How Much Protein Do You Really Need To Build Muscle?

You want to build muscle, right? Of course you do, everybody wants to build muscle, whether it be for purposes of actually having functional strength or just having big aesthetic muscles to show off to the girls. Anthropologists will tell you that the desire of pretty much all men to have more muscle is universal amongst all cultures and ethnicities, regardless of what the liberals that control anthropology will tell you about “muh Western false body images” or whatever.

So if you want to build muscle, what do you have to do? Obviously, you’re going to have to do resistance training and plenty of it—that’s the simple part of it, but then there’s the dietary component.

“Well, that’s simple, Larsen!” you’re probably saying right now—“you just have to eat lots of protein!” Indeed, that is a major part of it—protein is the sole building block of muscle tissue, after all. But is it really so simple?

Drawbacks To Protein-Centric Diets

Eating a diet low in complex carbohydrates like fiber for long periods of time has been linked to numerous medical issues, not the least of which is constipation, as well as hypertension, heart disease, and atherosclerosis, as well as increased risk of kidney stones due to the process described in the next paragraph.

More to the point, if you were to eat a 100% protein diet, you would not be utilizing all of that protein to build your muscles. For the body to function it needs some glucose, the currency of cellular energy. And if you are not eating a sufficient supply of carbohydrates—the importance of which I have already argued—then your body will utilize whatever it has to make glucose, and that will often be protein.

Indeed, there are some tribes that exist today, and undoubtedly many more in the past, that ate a hypercarnivorous—which is to say almost entirely meat-based—diet, hence why the body evolved the ability to do the process known as ketogenesis, in which proteins will be denatured and converted into a protein-based sugar known as a ketone (ammonia and urea are produced as byproducts of this, which means the kidneys have to work harder and thus the kidney stones mentioned beforehand).

Fat is also a necessity due to it being the base of cellular membranes and the nervous system which includes the brain and spinal cord, both of which are a little important. It turns out that your kindergarten teacher was right, and you need to have a balanced diet of nutrients. That’ll give you overall good health, but you might be complaining, that’s not going to get you SWOLE. So what to do?

The Solution

Obviously you have to increase your protein intake, but in proportion to an increased amount of all other nutrients—this is how bulking works.

Skeletal muscle is approximately 72% water, 22% protein, and 6% fat, glycogen, and minerals. One pound of muscle tissue has about 100 grams of protein. Theoretically you would have to ingest an extra 14 grams of protein a day (meaning 14 grams beyond the recommended maintenance dose), although most experts believe the single most important factor in gaining lean mass is to consume adequate calories (combined with resistance training of course).

Said recommended dietary allowance is 1 gram per kilogram of bodyweight per day, so if you weigh 100 kilograms, eat 100 grams of protein just to function in your day. Thus, to get extra protein to build more muscle mass, you will have to eat between 1.2 and 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. This will, unfortunately, necessitate you having to be something of pain in the ass to your “normie” friends and family as you analyze and pore over nutrition facts and calculate protein amounts in your head, but never mind that.

And with increased protein should come increased carbohydrate and fat consumption as well—and as always, micronutrients will inevitably come with healthy consumption of macronutrients (i.e., if you’re eating actual food and not crap).

Carbohydrates—hopefully in the form of complex carbohydrates like fruits and vegetables and whole grains—should constitute 6-8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight, and fats—again, hopefully healthy fats from meat and fish and dairy—will more often than not come with your protein so you don’t need to be too concerned with getting a certain amount of fats. Indeed, anything between 10-20% of your calories coming from fat will be sufficient to stave off nervous degeneration.

The recommendations for macronutrient percentages are roughly 45-60% carbohydrates, 20-35% protein, and 20-25% of fats. This percentage likely will remain even if you are eating increased consumption of protein—you’re going to need energy if you’re vigorously exercising, after all.

To get the most out of your diet, you are going to have to be something of a stickler in planning your meals—but it’s a small price to pay to meet your fitness goals.

Read More: Supplements Don’t Build Muscle 

35 thoughts on “How Much Protein Do You Really Need To Build Muscle?”

  1. Speaking of that Rocky picture, it’s amazing to compare how fake the Rocky 3 fights with Mr. T were compared to the recent Creed movie.
    Both Rocky and T take death defying bashings in the 1st and 2nd round and don’t even have any bloody makeup administered.

    1. I know, Reality…but they are MOVIES.
      Clubber Lang is entertaining as hell.
      “Take her to the zoo. Retards like the zoo!”

  2. The manosphere has a carbophobia and is stuck in the 2004 mindset of thinking ketogenic diets are a magic fix. While they can be good for the short term, realize your body doesn’t burn ketones in place of glycogen. Also, insulin can easily be raised even without eating carbs due to ASP (Acylation Stimulating Protein).
    Not to mention your T levels can drop to being on low carb for too long. Don’t get me wrong. Cycling between low carbs and moderate to high is great for pancreatic function and hormone balance. But being low carb for life is a great way to waste away all your gains.

    1. Since being diagnosed as type 1 diabetic a few months ago T’s definitely decreased i’ve felt like shit having to avoid carbs. I can’t always gorge on carbs after a workout either because glucose is always at such wacky levels.

      1. Start eating real food, meat (free range), fish (wild), fruits and vegetables. Stay away from anything in a packet and take away that has so many toxic chemicals in it that it destroys your gains. Arnold said his secret was to eat clean. Makes sense… My gains are better sense I moved to organic. You wouldn’t want to build a house with material made from China would you?!?

        1. Btw, eating real food will cure 90% of health problems including cancer! Our medical industry is setup for only profit so they can milk you for your money. Takes this pill (bandaid) and come back next week for more so I get more commission!

      2. Mick, I have been a type one diabetic since 1984. I am 48 years old. I had poor diabetes control, despite trying everything the doctors said, and exercising, and eating clean, and all that. That is, until two months ago when I discovered the low-carb/high-fat diet for diabetes control known as the Bernstein protocol. This way of eating and living can save your life. Go to, get the book and follow the book. As far as building muscle mass and all that, we’re not like other people, so we have to just do the best we can, and figure it out. It’s a very challenging protocol to follow, but if you want to prevent complications due to diabetes, it is the only way to go! In addition, I am supplementing my testosterone with “Testo XXL” supplement, And I also take “Vitality” (Tāne Laboratories) for best masculine performance. I also supplement my diet with vitamins and minerals; magnesium, zinc, calcium, kelp, Vit. A, and a green drink with probiotics (Amazing Grass brand). Best of luck, and welcome to the club.

    2. Carbs have too much of a generalization imo. If people would “skip the shit”, eat good whole foods and throw in a little IF while getting good sleep, they would be better off and feeling much better.
      FYI to people – Carbs are NOT all the same on how they interact with the body. Get the “good” carbs and get ready to feel good!

    3. Make sure it’s Gluten Free. 50% of the population have problems eating grains due to humans playing God and changing the seeds. You will also feel allot better eating Gluten Free. I did the change for an experiment years ago. In the past it was OK to eat grains but just like meat today that is injected with so many chemicals, I personally only eat Free Range (grass feed) meat only. It also tastes 100x better! All the other stuff outside grass feed without the chemicals increases the changes of getting cancel by 20%. It’s as bad as eating Lindy West if she was a cow!

  3. Carbs were in short supply for the vast majority of human evolutionary history. To say they should make up 45%+ of your diet is laughable from a evo/bio perspective. When fruits and vegetables are seasonal and the only thing to get you by is a large dangerous animal, that’s what you have to eat. To keep it simple here I’ll say the “5 Food Groups”
    pyramid is BS, it should be pic related
    Humans are designed to live with zero carbs if necessary. The only carbohydrate you need for health is the indigestible variety, fibre. Fat > Carbs when it comes to energy.
    Another thing to consider is your genetic line and the diet of your forebears. The reason the Mediterranean diet fits most Western people is due to the fact that most of those human genetic lines trace back to there.

    1. I hope nobody will read you. You can’t even separate thriving from surviving. In Haiti people ate -and maybe still do- dirt bread, made from actual dirt. Should you eat something you can eat? Pfff…

      1. If thriving is an abundance of energy then I don’t want it. We were designed for a harsh world. If you want to soften yourself up with sugar go right ahead. Surviving is what we were built for. You don’t have to go eat dirt like some low-IQ person in a shithole country. You can simulate it with a correct diet and regular exercise.
        >should you eat something you can eat
        You what? I can eat bark and yet I don’t because I have access to better food. Yet I still restrict what I eat because I know what will happen if I don’t.

        1. Have you tried a vegan diet? Cause I tried the meat-dairy-egg diet as any other vegan around. If you think that sugar will make you weak you are very far from the truth. Eating candy…yes. Processed sugars are very wrong. But fruits are very different. You’ll get more strenght, endurance, you will recover faster, heal faster, or simply put, you will thrive on fruit, plants, on carbs, generally speaking. We are tropical beings. That’s why the more clothes you need the further you go North. We had access to fruit 24/7, all year round, and we enjoyed it, it was our food of choice. We are born with the taste for sweet. All other tastes are acquired. We don’t have claws and large canines to devour flash, that’s why we have to cook it. Human milk has the least amount of proteine out of all mammals. Even mice milk has more protein. Our digestive system is very similar to other Primates. Primates food of choice is also fruit. Feel free to check depression levels on workers in slaughterhouses. We’re not comfortable when killing animals, in nature we rather enjoy looking and observing them. We can kill them, if we have to, but we’re not happy about it. This is the reason why humans won…the power to adapt. We can eat all the crap imaginable for us to survive, but survival food should never be the food of choice. Look at China….developping country. What do you think peopke do in such places? They start eating more and more animal products. Now check their health curve for diabetes, heart disease and cancer for the past 20 years and draw your own conclusions. I mean, signs are everywhere.

      2. The fruit/veg part of your diet is right on. But it’s how you eat the fruits/vegs that is important. I squeeze my own or buy pricey pure fruit/veg drinks. I mix 1 lemon squeezed with 1 cup bolthouse carrot and 1 cup bolthouse daily greens kale juice. Then I squirt 4 oz molasses and mix in canteen. You sip it slowly and with 6 eggs/fish breakfast powers me through the day.
        Kids are advised not to drink fruit juices due to weight gain but this is wrong. It’s how you drink juices that is critical. You must drink slowly. Notice how fat kids slam and chug their juice and milk like it was water? You drink milk slowly like when you’re nursing off a teet – a few mililiters at a time and slooowly. It took all day to feed me as an infant as I remember. I’m grown now and fast at everything. Except fucking. It takes me all night. Sheesh.
        Also pure fruit/veg juices should be sipped slowly and not chugged like water or gatorade. Water is the only drink you can chug but nutrition drinks have to be completely broken down in your mouth by saliva with each sip – predigested if you will. If you could imagine taking a funnel and dumping 10 apples and grapefruits down your hatch without chewing any of it, that’s exactly what you’re doing when you slam down a juice drink – and you would also get indigestion and bloating. With drinking juices and vitamin/power/protein concotions, you never gulp, slam or chug them. You must let your saliva thoroughlly break down each small sip. Therefore I have a minimum diameter coffee straw in my container, slowly sipping every munite or so and I manage to get down one cup or so of my lemon/veg & protein power drink over a period of an hour while working or doing energy activities. With heavy citrus like pure lemon added, the stomach actually shrinks when you gradually break each sip down before swallowing.
        I’ll add the molasses is an excellent source of carbs and minerals. The way molasses is made is they press whole sugar cane plants under immense pressure and the dark colored goo known as molases is a byproduct of the final distillation of refined sugar. Molasses is the only nutritious part of the plant. The refined sugar is worthless and devoid of nutrients, but the molasses sediment that settles at the bottom of the processor contains so much source iron, calcium, magnesium and several other minerals that you can actually taste the minerals in the molasses. It is simply rich as hell in source minerals. With molasses, you’re getting everything good out of the sugar cane plant in concentrated form and it is a fine sweetner with quality carbs. Similar to raw honey, molasses too is right up there with mama’s milf. Err . . . milk, sorry.
        I also follow the blood type diet protocol so my protein source is egg, chicken, nuts, white fish. Beef is for O’s so I don’t go much for dessicated liver powder for lifting.
        In a calamity or disaster when you must rely on a survival diet, then anything goes for basic maintenance, bark, shit, hatian shit cakes with hair, year old twinkies from a robbed vending machine, you name it. But during good times you should build up your body with the good stuff and with foods that are right for your blood type. I always plug the blood type diet and swear by it. It fixed my shit big time some 15 years ago and I probably wouldn’t be here now if I hadn’t discovered the blood type diet – – or I’d be shitting in a plastic bag stuck to my belly or I’d be on pills for this and that and shooting insulin. I’m better and stronger for the blood type diet now whereas I’d surely be a messed up ugly motherfucker with a handicap tag on my rear view mirror without it by now. I’m more driven to approach quality trim/eye candy too than I ever was back then before I cleaned up my retarded western diet!
        The blood type diet. I preach it to chicks all the time. I call it the stolen library book diet – check it out:

        Basically foods good for one blood type are bad for another. Some foods (people’s foods) are good for all types like pineapple or broccoli.

  4. For the love of God, we are Primates, we run on fruit, nuts and veggies, ocassionally some fish(think 2-3times/month at most). Stay away from stupid diets “to built mass” , if health is your concern. You can add rice, corn and beans too into your diet. Watch “What the Health” for details, start educating yourself, it’s 2018 already, go on for in-depth analysis of foods, come on, stop with this old school diet articles that will limit your well-being.

    1. @Soyboi
      Evolutionary speaking, humans are scavengers and we’re designed to go for prolonged periods of time without eating (i.e. fasting). When a group of neanderthals were able to catch a wild beast, they devoured every inch of it. When they came across berries, they ate those. What out ancestors didn’t have access to is the processed, high-fat and high-sugar foods that are readily abundant. This is not rocket science. To think that we’re vegans is so idiotic. Let’s just say that if we were designed to sit in the grass and graze on it, we wouldn’t be nearly as big or as muscular.

  5. There is no such “thing” as a licensed personal trainer. This author has never taken biochem 101. He knows nothing about ketosis. Shame on you for publishing this fake nutrition article.
    This article is written with 1970’s concepts. Enough!

  6. Who gives a fuck what anthropologists say?
    Let’s just go with simple observation, starting with me.
    Do I want to build more muscle? Fuck no, I’m fine as it is with my calisthenics build. I do not want more.
    Do UFC fighters want to build more muscle? Nah, they’re mostly minimally built guys. Too much muscle is not metabolically efficient in martial arts.
    Do soldiers want to build more muscle? See above.
    Did 18th century Europeans want to build big muscles? The art and photography of that period does not indicate this. It wasn’t necessary back then.
    Go to any non-Western nation and take a good look around. Building these cartoonishly large frames full of useless muscle is a uniquely Western obsession. An ignorant fixation with big things for their own sake and never a thought as to function.

    1. These days there are also very succesful asian and muslim bodybuilders; it’s just that the westerners tend to be better able to afford that sort of thing.
      Function is relative to your interests and needs. Looking masculine and impressive gets your foot in the door faster than being a 18th century UFC fighter because looks matter in this world and most of your looks come from your body even though the face is more important relative to surface area.
      I can see why some people might have negative associations about bodybuilding but remember; you make your image of bodybuilding and not the other way around. Having a great body will not cause you to lose your intelligence or achievements.
      But I can infer that you’re not ready to make a big investment in this area of your personal attractiveness and SMV right now, which is fine. All guys should invest in something but not every guy can invest in everything; we should just learn to appreciate each others’ unique choices.

    2. Yes, UFC fighters want to build muscle you fucking idiot. Just not to the extreme Body building competition levels.

  7. Im not gonna comment on right or wrong diets. I will say what works for me: I lost 48 pounds five years ago and ive been in great shape since. The diet was basically a carb cycle that I follow to this day.
    Thursday night thru saturday i eat my favorite carbs and lift weights. Sunday thru thursday afternoon I eat salads and protein. Life is great. It takes time to put on muscle like this, but ill never get fat again. Plus the cheat meals go directly toward energy in the gym.
    So i have made gains of about 5 pounds lean muscle per year…. not miraculous, but healthy. And the number 1 factor for gaining muscle is NOT diet. Its hard fucking work. If your desired muscle group isnt sore the next day, youre probably not growing. Just try not to hurt yourself. Lower weights with good form is better than heavier weights with sloppy form. Injury sucks and is the enemy of progress!

    1. Soreness is no indicator of gains boyo. Anybody can be sore from a catabolic workout. In fact that is guaranteed.
      Running for 7 hours can make me sore but it won’t grow my legs

  8. I eat roughly 200 grams of protein every day of the year, with some exceptions when being hungover or traveling. Seems beneficial for health and muscles:
    In resistance-trained young men who do not significantly alter their training regimen, consuming a high protein diet (2.6 to 3.3 g/kg/day) over a 4-month period has no effect on blood lipids or markers of renal and hepatic function. Nor were there any changes in performance or body composition. This is the first crossover trial using resistance-trained subjects in which the elevation of protein intake to over four times the recommended dietary allowance has shown no harmful effects.”

    1. The point isn’t whether protein is bad but if 200 grams is necessary. If you like protein though go ahead. I made my best gains eating just about 125 grams a day and I weighed around 180 and was under no gear either. Carbs fuel workouts don’t forget.

  9. Author’s got a point. Although excess carbs are definitely bad, the endocrine response (insulin vs. cortisol) to them can be beneficial if it’s at the correct time. Example: cortisol levels are highest just after waking up in the morning. Having some carbs for breakfast will cause insulin to increase, thereby suppressing cortisol. We all know the negative effects of too much cortisol. Moderation is key.

  10. This is why I usually eat what my great great grandparents ate. It agrees with my digestion more than any fad or “new system”. Yes, I eat carbohydrates. Yes, I eat fat. Yes, I eat sources of protein that aren’t meat-based. No, I don’t eat junk… My ancestors ate a balanced diet and rarely over-consumed anything. They trusted what their bodies told them to do. When you work your body to exhaustion, then when it tells you to eat, you’d better eat.
    Besides, they were long-lived strong farmers who worked the land till their hands bled. Seeing as my life is going in that direction as well, who better to look towards than my ancestors? I don’t care about tracking muscle gain or anything of the sort, as I am not looking to become an athlete, but I do know how to move myself along efficiently.

  11. I have type O blood and a definite bent towards being a carnivore to the max. I do like and crave carbs but for my situation they are definitely not my friend if I make them my primary source of nutrition. Lots of meat, fruits and vegetables works for me. Also, despite my advanced age I hit the gym and the weights hard several times a week. These one size fits all solutions to eating and health leave me both amused and frustrated. We are all different. Find out what works for you and for me it is definitely not carbs.

  12. Keep in mind there are two basic protein types: Virgin protein derived from plants and genetically modified proteins from animals.
    Typical human consumed animals (cow, pig, lamb, fish, horse, etc.) get their protein from plants. The animals systems break down the protein to fit into their DNA through a process called proteolysis. Hence meat based protein is genetically modified at least once. More so for animals fed other animals….

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