How Much Protein Should You Eat Per Day to Build Muscle?

A guide to determining your daily protein needs

Research hasn’t yet determined an exact number for how much protein is needed per day in order to build muscle mass. 

However, Marc Perry the founder and CEO of BuiltLean and a top personal trainer and fitness expert in New York City says that an adequate amount falls somewhere between the range of .6 grams to 1.1 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

Because protein needs are contingent upon your current body weight, the amount needed to gain muscle can vary greatly among individuals. Keeping your goals and current training program in mind, simply multiply your current body weight by a number that falls in between the recommended range (.6 to 1.1) in order to determine an estimate for how many grams of protein you should consume per day in order to increase your muscle mass.

Perry elaborates on

“Research shows that the average trainee looking to build muscle can benefit anywhere from .6g to around 1.1g of protein per pound of body weight. It all really depends on your goals, genetics, and the rest of your diet, but aiming to hit between those targets should be sufficient for most people. For example, a relatively fit 180lb man should aim to consume between 108g and 198g of protein daily for muscle gain.”

One important thing to keep in mind: increasing your protein intake won’t increase your muscle mass on its own. “Some people believe eating more protein will automatically build muscle,” says Perry. “This is certainly not the case. The only way to build lean muscle mass is by combining an effective strength training routine with a balanced diet that includes adequate protein intake.”

Related: Strength Training 101

So make sure to implement a well-designed strength training plan into your exercise routine. To build muscle, you should aim to incorporate strength training into your workout schedule at least three days per week.

For the most effective results, make sure that you consume about 10 to 20 grams of protein within 60 minutes of completing your workouts. “Lifting weights breaks down muscle and glycogen stores, so consuming protein post-workout can help protein suck into muscles more effectively,” says Perry.

See also: 9 Facts You Need to Know About Protein