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How Much Protein Do I Need To Build Muscle? – Not Enough

How Much Protein Do I Need To Build Muscle? - Less Than You Think

Less Than You Think

This question right here, how much protein do I need to build muscle, is one of the most asked questions on the planet Earth. This need to know how much of that steak or chicken you should be eating to start noticing some gains is essential. What if you’ve been trying to put on size for years, and little to your knowledge, you’ve been missing vital grams of protein that have stopped you from achieving gains? I can only imagine the frustration one might experience knowing they’ve been falling short of their goals for years now. But not anymore, I’ll give it to you straight here. The amount of protein you need and how to get it.

Quality and Quantity

Many of you have heard of the popular saying, “quality over quantity” or “quantity over quality.” That famous saying plays directly into our situation of building muscle, but which is it? Should I aim for the protein quality or protein quantity? Well, as the heading suggests, you must focus on both. You can’t have one over the other, you’re muscles will suffer depending on which you deprive it on. I’ll explain why your muscles require a combo of both high-quality protein and a sufficient quantity of it.


When talking about quality, you need to consume complete protein. A complete source of protein is a source that contains all 9 essential amino acids. Out of the 20 amino acids that our bodies needs, 11 of them we can produce on our own. These we do not have to consume through our everyday diet. However, for the rest of the amino acids, we must eat so we may survive. We can get them all in one go with a complete source of protein, lots of these include animal-based proteins. So steak, fish, chicken, eggs, pork, and others offer the 9 amino acids.

How Much Protein Do I Need To Build Muscle? - Less Than You Think

This isn’t to say that plant-based protein isn’t complete, they too can offer some quality protein. Foods like peas, brown rice, beans, tofu, and others can offer protein just as good as its animal protein rival. However, a lot of them on their own cannot make up the 9 essential amino acids. So with that, many of these plant-based proteins are eaten with other foods to make up the complete protein. I’ll have a link here if you’d like to learn more about amino acids and how important they are to the makeup of the bodies.


Then we have here the other half of the equation when consuming protein, that amount you’re actually eating. This has been debated, researched, and studied by scientist countless times to find a definitive answer once and for all. It really depends on what type of person you are and what you’re body needs to achieve its goals. You’re either sedentary, meaning you do not move around much at all throughout the day, or you’re active, which you do tend to move a lot day-to-day.

Our sedentary individuals, as you may guess, do not require much protein in their diets since they do not have much muscle to gain or maintain. According to the vast amount of studies, here are the numbers researches have come up with.

0.36 grams of protein x bodyweight  

So let’s take my bodyweight, for example, I weigh in at about 185lbs soaking wet. If I plug that into the formula listed above.

0.36 grams of protein x 185 lbs = 66.6 grams of protein 

This amount of protein is enough to stop protein deficiency, meaning you’re not getting enough dietary protein in your diet. This is the amount for your average couch potato, your average joe. Someone who sits for long hours throughout the day and does not perform any exercise, may they be too busy, or for other reasons. Their goal isn’t to build muscle. However, we want the numbers to get big. After research on that, scientists have got the number for that too, more of a range I might add. They have estimated between 0.7 grams – 1.0 gram a day is an optimal amount for muscle gain. Let me plug myself into the equation.

How Much Protein Do I Need To Build Muscle? - Less Than You Think

0.7 grams of protein x 185 lbs = 129.5 grams of protein 

Aiming for the bottom portion of the range is a lot more achievable for many people, since hitting 185 grams of protein in a day is a lot. You could shave off around 56 grams of protein, and still be noticing gains, saves you effort, time, and money. There’s some research out there that claims that you may need even more than 1.0 grams of protein per bodyweight a day. It’s a bit over the top for some people, so 0.7 grams – 1.0 grams is a reasonable range.

Where To Find All That Protein

Now that you know what you’re working with in terms of the amount of protein you’ll be needing to see growth, you’re going to have to actually eat the protein. Thankfully, there is an abundant amount of protein sources out there in the world. As mentioned before, we have to main types of sources to look out for, animal-based and plant-based. I actually wrote an article comparing all these types of sources and seeing who has the edge in terms of protein. I put powerhouses like chicken, eggs, steak, and fish up against each other to see who has the most protein, click here to see who wins.

Easiest Source Of Protein

I’ll let you guys on a secret on the easiest way to get a decent amount of protein in no time. Of course, I’m talking about dietary protein supplements. In specifically, I’m hitting at the lovely protein shakes and protein powders. Fortunately for you, my whole site revolves around knowing about protein powders. The average scoop of protein powders consists of about 20 – 30 grams of protein. Which is a great amount considering how little effort and time it takes to prepare a protein shake. Grab a cup or two of water, scoop some powder, drop it in the cup, shake, enjoy!

My personal favorite protein powder is made by the guys at from their signature line. I’m talking about their Signature Whey Protein. I’m not forcing you to buy this bad boy supplement, although it does help, but any protein powder does help. It takes much less time than actually producing a meal, and it tastes delicious. It might not compare to what a juicy steak may have in store for you or a nice hamburger, but it still tastes good, and it’s worth trying.


So, in conclusion, how much protein do I need to build muscle? It really just depends on the type of person you are. If you’re the type to lack any type of physical exercise and chill in a chair all day, not judging, you’ll need less. If you’re in the gym a lot, exercising constantly, you’re going to need more. Not only does the quantity matter, but the quality of the protein is also crucial. Seek out complete sources of protein, the foods that contain the 9 essential amino acids for your muscle-building journey

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  1. Alejandra

    Thanks for sharing a good article to read today to know more about how much protein do I need to build muscle, now I have a better idea about what food will give me more protein, but as you suggest when talking about whey shakes, the question is, is it good for seniors? And when talking about a person who is lactose intolerant? I’m afraid to have the whey shakes because I’m lactose intolerant.

    When talking about seniors, do we need to have the same protein as you suggest?

    • Jose Gallegos

      Hey Alejandra:

      As a matter of fact Alejandra, seniors need more protein to preserve their muscle mass. Not only does it maintain your size, but more protein suppresses your appetite, and may boost metabolism. If you or someone you know is lactose intolerant, it’s better to keep the off whey since it will cause problems for them in their digestion. It’s not extremely dangerous, but it will just cause some major discomfort.  

  2. Sheddy Ovb

    Heloo, I want to say a big thanks to you for putting up this amazing article, proteins are indeed very important for consumption during muscle building, like you’ve mentioned If one is always at the gym a lot, exercising constantly,  then more  protein is going to needed Not only does the quantity matter, but the quality of the protein is also crucial.

    thanks for buttressing on the importance of protein during muscle building.its helps a lot to know the quantity and quality to consume.

    • Jose Gallegos

      Hey Sheddy:

      Yes exactly my man, depending on the type of person you are, your needs for protein will always differ. Whether your sitting for most of day, or on your feet constantly, the protein amounts will differ. 

  3. betieshair

    Okay, these articles help me in two ways, my school project and knowledge, even the top 5  of protein consumers don’t approach the 35-percent of their protein DRA. if you are lacking the full protein that contains amino acids, you may lose weight muscles. Thank you for this article. i learnt a lot. 

    • Jose Gallegos

      Hey Betieshair:

      Of course, without the adequate amino acids your body needs to build muscle, there will be no building of muscles. Always glad to inform the public!

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