How Much Protein?

Lance corporal grills steaks aboard amphibious assault ship.
Lance Cpl. Callyross Serrano of San Antonio grills steaks in the galley aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian Jeffries/U.S. Navy photo)

Protein supplements are a staple in any bodybuilder's supplement arsenal.

Depending upon who you listen to, you'll get different answers regarding how much protein you should consume to build muscle.

Bodybuilding magazines and supplement manufacturers tell you you should consume at least "two grams of protein per pound of body weight," because you need all that protein to recover from your workouts and increase muscle mass.

But are they blowing these dosages way out of proportion?

I mean, supplement companies who promote massive dosages (I've seen up to five grams per pound of body weight) couldn't possibly be trying to get you to consume more of their product so you'll buy another tub, right?

Fact is, I've caught a lot of hell over the years when I've said that the body can't use more than 20-30 grams per meal.

Well, a recent study looked at just how much protein is enough and how much is too much.

Protein study: How much protein should you consume?

A group of highly trained athletes consumed one of five different doses after resistance exercise.

    * Og: The "control" group

    * 5g

    * 10g

    * 20g

    * or 40g

After exercise, all groups increased muscle-protein synthesis, but the 20g dose produced nearly double the amount of muscle-protein synthesis than the control group.

The 40g dose was even higher but not by all that much. Therefore, it appears that even after resistance training, your body only can use so much protein (somewhere between 20g and 40g), and then the rest gets burned up as fuel.

I recommend way less protein than most people take in (1.17 grams per pound of lean body weight), with about 25% of your daily protein requirement taken immediately after training.

By not consuming too much protein, your body can focus on burning fat for fuel instead of the excess protein. So stop overdosing on protein, will you?

Consume about 20 grams in five meals throughout the day and add a separate 30- to 40-gram serving immediately after your workouts to ensure full muscle-protein synthesis when you need it the most.

More from Anderson at:

Jeff Anderson is a 10-year veteran of the U.S. Army, a master fitness trainer and master instructor of close quarters combat self-defense. A full-time fitness and self-defense author, Anderson has trained thousands of men and women in the practical application of advanced military fitness methods as well as close combat tactics for "real-life" self-defense.

Want to Learn More About Military Life?

Whether you're thinking of joining the military, looking for fitness and basic training tips, or keeping up with military life and benefits, has you covered. Subscribe to to have military news, updates and resources delivered directly to your inbox.

Show Full Article