    Have you read this blog by Menno regarding protein while cutting?

    “Walberg et al. (1988) studied cutting weightlifters and they still found 0.73g/lb was sufficient to maintain lean body mass.”

    “There is normally no advantage to consuming more than 0.82g/lb (1.8g/kg) of protein per day to preserve or build muscle for natural trainees. This already includes a mark-up, since most research finds no more benefits after 0.64 g/lb.”

    “Optimal protein intake decreases with training age, because your body becomes more efficient at preventing protein breakdown resulting from training and less protein is needed for the increasingly smaller amount of muscle that is built after each training session.”



    • Hey Jesper! Yeah, I have read that actually. Here’s my take on it:


      Menno is right that in general, you don’t need more than that for maintaining muscle, but there are other benefits to a high protein intake.

      Many studies show a higher intake is also better for satiety in general, which is helpful when maintaining a caloric deficit. I like to play it safe and recommend 1 – 1.2 grams per lb while cutting.

      Ultimately, as long as you’re getting somewhere around there, you’re all set.

  • Anon

    Mike. You say that increased amount of protein is needed for an energy starved athlete that is cutting. However how about if you just want to gain muscle and aren’t cutting?

    Do you think sticking to normal protein amount (1g/lbs) and consuming relativel large amount of carb & fat (from good sources) is good? Or should an athlete always just eat more protein? Or is that just bad for health?

    Do you basically think that to gain muscle, maintaing a high calorie diet is basically more important than protein? And im talking of course high calorie from good sources.

    • If you’re looking to gain muscle, and you’re in a calorie surplus, 0.8g/lb should be adequate. Check this out:


      A higher intake wouldn’t hurt, but if it gets to the point that you’re reducing your carbs and fat significantly just to squeeze in more protein, that could be detrimental. I hope this helps!

      • Anon

        It does help, thank you very much. The reason I am asking is that since the dawn of time, there is this school of thought, very much “word of mouth” belief (not backed by science), that Athletes need to consume massive amount of protein (compared to normal humans) to gain muscle.

        Obviously its not sustainable (eating 3 steaks per day, 20 eggs, etc), but I was just curious.
        Eating tons of protein also does create massive bloating and puts lots of strain on digestive system.

        • Sure, I used to think that way, too. It’s not necessary to consume massive amounts or eat protein every couple hours, though 🙂

  • Marcela Cordoba

    This never gets easy but consistency with your supplements is what gets my gains faster. I used to consume the “treat your body like your car, refuel & replenish” but I don’t think that resonated with most. So, you must want to take them as bad as you want for quicker results. So, I started using Myopharma products.

    I think that, the best way to take advantage of their products is buying the whole stack. For example, their fitness stack contains:
    MyoPro: This is a lean protein that is formulated to be low in calories, carbs, and fat while delivering 26 grams of high-quality protein.

    Highly recommended!

  • Mohammed

    This article has answered ALL of my questions regarding how to start my fitness life.
    thank you so much for the effort and the time to write for us.

    • Thanks for the support Mohammed! I’m glad you found the article so useful 🙂

      Keep me posted on your progress!

  • kathleen turner

    Hi Mike –
    I’m reading simultaneously Thinner Leaner Stronger and the Shredded Chef. I like what I’m reading so far. This article confused me a bit because it recommends a certain number of grams of protein per pound of body weight. Is this total body weight or lean body weight?

    If I’m cutting and trying to eat 1.2g per pound of body weight right now, that’s over 200g of protein a day for me out of 1800 calories total. Should I be calculating protein just off my lean mass?


  • Tatiana

    Hi Mike, my fiancé and I just read your books and we are excited to start this fitness journey.

    I am a vegan. I’m having a problem meeting my protein intake for cutting without going over the calories. I’m 5,8, 135 lbs and 25 % BF. Do you have any tips? Is it better to meet protein or go over in calories.

    Thanks a lot, Tatiana

  • Rohith Reddy

    Hi Mike
    I’m 143 pounds and my protein intake is 180 grams per day. Its enough protein right? Or should I increase the number for higher gains?

    Thanks a lot.

  • Daouda

    Hey Mike, I have a question for you. So I’m 5’11” and I weigh 150 lbs. I just started lifting and I want to gain some serious mass long term. I consume at least 50g of protien on a bad day, I don’t keep track. I don’t know how much I should bump it up to. I also am not that sore after working out. I used to be when I just started two and a half weeks ago. I’m worried it may be that I’m not doing enough sets or it’s just the whey protein isolate doing it’s job. I’m not sure if there’s a correlation between soreness and exercise induced muscle protein signaling. If i’m not very sore does that mean I haven’t been working out enough to optimize exercise induced muscle protein signaling? And if so how would I know what the optimal amount of sets are?

  • Noel

    Hi Mike. I am a little confused about using whey+ to get the amount of protein needed. Your whey+ supplement states it has 22g protein but 25g non-GMO protein isolate per scoop. When I asked support at legion to clarify the difference, they stated “The 22g is the amount of protein your body can actually use and put to use, whereas the 25g is how much protein is in the supplement.” Stating that only 22g is “used” implies that the other 3 grams (or more if using more than one scoop) is “unused” by the body and therefore wasted.

    Can you please clarify the difference between the 22g protein and 25g non-GMO protein isolate and what is meant by “the amount of protein your body can actually use”. What number do we use when calculating our macros?

    • Hey Noel! Whey isolate is about 90% protein by weight. So 25 grams of whey isolate protein equates to about 22 grams of protein. You’d count 22g in your macros for a serving. I hope this helps!

      • Noel

        Yes it does. So (looking at the unflavoured), there is always 25g isolate + 1g maltodextrin (equaling the 26.4g scoop). When adding the flavours then the extra weight/size in the scoop is the flavouring component but each “measurement unit” always has the same base (25g isolate + 1g maltodextrin) giving a consistent 22g protein. Thank you for your quick reply and clarification!

  • Siddharth Kumar

    Hi Mike,
    I guess there’s a mistake in the post where it converts protein per gram from pound to kg. It supposed to be half of the pound and not twice. Please have a look at it as I got bit confused in the beginning but then realised it might be a mistake. I hope you take that soon.
    Thank You

    • Hey Siddharth! There’s no mistake. There are 2.2lbs in a kg, so protein per pound is a little less than half compared to protein per kg. In other words, 1 gram per lb is the same as 2.2 grams per kg. I hope this helps!


    Hey mike,
    I’m trying to build muscle on my traps triceps and shoulders and all I have is a 110 lb barbell and 2 25 lb barbells I need help! How do I build overall mass on those muscles? Thanks man!

  • Jason Gregory

    Jason here how much protein do I need fi I Ben lifting and I was 270 and now I’m 327 and I’m trying to lose more weight on my stomach and it is hard do you have any suggestions on on that and I tried different abb workouts. Do sat ups work they was hard at first but they are ez now what do you think

  • roosje an

    Hello Mike,
    Based on this calculation I need to eat about 130-140 gr of protein a day while being in a calorie deficit. I also follow IF (skipping breakfast) and I struggle so much to eat all the protein…I eat chicken at lunch and dinner (few days change for fish) and I eat a few high protein snacks in between like yogurt or protein bars and I just feel so full and STILL haven’t reached my goal. Do you have any tips about this? At this moment I can totally skip dinner, but I’ve eaten only 750 calories from my 1450 daily goal.

    • Hey there! Honestly, IF isn’t for everyone, so if you’re feeling full and having trouble eating enough food and protein in your feeding window, then I’d forget the IF and try eating a high-protein breakfast. Try that and let me know how it goes!

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