Tuesday, July 07, 2009

How much protein do you need to gain muscle

I brought in the original strength training Renegade for a classic rant against protein - if you've ever wondered how much protein you need to gain muscle, here's the truth...

He's often imitated but never duplicated, let's hear from Jay Ferruggia about how much protein we really need to build muscle:

People always ask me how the heck they could possibly gain or even maintain muscle on a vegan diet.

That's because they have been brainwashed to believe that without eating a billion grams of protein per day their muscles will shrink faster than their wang in a cold pool.

This simply isn't true. Not even close.

The body can only assimilate so much protein on a daily basis and you can only build muscle so fast.

If protein were really the key to building muscle you would see tons of 250 pound behemoths every where you went.

They would be sitting next to you at the movies, serving you in restaurants and rubbing elbows with you in the waiting room of the dentists' office.

Because, let's face it, everyone and their mother drinks protein shakes these days. And if that's all it took to build muscle there
would be a lot more huge dudes walking around.

I'm sure plenty of you have tried this before.

You decided to start drinking an extra protein shake or two per day in the hopes of packing on new size.

Or you decided to really jack up your protein intake by adding an extra three eggs to your morning omelet and another two chicken breasts to both lunch and dinner.

And what happened after a month or two of this?

Absolutely nothing.

But why would it?

After all, it's just protein.

It's not like you were taking steroids.

I only wish it were that easy.

But as we have all found out the hard (and expensive) way; it isn't.

Total calories are more important than grams of protein when it comes to packing on muscle.

Having said that I will point out that some protein is necessary for those that want to build lean muscle.

But this is far less than what the muscle mags and supplement companies would have you believe.

Most people will need about .7 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day to build muscle.

More than that doesn't seem to offer much benefit.

So a 180 pound guy looking to gain size would need about 126 grams of protein per day.

Now, you're telling me you can't get that on a vegan diet?

Lentils, beans and peas are loaded with protein.

Almonds and pistachios have 7 grams of protein per serving and both pumpkin and hemp seeds have 11 grams per serving.

People usually only count protein grams from animal sources but this is a huge mistake.  

Vegetables have protein, brown rice has protein and even your morning bowl of oatmeal has about 10 grams per cup.

If you eat a decent amount of legumes, nuts, seeds and veggies on a regular basis you should be able to hit your protein mark, no problem.

If you can't, you can always add in a scoop or two of pea, hemp or brown rice protein powder.

After a recent shoulder surgery incapacitated me for a few months I had lost a ton of weight.

I gained almost thirty pounds back so far eating nothing but the foods I just mentioned.

This week at the gym I deadlifted 455 for 5.

Last night I did heavy military presses, chins, shrugs, face pulls and finished up with 20 Prowler sprints.

Some of the meat eating college kids were on the floor after 10 sprints, but at almost 35 years old, I just kept on sprinting away long after they had all fallen out.

I've had no trouble regaining size or strength on a vegan diet and have never felt better in my life.

Trust me; you don't need meat to succeed and you won't lose an ounce of size or strength if you decide to go vegetarian or even Vegan.

And that's the bottom line,

Jay Ferruggia

Thanks Jay.

Said like only you could say it,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS

PS - Jay is my number one go-to "Coach" for workout advice...

...when I need help or when I'm looking for tips to improve my client's or my own programs, I go to Jay.

Heck, I even fly down to Jersey to train with once per year.

And you need Jay's workout advice too.

Click here for Jay Ferruggia's workout info


Tooon said...

That's the bottom line, 'cause Jay Ferruggia sez so!

That sounds familiar...

You guys almost have me convinced to go vegan with everything you've been saying the last few months...

jorn said...

Is this the place where I can toss in a "hell yeah!" for quinoa? ;)

Anonymous said...

Is Jay a registered dietian? Certified holistic lifestyle coach? I thought "diet" specifics were out of the professional scope of personal fitness trainers, unless certified or registered with the ADA.

Anonymous said...

So the 180 lb guy uses 600 calories a day for protein. Assuming he wants to add some mass, the remainin 2500-3000 calories should come from fat and carbs, right? That is the best way for him to pack on size.

The point is, while the protein may not be "necessary" to add muscle, it might be a better source of calories than too any carbs or fats.

Aaron said...

I'd like to see the science behind everything that was said, it's not like I don't think you guys are far more qualified than me, but I just don't take anything at face value.

The way I see it after being into nutrition and reading a lot over the last few years is that it's just easier to eat healthy if you're an omnivore than if you're vegan. In the US it might be easier, you guys seem to have a better selection of healthy foods than we do in Perth, Australia. You also seem to have a better selection of unhealthy foods too :)

There was no mention of complete vs incomplete proteins either, and I think this is where I have the thought that it's hard to be a good vegan as you really have to know how to mix and match stuff. All the vegans I know are sicker and less healthy than the omnivores I know ...

The more I've experimented on my body the more I've just come to believe that while there are some general basic guidelines to how things work for people, what REALLY works can be slightly to drastically different from person to person. As a vegetarian for a year I can honestly say being an omnivore and low carber has been a far better diet for me.

Alex said...

most experts and diet gurus would agree that 1g per pound of body weight will do.

Jones Morris said...

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