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How Protein Can Help You Build Muscle

Are you looking for information on how protein can help you build muscle? Then read on to know all about this essential macronutrient.

When I started on my journey of building muscle, I did not know much about nutrition.

I ended up eating the regular food prepared at home without actually considering the important macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

That was a big mistake especially not tracking the amount of proteins that I consumed as it forms a crucial component of the muscle building process.

I hope to provide you with enough information so that you do not make the same mistakes that I did when it comes to protein consumption.

What is protein?

Protein is basically a collection of the building blocks known as amino acids.

There are 20 different types of amino acids and protein can be made from a combination of these amino acids.

Now based on the combination of amino acids, we can get a variety of different proteins.

So proteins from eggs contain a different set of amino acids than proteins from either meat or beans.

Now once the protein is consumed, the human body breaks down the protein into its building blocks of amino acids.

Once this is done, the body can then combine the amino acids into protein for the body.

Out of the 20 different types of amino acids, 9 are considered as essential amino acids. The body cannot create these types of amino acids and requires them from an external source of food.

Eggs, fish, and meat contain these essential amino acids are therefore considered as complete sources of protein.

Nuts, whole grains, and dairy products do not contain these essential amino acids and are therefore known as incomplete sources of protein.

So, vegetarians need to consume protein from a variety of sources so that they can get all the required amino acids including sources such as soy protein.

What are the benefits of consuming protein?

Helps build muscle mass

As we know, protein consists of building blocks known as amino acids. These amino acids are essential for the body to build muscle.

When you perform a workout that includes strength training, you basically will damage your muscle tissue. The idea is that when the muscle tissue repairs itself, it will grow stronger.

The most important components in the repair of damaged muscle tissue are the amino acids that you will get from protein that you have consumed.

Working out and not consuming sufficient protein may cause your body to break down the existing protein and lead to muscle atrophy.

Helps with weight loss

An essential component of weight loss is to undergo a calorie deficit where you consume a little less food than what your body requires.

However, a high-protein diet can definitely help in the goal of weight loss.

The reason is that protein-rich foods will make you feel more satiated than foods high in carbohydrates and fats. This will make you feel full for a longer period of time and help you avoid snacking on unwanted calories.

Helps to regularize blood sugar

The body makes use of insulin to metabolize the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats that you consume.

However, a higher amount of insulin is required for carbohydrates than what is required for proteins and fats.

So eating more carbohydrates and sugar will cause a higher fluctuation in insulin and blood sugar levels.

On the contrary, a high-protein diet means that your body will release lesser insulin and there will be a lower fluctuation in your blood sugar levels.

This will help your body avoid the risk of type 2 diabetes while helping your appetite and mood.

Helps to improve the mood

Some of the amino acids found in protein help to regularize hormones and improve your mood.

They also help to avoid anxiety and depression.

Since proteins also help to stabilize blood sugar levels they help you to avoid cravings and hence mood swings.

Helps to improve the brain functions

The brain needs a constant supply of amino acids so that it can concentrate, focus, and function properly.

So a high-protein diet can help to provide this supply to the brain and keep it functioning at optimal levels.

Why is protein essential for building muscle?

As mentioned, protein consists of amino acids that are the building blocks of muscle.

When you workout with heavy weights, you put stress on your muscles and they break down.

To make these muscles stronger as they recover, you need to provide them with a supply of the essential amino acids.

That is why it is crucial to consume a good amount of proteins that can be broken down by the body into these amino acids.

If you don’t provide the body with the required protein then the body can go into a catabolic state and break down the muscle that is already present in the body to get these amino acids.

How much protein do you need for building muscle?

If you are working out at the gym, then the thumb rule on how much protein you need is 1-1.2 grams per pound of body weight.

So if you weight 160 lbs and work out then you need to consume 160 * 1-1.2 = 160 to 192 grams of protein every day.

Note that if you are obese then this does not apply to you as you have a very high body weight. In your case, you can consider your target body weight for the calculation.

So if your target body weight is 180 lbs then you can consume 180 * 1-1.2 = 180 to 216 grams of protein per pound of body weight.


I hope you have now learnt all about this crucial component of building muscle.

You should now be able to understand what protein is and the benefits it can provide especially when it comes to building muscle.

You should also be able to determine the amount of protein that you need to consume as part of your nutrition on your journey to build muscle.

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