Protein is a crucial nutrient required by the body, especially for building and maintaining muscle mass. However, many myths surround protein consumption, often leading to confusion. Many bodybuilders go above the recommended protein intake for muscle growth. This blog post aims to debunk these myths and provide you with an optimal protein intake plan for muscle growth.
This article will explore and delve into a recent titled “Effects of 16 weeks of two different high-protein diets with either resistance or concurrent training on body composition, muscular strength, and performance, and markers of liver and kidney function in resistance-trained males.”(Bagheri et al., 2023) This article aims to debunk the protein myth and provide evidence-based advice on optimal protein intake for muscle growth, focusing on the importance of the optimal recommended protein Intake for muscle growth in achieving enhanced athletic performance and long-term health.
Debunking the Protein Myth: Optimal Protein Intake for Muscle Growth Summary
- The study found that muscle gain consisting of 1.5 grams of protein per pound (3.2 g/kg per pound) was similar to a moderately high protein intake of .7 grams per pound (i.e., 1.6 g/kg per day), debunking the protein myth that more protein is needed for muscle gains.
- Both high-protein diets combined with resistance or concurrent training led to significant improvements in muscular strength, including absolute and relative chest press and leg press strength.
Introduction: Debunking Protein Myths:
In fitness and bodybuilding, a prevailing protein myth suggests that bodybuilders require more than 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight to build muscle effectively. Conversely, some researchers have hypothesized that trained individuals’ minimum daily dietary protein requirement should be around 2 g/kg or .9 grams per pound. (Rankin et al., 2004) Most people have conveniently just rounded this up to 1 gram per pound. However, scientific research suggests that this belief may be overstated and that protein needs can be met with a more moderate intake.
High Protein Diet Plan for Optimal Muscle Gain
Designing a high-protein diet plan is crucial for supporting muscle gain. Balancing protein intake with other macronutrients ensures optimal results. Essential amino acids play a significant role in muscle repair and growth. It’s important to consider protein sources suitable for both vegans and non-vegans. Additionally, individualized protein intake based on body weight and activity level is necessary for maximizing muscle gain. By incorporating these strategies, you can create a high-protein diet plan that promotes optimal muscle growth.
The Importance of Protein in Muscle Growth
Protein is pivotal in muscle growth and repair, acting as the building block for muscle protein synthesis. (Andrews et al., 2006) Amino acids, the components of protein, are essential for promoting muscle hypertrophy and enhancing strength gains. Recent systematic review findings have found that protein supplementation amplifies gains in skeletal muscle mass and strength/power during resistance exercise.
The study suggests that consuming approximately 0.49 g/kg bodyweight or .22 grams per pound of bodyweight of high-quality protein post-exercise can optimize post-exercise myofibrillar protein synthesis rates, debunking the protein myth surrounding the need for excessive protein intake.(Hartono et al., 2022)
Furthermore, studies have shown that protein intake beyond the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) can benefit muscle hypertrophy and prevent muscle loss during weight loss. (Phillips et al., 2016) However, the question remains: how much protein is necessary to optimize these benefits? This section will delve into various studies, debunking the protein myth and highlighting the adequate amounts needed to maximize muscle gains.
Debunking the Protein Overconsumption Myth
Although many athletes think they need more than 1 gram per pound of body weight, many studies have found no benefits. These studies provide valuable insights into the effects of high-protein diets on body composition and muscular strength.
Recommended Protein Intake for Muscle Growth Studies
- A review by Morton et al. proposed that 1.6 g/kg of or .7 grams of protein is adequate to optimize muscle gains. (Morton et al., 2018) The study suggests that exceeding this range may not provide additional benefits in terms of muscle gain.
- A study in which consuming protein at 5.5 times the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), or 4.4 g/kg (2 grams per pound of body weight), resulted in similar gains in muscle gains compared to 1.8 g/kg or .8 gram per pound in individuals undergoing weight training who maintained the same training regimen. (Antonio et al., 2014)
- Furthermore, healthy-trained males and females who consumed 3.4 g/kg 1.5 gram per pound of protein did not experience any additional increase in FFM compared to those consuming 2.3 g/kg or 1 gram per pound. (Antonio et al., 2015)
Contrary to popular belief, the research indicates that consuming protein above 1 gram per pound of body weight does not yield additional benefits in muscle growth or performance. A recent study has reinforced that more protein is not always better for muscle growth.
Debunking the Protein Myth for Muscle Growth
Understanding the recommended protein intake for muscle growth is essential for athletes and fitness enthusiasts seeking to optimize their training and nutritional regimens. A recent study titled “Effects of 16 weeks of two different high-protein diets with either resistance or concurrent training on body composition, muscular strength, and performance, and markers of liver and kidney function in resistance-trained males” sheds light on this integration
The study aimed to investigate the differential impacts of resistance exercise coupled with high protein diets for muscle gain, strength, and performance. It sought to compare the outcomes of two protein intake levels (1.6 or 3.2 g.kg per day or (.7 or 1.4 grams per pound) during 16 weeks of either a combination of weight training and aerobic exercise or weight training alone in resistance-trained males.
The researchers hypothesized that a daily protein amount of 1.6 g.kg or .7 grams per pound would maximize various adaptations with combined cardio and resistance exercise compared to the 3.2 g/kg protein per day condition and weight training alone.
The study involved 48 resistance-trained males; the average age was 26. Participants were assigned to one of four groups:
- Aerobic exercise with resistance exercise with lower protein (i.e., 1.6 g.kg or .7 grams per pound)
- Aerobic exercise with resistance exercise with higher protein (i.e. 3.2 g.kg or .1.4 grams per pound),
- Weight training alone with lower protein (i.e., 1.6 g.kg or .7 grams per pound), and
- Weight training alone with higher protein (i.e., 3.2 g.kg or .1.4 grams per pound)
The study participants were provided guidelines to meet their protein and calorie needs. A high protein diet plan for muscle gain were recommended to participant by distributing their daily protein intake across 4-7 meals, each containing 20-40 grams of protein. The aim was to maximize muscle protein synthesis (MPS). Additionally, after each training session, the high protein group received more protein by consuming a 40g isolated whey protein beverage and their habitual dietary protein intake from foods.
Muscle Mass Results:
The increase in lean mass among the groups was:
- Aerobic exercise with resistance exercise with lower protein: 3% increase
- Aerobic exercise with resistance exercise with higher protein: 3.8%
- Weight training alone with lower protein: 3.5%
- Weight training alone with higher protein: 4%
All groups had increases in muscle mass with no statistical differences between the groups.
The study found that both high-protein diets combined with resistance or combined training led to losses in body fat in all groups. The participants in all groups experienced a decrease in body fat percentage, with the greatest decrease observed in the Aerobic exercise with resistance exercise with a higher protein group (from 16.5% to 12.7%).
The study found that both high-protein diets combined with resistance or concurrent training led to significant improvements in muscular strength in all groups. The participants in all groups experienced a substantial increase in both absolute and relative chest press and leg press strength. However, there were no significant differences in strength changes between the two high-protein diets or between resistance and concurrent training.
The study found that an intake of 1.6 g.kg or .7 grams of protein per pound is sufficient to maximize gains in lean mass, muscle strength, performance, and aerobic capacity during resistance and cardio training.
In conclusion, This study by Bagheri et al. debunks the protein myth that more protein results in more muscle gains and provides valuable insights into the effects of high-protein diets and different training modalities on body composition, muscular strength, performance, and organ function. A high protein diet plan for muscle gain should be close to .7 grams per pound of bodyweight.
Andrews, R. D., MacLean, D. A., & Riechman, S. E. (2006). Protein Intake for Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy With Resistance Training in Seniors. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsnem.16.4.362
Antonio, J., Ellerbroek, A., Silver, T., Orris, S., Scheiner, M., Gonzalez, A., & Peacock, C. A. (2015). Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(1), 39. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-015-0100-0
Antonio, J., Peacock, C. A., Ellerbroek, A., Fromhoff, B., & Silver, T. (2014). The effects of consuming a high protein diet (4.4 g/kg/d) on body composition in resistance-trained individuals. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 11(1), 19. https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-11-19
Bagheri, R., Kargarfard, M., Sadeghi, R., Scott, D., & Camera, D. M. (2023). J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 20(1), 2236053. https://doi.org/10.1080/15502783.2023.2236053
Hartono, F. A., Martin-Arrowsmith, P. W., Peeters, W. M., & Churchward-Venne, T. A. (2022). Sports Med, 52(6), 1295-1328. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-021-01620-9
Morton, R. W. A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults. Br J Sports Med, 52(6), 376-384. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2017-097608
Phillips, S. M., Chevalier, S., & Leidy, H. J. (2016). Protein “Requirements” Beyond the RDA: Implications for Optimizing Health. Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism. https://doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2015-0550
Rankin, J. W., Goldman, L. P., Puglisi, M. J., Nickols-Richardson, S. M., Earthman, C. P., & Gwazdauskas, F. C. (2004). Effect of Post-Exercise Supplement Consumption on Adaptations to Resistance Training. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 23(4), 322-330. https://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.2004.10719375