Protein Intake – The Number One Aspect Of Muscle Building Nutrition


You Are What You Eat…

And protein is the most important key nutrient that is required for success in athletic sports. It is the primary nutrient that’s needed by the body for recovery and muscle growth. Besides water, protein is the most abundant molecule in the body.

Protein is the major structural component found in all of the cells in the body, especially the muscle cells.

When protein is broken down into amino acids it is then utilized as precursors to hormones, co-enzymes, and nucleic acids that are responsible for immune response and cellular repair that is essential for life.

In bodybuilding, adequate protein consumption plays a major role. The amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein, are used for building new muscle tissue as well as repairing damaged muscle tissue that’s caused from intense training.


How Much Protein Should I Consume Per Day?

The old mantra for bodybuilding is to consume 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. Now while this is certainly a good place to start for beginners. Most advanced bodybuilders will need to increase that to 1.5 and even as much as 2 grams per pound of bodyweight per day.

If you’ve been consuming an average of 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day and you feel that you are stuck in a rut your muscle gains at a stand still plateau. Then try increasing your protein intake to upwards of 2 grams per bodyweight per day for the next 6 weeks and monitor your results. This maybe just the thing you need to do to get your body growing again.

But there is more involved with proper protein consumption then simply getting enough based on your bodyweight. You need to consume protein throughout the day so that you provide your body with a steady supply of amino acids in your bloodstream at all times.


Fast, Medium, and Slow Digesting Protein…

In addition to that you need to consume different sources of protein. There are fast, medium, and slow digesting proteins.

Typically Whey Protein Supplements are the fastest digesting form of protein. This will get quickly absorbed and utilized by your body.

Protein Powder - Fast Digesting Protein


Then lean protein foods such as white fish, chicken breast, turkey breast, egg whites, etc. these are medium digesting protein foods. They won’t be digested as fast as whey protein supplements, but they’ll be digested faster then protein foods that contain higher fat content. Grilled Chicken - medium digesting protein


Foods such as red meat, dark meat poultry, whole eggs, fatty fish such as salmon, etc. these are slower digesting proteins because the higher fat content of the food slows digestion.

Other sources of slow digesting protein include; casein protein supplements, and dairy products such as cottage cheese which has high amounts of casein. Casein actually clumps in your stomach and provides a slower more continuous release of protein over a longer period of time.

Red Meat - Slow Digesting Protein


Planing Your Daily Protein Intake…

For breakfast you should consume a combination of fast and slow digesting protein. I recommend starting your day with a protein shake. This is the fastest and easiest way to get a high does of quality protein in your system and help “Break – The – Fast” from sleeping all night. Then you can have some slower digesting proteins such as eggs or cottage cheese along with your shake to provide some slower digesting proteins as well.

Throughout the day you can consume a combination of medium and slower digesting protein foods. Things like chicken, meat, fish, etc. This will help provide a steady release of protein to your bloodstream.

Pre and Post workout you should focus on faster digesting proteins to provide a quick source of amino acids to your working muscles.

A meal containing chicken or white fish about an hour before you hit the gym will be ideal.

During your workouts you can even consume Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s). This is the absolute fastest absorbable form of protein because it’s already broken down into it’s most basic useable form. When you consume BCAA’s they literally go very quickly to your working muscles because there is hardly any digestion process involved.


Branched Chain Amino Acids

Post workout you should consume a fast digesting source of protein such as a whey protein shake. You can consume this along with some fast digesting carbohydrates such as dextrose or a sports drink like Gatorade. This way you’ll not only quickly replenish your protein, but you’ll also replenish your glycogen stores as well.

About an hour after your post workout shake you can consume another meal with primarily faster digesting foods like chicken breast, egg whites, or white fish.

And then for your meals there afterwards you should focus on slower digesting proteins like red meat, whole eggs, cottage cheese, etc.


Extra Protein Tips…

You can change the digestion rate of protein by combining that protein with fat and fiber. For example, if you are looking for a quick protein meal on the run, you can have a protein shake along with a handful of almonds or walnuts. This would provide some healthy fats and fiber which would in turn help slow down the digestion rate of the protein.

I actually posted up a video on YouTube showing how to use this tip for a quick and simple breakfast idea, you can check it out below:



If you can’t watch the embedded video clip above,
you can watch it directly on YouTube by Clicking Here
.

Another tip you can use for fast protein meals on the run is using a protein powder blend. One of my personal favorites is Iso-Smooth from Blue Star.

This particular protein powder contains a high quality blend of whey, egg, milk, and casein proteins. This provides fast, medium, and slow digesting proteins for a steady release of protein to the bloodstream. So if you don’t have time to sit down to the table for a formal meal, you can just mix up some Iso-Smooth in a shaker bottle and you’re good to go.


Conclusion…

If you are really serious about taking your fitness and muscular development to the next level, I highly recommend that you incorporate these protein meal tips into your own eating plan. Within about 6 weeks of following these suggestions on a regular basis you should be feeling stronger in the gym, and you should also be looking bigger and fuller as well.

And if you would like for me to help you personally with your muscle building training and nutrition program. You should join up as a member to the Total Fitness Bodybuilding “Inner Circle” Coaching Club!

Regardless if you are a skinny bag of bones who needs to beef up and pack on some muscular mass. Or if you’re more like the Pillsbury Doughboy who needs to sculpt that muffin top into a set of rock solid abs.

I can help set you up on a personalized bodybuilding program that’s right for you, your body type, your fitness experience, and your budget…

All you have to do is sign up to the Total Fitness Bodybuilding “Inner Circle” Coaching Club at: www.TotalFitnessBodybuilding.com



Total Fitness Bodybuilding Inner Circle Coaching Club

Click Here For More Information…

About The Author

leehayward

Lee Hayward is a competitive bodybuilder and muscle building coach who has been online helping people build muscle, lose bodyfat, and get in shape since 1999. Lee was selected as one of the Top Fitness Trainers Online through YouTube's Next Trainer Program and his work has been featured in several international magazines such as: FLEX, Muscle Insider, Muscle Mag International, Testosterone, Ironmag, and Forbes.

40 Comments

  • ken

    Reply Reply

    hey lee,
    i usually eat mostly fruit in the morning, is this ok?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • please tell me that SKIMMED MILK is a fast digesting protien form or medium digesting protien rather amedium digesting protien form. plz………… tell me

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Dan Wickramasinghe

    Reply Reply

    Awesome vid Lee,

    I guess this breakfast is more suitable in a cutting phase right?

    Thanks for posting.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • ron s.

    Reply Reply

    Hey Lee,
    How many scoops of protien per serving does that add up too & how many times as an average are we looking at in a day!
    Additionally, in reading the above info. you mention the many different protien foods to eat thru out the day. Again whats the deal with egg whites vs. just eating the whole egg for your protien
    sort. I keep reading articles everyday about how you should eat the whole egg (yoke) as well..
    Than I see some of your recommended diets and you mention egg whites only for your protien
    sort… Please explain ?

    New Member!
    6/02/12

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Byron daniels

    Reply Reply

    ken,

    No. Eat some real food!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • RagingBull

    Reply Reply

    ron s.,

    Many people eat egg whites instead of the whole egg especially during a cutting phase (fat and calorie reduced) The egg yolk contains quite a bit of fat and some people wish to avoid this. Also for years it was being wrongly reported that both dietary saturated fat and cholesterol were bad for you (this has been mostly debunked since then).

    I personally prefer only to eat whole eggs, not only from a taste perspective (they taste way better than egg whites alone) but also from a nutrition perspective. The yolk is chocked full of nutrients that the white is void of.

    You have to be aware however that the yolk does add calories and adjust your overall diet for this but I have never had a problem with yolks even during a diet. My favorite breakfast when I diet is a spinach omlet with whole eggs and pico de gallo salsa. It is not ultra low in calories but it keeps you going all morning, has lots of nutrition and is low carb. (oh yeah and its delicious)

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • ken:
    hey lee,
    i usually eat mostly fruit in the morning, is this ok?

    ==============================

    You need to consume protein with every meal / snack during the day.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • ANKIT:
    please tell me that SKIMMED MILK is a fast digesting protien form or medium digesting protien rather amedium digesting protien form. plz………… tell me

    ============================

    Milk is mostly casein protein so it is a slower digesting protein. But the thing with milk is that it is mostly sugar (i.e. lactose) for every cup of milk you’re getting 8 grams of protein and 13 grams of sugar.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Dan Wickramasinghe:
    Awesome vid Lee,

    I guess this breakfast is more suitable in a cutting phase right?

    Thanks for posting.

    =======================

    Yes, this is an ideal meal to have when cutting and keeping carbs low. If you are in a mass building phase you could have the same, just add a serving of carbs along with it.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • ron s.:
    Hey Lee,
    How many scoops of protien per serving does that add up too & how many times as an average are we looking at in a day!
    Additionally, in reading the above info. you mention the many different protien foods to eat thru out the day.Again whats the deal with egg whites vs. just eating the whole egg for your protien
    sort.I keep reading articles everyday about how you should eat the whole egg (yoke) as well..
    Than I see some of your recommended diets and you mention egg whites only for your protien
    sort… Please explain ?

    New Member!
    6/02/12

    ===============================

    Each scoop of protein powder contains between 20 and 30 grams per scoop (will vary depending on the brand and the size of the scoop). How much you consume will depend on your individual protein needs.

    To find out how much protein to have with each meal, just take your total protein intake for the day and divide that over 5-6 meals per day.

    With whole eggs and egg whites. The way I have it outlined here is whole eggs are slower digesting because they contain fat. Whereas egg whites are faster digesting because they are fat free.

    So when you need faster digesting protein (i.e. pre and post workout) just have egg whites. For other times you can eat whole eggs.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • plz tell me that is oatmeal and brown bread is slow digesting protein form or a medium digesting protein ,because i usually workout at the morning and use to take brown bread ,egg white & oatmeal after the workout. so plz tell me that oatmeal and brown bread are fast digesting or slow digesting form of protein

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • what should i take after the workout apart from WHEY PROTIEN

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Alex

    Reply Reply

    I know that we should consume a higher amount of protein than folks that dont workout, but more and more studies are coming out proving that you dont need more than 1 gram per pound of bodyweight to gain muscle, 1,5gr would be the higher recomended dose if you are cutting and highly reduce carbs.. unless you are chemically enhanced you wont be able to synthesize so much protein.. and that is where i think the myth comes from, because chemically enhanced pros use 2gr or 3 gr per pound most people think naturals should do the same and it has its downfall.. if we dont train like the roid crowd, we shouldnt eat like them too.
    0.5gr to maintain muscle mass and 1gr to build it is enough, unless you want to have bloating, bad digestion, an highly acidic body and bad bones..
    Very good advice on the bccaa’s during workout, best suplement there is, amazing recovery and even better stamina, but i see some people using very small doses, i like to use anywhere between 10 and 20 gr, depending on how hard is the workout, the results are amazing.
    The more time im into this the less shakes i have and the more whole food i tend to consume, i just use whey post workout, all the rest of my protein comes from whole food sources.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Jason

    Reply Reply

    I have been eating clean for 2 years. Maybe 1 chocolate bar every 30 days. 2200 cals a day. I weigh 172lbs 5’7″. I have been training 3 days /week for 6 years. Every 2-3 months take one complete week off. I eat 1g/lb of bodyweight of protein (688 cals) and 1.5-2g/lb of bodyweight of carbs, and about 15-20% of my diet is fats such as in Salmon, avacodo, etc. Totally disiplined, but I have gone from 10% body fat to 22% since I started eating clean with 1g of protein per lb/bodyweight. I used to eat .75-.8g/lb of bodyweight and never got fat. Do I need even more protein?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • ANKIT:
    plz tell me that is oatmeal and brown bread is slow digesting protein form or a medium digesting protein ,because i usually workout at the morning and use to take brown bread ,egg white & oatmeal after the workout. so plz tell me that oatmeal and brown bread are fast digesting or slow digesting form of protein

    ====================

    Oatmeal and bread are sources of carbohydrates, NOT protein.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • ANKIT:
    what should i take after the workout apart from WHEY PROTIEN

    ==================

    A great post workout shake would be whey protein and simple carbs such as dextrose or a sports drink like Gatorade.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Alex,

    I agree that 2-3 grams of protein per pound can be overkill for most. But 1.5 – 2 grams per pound can help maximize gains, especially when in a heavy mass building phase. For maintenance I usually strive for 1 gram per pound. For mass building I’ll bump it to 1.5 to 2 grams.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Jason:
    I have been eating clean for 2 years. Maybe 1 chocolate bar every 30 days. 2200 cals a day. I weigh 172lbs 5’7″. I have been training 3 days /week for 6 years. Every 2-3 months take one complete week off. I eat 1g/lb of bodyweight of protein (688 cals) and 1.5-2g/lb of bodyweight of carbs, and about 15-20% of my diet is fats such as in Salmon, avacodo, etc. Totally disiplined, but I have gone from 10% body fat to 22% since I started eating clean with 1g of protein per lb/bodyweight. I used to eat .75-.8g/lb of bodyweight and never got fat. Do I need even more protein?

    =======================

    I’d really need to look at your overall diet and training to see why you are gaining bodyfat. It could be that you are just getting older and your metabolism is slowing down. I know the diets I followed to get ripped in my 20’s wouldn’t work for me know that I’m in my 30’s. As your body changes so does your dietary needs.

    Generally, going with higher protein and lower carbs tends to work well for a lot of people, including myself.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • james

    Reply Reply

    thx Lee as always. i’ve been consuming way too many carbs lately in the form of potatoes. i love those things. along with a 2 month hiatus from the gym because of work i have lost some muscle and gained some fat. I’m going to start back but this time cutting carbs. will boosting my protein slightly higher than normal along with cutting carbs and heavy lifting have any effect in losing bodyfat. carb cutting seems to be a controversial topic. gonna browse your board about the subject as well.thx man

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Davin

    Reply Reply

    Lee,

    I can’t possibly eat any form of the protein shakes you mention in the article, my mom will kill me if she knows. Although I really want to. And the problem is, they seem to be the only source of fast-digesting proteins, which is very important after the workout. Are there any alternatives?

    And there’s another problem, lee. I’ve recently made a change in my protein sources, I rely completely on sirloin steak, egg whole and egg white nowadays. To my horror, I’ve turned fatter. I’ve always wanted to build some lean muscle mass without fat. I try achieving that by eating more protein…but things don’t go the way I expect. Do you have any idea why this happens?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • james:
    thx Lee as always. i’ve been consuming way too many carbs lately in the form of potatoes. i love those things. along with a 2 month hiatus from the gym because of work i have lost some muscle and gained some fat. I’m going to start back but this time cutting carbs. will boosting my protein slightly higher than normal along with cutting carbs and heavy lifting have any effect in losing bodyfat. carb cutting seems to be a controversial topic. gonna browse your board about the subject as well.thx man

    ============================

    The basis of my entire pre-contest fat loss diet involves increasing protein intake and lowering carbohydrate intake. Now you don’t want to eliminate carbs altogether, but just cut back on them. I primarily focus my eating around lean protein, green veggies, and healthy fats when dieting for fat loss and it works really well. Plus it’s a very healthy way to eat.

    I cover diet plan in more detail in my Extreme Fat Loss Program. Which you can get as a FREE Bonus when you sign up for the Total Fitness Bodybuilding Inner Circle at: http://www.TotalFitnessBodybuilding.com

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Davin:
    Lee,

    I can’t possibly eat any form of the protein shakes you mention in the article, my mom will kill me if she knows. Although I really want to. And the problem is, they seem to be the only source of fast-digesting proteins, which is very important after the workout. Are there any alternatives?

    And there’s another problem, lee. I’ve recently made a change in my protein sources, I rely completely on sirloin steak, egg whole and egg white nowadays. To my horror, I’ve turned fatter. I’ve always wanted to build some lean muscle mass without fat. I try achieving that by eating more protein…but things don’t go the way I expect. Do you have any idea why this happens?

    ===================

    It’s very unlikely to gain bodyfat from increasing your protein intake. But it is very easy to gain bodyfat when you increase your carbohydrate intake from foods like bread, cereal, rice, pasta, potatoes, etc. If you want me to personally help you with your diet plan then you should sign up as a member of the Total Fitness Bodybuilding “Inner Circle” Coaching Program.

    One of the services that I provide all members is that I personally help them to optimize their diet and training programs to meet their fitness goals.
    http://www.TotalFitnessBodybuilding.com

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Thomas J Ahern(Irish)

    Reply Reply

    I have Diabetes & have to test my blood for blood sugar four times a day.I workout almost nightly.
    My Diabetic Dr frowns on my use of Protein supplements.I have ck’d my blood after the use of Met-Rx & it goes sky high! What would you suggest or what would anyone with a similar problem
    suggest? Thomas J. Ahern Triumphtj@Yahoo.com Thank You!!!!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • elbee

    Reply Reply

    thanx,
    will give it a try,
    I could use this for sure 🙂

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Thomas J Ahern(Irish),

    Well Met-Rx is high in simple carbs, so one thing you can do is switch to a pure protein powder rather than a meal replacement powder such as Met-Rx. This should help control your blood sugar better.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • jatin

    Reply Reply

    hey lee……

    can whey protein be replaced by some high quality soy protein like NUTRILITE…??

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Lance

    Reply Reply

    jatin,

    Whey protein and Soy protein cannot be interchanged. Most soy protein in the states as well is GMO so it poses additional risks IMO. Especially if you are a man there is some research that also indicates soy protein in higher concentrations may have the same effect as if you were taking estrogen. That is the opposite of what you are trying to acheive with bodybuilding.

    There are many good whey products on the market so I personally see no reason for supplementing with soy instead.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Sam

    Reply Reply

    Hi Lee
    I don’t consume any protein powder and don’t eat huge amounts of meat, and yet my gains are ok. However, I do consume lots of vitamins and cod liver oil and glucosamine.
    What do you think of that?

    Sam

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Ahamed Nuzhan

    Reply Reply

    RagingBull,

    Amen!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • i think 40 grams of protein is ok … i eat vegan and i do very well eating less than 40 grams of protein a day from vegetables sources

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Perry Rose

    Reply Reply

    Hello Lee.

    Love what you are doing here, but I gotta tell ya–I’m not sure about this one.

    Is it really that necessary to eat one gram of protein per one pound of body weight for just the average schmo who wants to double his strength?

    I weight 170 pounds, at 5’6,” with not that much muscle mass. I guess I am average.

    I should weigh 160, but I look better with some meat on me(fat).

    I don’t want to do the powder thing, so that is a lot of food in one day!

    Example: That’s over 5 chicken breasts, as an example!

    I’m 49-years old. I’m not much for weigh training, but I would like to double my strength in all my body parts. And I’d like to maybe triple the strength in my legs.

    Current sizes in some of my body parts:
    Biceps: 15.5 inches
    Thighs: 22 inches
    Calves: 14.5 inches.
    . . ..

    I”d like to put on, oh, say, a 4 more inches on all body parts. I’d like to try to do it in about six months, but I have heard that you can only gain around 1 pound of muscle a week.

    I eat for a healthy heart and brain. You know: veggies, fruits, oatmeal, and lean meat, salmon…

    Maximum amount of protein I eat daily is probably around 60 grams.

    Can this still be done on a health diet for an older guy who eats more for inflammation, brain and heart health?

    Thanks Lee.

    Perry

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Perry Rose

    Reply Reply

    Oops–I meant 1 pound per month, not week.

    I would think that max would be 2 pounds a month.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • I HAVE LOOKED EVERYWHERE FOR PROTEIN CONSUMPTION FOR FOR OVERWEIGHT TRAINERS BEGINNERS.SAY IF YOUR 30% FAT, WOULD YOU ONLY CONSUME ONLY MUSCLE WEIGHT IN PROTEIN ,1 GRAM. THANKYOU.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • samar

    Reply Reply

    I must say thanks to Mr. Lee sir that he has share the secretes of fitness.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • cobra

    Reply Reply

    shouldnt we be worried about Gout when eating 2 grams per pound of bodyweight ?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • jatin:
    hey lee……

    can whey protein be replaced by some high quality soy protein like NUTRILITE…??

    I personally wouldn’t recommend consuming soy protein or excessive amounts of soy products. They have been shown to increase estrogen levels and this is definitely something that you don’t want.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Sam:
    Hi Lee
    I don’t consume any protein powder and don’t eat huge amounts of meat, and yet my gains are ok.However, I do consume lots of vitamins and cod liver oil and glucosamine.
    What do you think of that?

    Sam

    You can still make progress, build muscle, etc. without taking supplements. But you can maximize your gains with proper nutrition and supplementation. It’s similar to how you can get a stock car and put regular gas in it and it will still drive ok. However, if you had a race modified car and used race fuel it would run better.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Perry Rose:
    Hello Lee.

    Love what you are doing here, but I gotta tell ya–I’m not sure about this one.

    Is it really that necessary to eat one gram of protein per one pound of body weight for just the average schmo who wants to double his strength?

    I weight 170 pounds, at 5’6,” with not that much muscle mass. I guess I am average.

    I should weigh 160, but I look better with some meat on me(fat).

    I don’t want to do the powder thing, so that is a lot of food in one day!

    Example: That’s over 5 chicken breasts, as an example!

    I’m 49-years old. I’m not much for weigh training, but I would like to double my strength in all my body parts. And I’d like to maybe triple the strength in my legs.

    Current sizes in some of my body parts:
    Biceps: 15.5 inches
    Thighs: 22 inches
    Calves: 14.5 inches.
    . . ..

    I”d like to put on, oh, say, a 4 more inches on all body parts. I’d like to try to do it in about six months, but I have heard that you can only gain around 1 pound of muscle a week.

    I eat for a healthy heart and brain. You know: veggies, fruits, oatmeal, and lean meat, salmon…

    Maximum amount of protein I eat daily is probably around 60 grams.

    Can this still be done on a health diet for an older guy who eats more for inflammation, brain and heart health?

    Thanks Lee.

    Perry

    In all honesty I think 60 grams of protein per day for a 170 pound man is low. There is a lot of health benefits from optimal protein intake than building muscle. Not only is high protein food high in essential nutrients such as B vitamins, Iron, etc. it’s needed to build and repair virtually every tissue in the body (including your brain, heart, etc.).

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • cobra:
    shouldnt we be worried about Gout when eating 2 grams per pound of bodyweight ?

    Gout can be caused by a poor diet in general (i.e. processed foods, alcohol, not drinking enough water, etc.). If you suffer from gout talk to your doctor, but you need to look at the big picture of your entire diet, not just protein intake.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Evan

    Reply Reply

    I prefer body weight exercises, like push ups, pull ups etc. Do you have any exercise programs other than weight lifting that you can recomend me to?

    Thanks.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

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