While there are many facets that go into adding muscle to your frame, one of the most important is to consume enough protein.
Your muscles are about 25 percent protein. And as most bodybuilders and athletes know, those muscles break down after a workout and rebuild themselves. This process takes time, which is why most people don’t strength train daily or extensively. The process also requires a lot of protein to rebuild and enhance muscles.
How much protein?
Just how much one needs is not an exact science. The number that seems to have the most backing among bodybuilding professionals and trainers is to consume daily an equal amount of protein in grams as your body weight in pounds. Eat slightly less on days you don’t strength train, slightly more on those days you do.
So if you weigh 180 pounds, a good rule of thumb would be to consume about 150 grams of protein on non-training days, and 200 or so grams on strength-training days.
Can too much protein be harmful?
There is a rather long-standing myth that too much protein intake can overload the kidneys, causing them damage. Another myth has it that too much protein leaches calcium from the bones, potentially causing osteoporosis. However, there is no scientific proof. In fact several studies have shown the complete opposite; that increased protein benefits for the bones.
That said, moderation is good in everything, and there’s no need to go beyond the recommended daily intake outlined above, whether any potential harm exists or not.
Good sources of protein
Protein comes from many sources, most notably dairy, meat, and fish. For some people, particularly vegans, getting enough protein can be problematic.
This is exacerbated by the fact that plant-based proteins are not as complete as animal-based ones, and the body can’t make as much use of them as a result. So vegans should ideally consume slightly more protein than non-vegans to make up for this deficiency.
Good protein sources for vegans include nuts and nut butters, peas, beans, tofu, and seeds such as sunflower, poppy and sesame. Powders and other forms of protein-packed products are also helpful, and some of them can be found as vegan products.