How Much Protein Do You Really Need For Muscle Growth?

So my question is this, how much protein do you really need to gain muscle mass? There are claims thsat if you get enough calories you can eat a lot less protein, and then the 1 gram per 1 lean pound of body weight. It is hard to discern how much we really need. I was curious if anyone knew the ideal protein consumption while following the bulletproof diet. I know the macro breakdown says something like 70% fat, 25% protein, and 5% carbs, but is that an all encompassing amount, or just for maintenance? Is there a certain amount of protein you can get, and then after that just worry about eating a lot more bulletproof fats as far as muscle gains, i have trouble eating enough to get as much as I need (or think I need)?? I have noticed that I have seemingly gained more muscle from just eating more in general (mostly meats and compounded fat and protein meals) than I did getting all of my protein in, but didn't know which I should focus on more.The thing is I have problem either eating enough protein, or eating enough calories, my stomach never seems to hold much food. I hope this was somewhat clear lol and thanks in advance for any suggestions/advice


  • Okay so I know double posting is frowned upon, but I had an idea hit me, and was curious if I ended the Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting protocol and eat earlier, still keeping with fats and proteins if that would be okay as far as staying slim but gaining muscle. I would think I would be able to eat more, as I am usually hungry in the mornings a few hours after my first two cups of bulletproof coffee
  • I've struggled with the same thing. I get probably 400-500 calories from fat in the morning from BPC. I work an 8-5, usually some very light training in the morning (stretching, walking at sunrise) and then intense training (sprinting, kettlebells, weights) in the evening.

    I tend to get a light pre-workout meal (200-300 calories of all macros) around 3 PM, which gets me through the evening training, and then I consume my largest meal around 7-8 PM which is usually a large steak, pound of fish or an 6-8 egg omelet. This is generally with a sweet potato or squash, coconut oil/butter and a plateful of veggies. Easily 800-1000 calories from all macros.

    Back to your question, I have the similar problem. I like to finish meals before 8 PM so the morning walking and stretching can be fasted. I also like BPC to extend a fast. Like you though, I'm struggling to put on weight and it's probably because I don't eat enough. I should probably be around 3000 calories a day but I'm full around 2000. After my evening meal, I'm stuffed, so anything more would have to come between the noon and 4 PM window. Maybe a bigger meal then, but I am not too keen on having a huge belly full for the workout.

    I'm confident everything else is dialed in. Others to weigh in on this would be appreciated though...
    Life is one giant experiment.
  • I can't answer this directly but I think the one gram per one pound of body weight saw skewed from the original one gram per Kilo of body weight, which is a dramatic difference. Also, the type of protein you are getting is important. As Dave outlines, the amino acids in whey concentrate are more powerful than those in whey isolate. He claims you only need a few teaspoons of his whey protein powder to get all the necessary amount of amino acids for muscle building. I investigated this as I was skeptical at how little protein you got per serving of his powder (10g) or something. Anyways, between grass fed meat and protein from eggs, kale, etc, you really shouldn't need to supplement that much. Creatine is also a great supplement, both for mental performance and body building.
  • Hi JHunterW and KA24,

    First a question: You are doing the intense exercises everyday or what is exactly your schedule for this?

    What exactly are your goals, seems to me you are trying to gain muscle weight, so is your eating regime fitted for this, it seems not.

    I would try and change it and stick with that change for 30 to 60 days and see if that has any impact.

    For me at least i try to eat much more between 2 PM and 8 PM; eggs, whey protein concentrate, grass-fed milk, chocolate, avocados.

    Like you i also only drink BP Coffee in the morning, have a 9 to 6 job and like to exercise with kettle-bells, dumb-bells, clubbells, tabata style.

    But my exercise planning is more like a 4 day wave; 1st day No-Intensity, 2nd day Low-Intensity, 3rd day Mod-Intensity, 4rd day High-Intensity.

    No-Intensity is just pure yoga style poses, Low-Intensity is a more moving based stretching, Mod-Intensity is the same exercise routine as the

    High-Intensity but you need to hold back at 50% to 70% of your power and put all of your focus on technique. The High-Intensity is going for

    80%+ while maintaining form and technique and you push for more than the last High-Intensity day.

    This planning gives enough 'recovery' time to your body, doing High-Intensity everyday would very likely put a hold on your progress since

    you are not giving any time to your body to 'recover'.

    Let me know what you are thinking, i am curious what your goals are.
  • Using MCT oils is a very easy way to add calories to your diet. But remember, Dave doesnt believe in the whole calorie thing and neither do I.

    He also says that you need more sleep and more carbs if you are doing any athletic venture.
  • the 1 gram to 1 pound isn't particularly accurate, you should look into Layne Norton (a natural bodybuilding champion and record holder in natural powerlifting) he has a PHD and his thesis was on the whole protein synthesis etc and iirc he was saying that 8 meals with 30 grams of protein each was unnecessary(bodybuilding gospel) etc. I have a WPI shake post workout with water (usually in the morning after i train - feels invigorating for the rest of the day) then have a steak and salad(around 1) followed by some chicken or what have you at 3, then another protein meal at dinner.

    as for calories on one level it is broscience but on the other I have friends who eat 4000 calories a day in carbs/chicken and bulk heavily and then cut down to monitored deficits with chicken and broccoli and it works so...

    (I do a combination of strength/weightlifting training)
  • Eating more protein won't get you more muscle. What you need to do is be smart about the timing and usage of macronutrients -- all of them, not just protein.

    Dietary fats should be used for energy (so that you use more body fat for fuel during times when no dietary fuel is present, i.e. fasting). Triglycerides also feed muscle. A high-lipid diet has been shown in research to be more muscle-protective than a high-protein diet or a high-carb diet. (In fact a high-carb diet at a caloric deficit is the best way to lose muscle.)

    Protein needs to be just slightly above adequate -- so we're talking 1g per lb of bodyweight, or maybe 1.2g per lb of bodyweight at most. There's just not a lot of benefit from eating more, unless you are an MMA fighter and get a lot of injuries.

    Carbs are a drug, basically. You use them to create a strong anabolic effect via release of insulin and replenishment of glycogen. Insulin makes all cells grow, so eating carbs all day is a great way to grow fat. Keep the carbs to post-training only, ideally after using up all muscle glycogen, and the carbs won't have anywhere to go but muscle.

    Your body will grow muscle at a certain rate given the right conditions. More protein generally won't help.
  • Naomi, what's your thoughts on ingesting protein every 2-3 hours to keep a constant supply of amino coming in?

    I have done that for years and have put some quality muscle on. But i know Dave mentions a study that showed it didnt matter when you had the protein, either in 1 go or spread out. I believe he talked about this in a Podcast.

    Also I recall him saying that regular eating tells your body to use the food you are consuming for energy, whereas we are trying to tell our body to use the fat for energy and not to catabolise our muscle when we dont get food often.

    Would be interested in your thoughts
  • Thanks Jason, I am trying to get my head around BP diet and athletic performance also. Will go with your recomendation as a starting point, see how it works for me.

    I will be doing some self experimentattion image/smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

    I've read more about the intermittent fasting and the guys blog answers some of the "myths" I also asked, so thats helped a lot.
  • Interesting thoughts and feedback here. I've been easing into a bulletproof lifestyle for only a couple of weeks now and want to kick it into top gear once my BP Coffee finally gets here to Australia! The last month since I made my order has seriously D R A G G E D ! (Bought a grinder, Aeropress and dusted off the old blender in the meantime!)

    I've stocked up on grass fed beef at Establishment 218 by buying a couple of eye fillets since they're really nice bits of meat but mostly nice fatty scotch fillet cuts and beef cheeks etc. I've got a freezer full of grass fed Westgold butter in prep and a fridge full of bok and pak choy, carrots, zucchini, asparagus, celery, broccoli, cauliflower and avocado (I can't find Kale anywhere!)

    My cupboard is already stocked with Pink Himalayan Rock Salt, MCT oil, Apple Cider Vinegar and some vitamins to get me started (Magnesium, Potassium, Vitamin D3, A, C, and Krill Oil - appreciate any feedback on what to pick up with my next order!)

    I'm looking to shred the fat I've put on over the last year - year and a half but obviously want to maintain my muscle tone and better yet, rebuild what I've lost at the same time. I'm looking at starting the INSANITY home bodyweight workout, so it's very high intensity for 60 days.

    I'm a little worried that I might LOSE muscle and not have the energy for these workouts? So what I'm thinking I should be doing is starting my morning by breaking the fast with my BPC, keeping my protein up there with the beef/salmon etc, (I've also got 85% organic dark choc to snack on) a good WPC post workout shake mixed with water in the evenings (once this is all gone I'll order some Upgraded Whey) and a little bit of carbs such as sweet potato in my post workout meal? - which would be the last meal of the night.

    I want to do the IF, at very least for the first month or two and then judge my results based on that. Does this look to you all to be a fairly good start to achieve my goals? Appreciate any input! Thanks image/smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

    Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
  • 'Jason wrote:
    Seems alright, as you loose weight it will look like you are loosing muscle because its covered in fat, worry more about loosing strength, it's a better indicator that you need to up the protein. With that workout program you shouldn't need more than 50g of carb/day with a weekly reload.

    Thanks Jason. I do understand it will appear that I'm losing size but I'm more worried about the fact I have started growing moobs for the first time in my life (man boobs! haha image/tongue.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':P' />) and my belly is far too big for me to be comfortable at the moment. Admittedly it's not horribly huge but I've always been so fit through my life that my current state is really making me unhappy with my appearance.

    Hopefully I can just shred down to a more comfortable weight and size quickly and I will start working in weight training again once my energy levels start increasing. I'm thinking at least for now that the body weight workout at home will give me the kick up the butt that I need and inspire me to train harder/heavier.

    I would look at working in compound movements with basic lifts like Deadlifts, Squats and Bench Press as heavy as I can go with good form and keep it slow and controlled, maybe around 5 reps for 5 sets with 5 second concentric/eccentric pacing. Then support these major lifts with bent over rows, overhead press, lunges, stiff leg deadlifts, dips and pull ups at same pace but 3 sets for 8-10 reps followed by short intense cardio and ab work.

    I also have started Krav Maga training once a week so I won't lift those days so I have the energy to get thru the lesson and *fingers crossed* the INSANITY course will help me really go 100% with that.

    How do you recommend weighing it up? How do I know what is 50g of carbs for example? I love sweet potato so will stick to that as my carb source and maybe throw in something extra on my reload day... rice/wholemeal pasta maybe??
  • Definitely add BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids), see the post about the Bulletproof Rapid Fat Loss protocol. BCAAs keep the body from using muscle as a fuel source when added, and have proven to be a nice enhancer for me during workouts. Google BCAA and "muscle loss" to find plenty of independent takes on this. No need to take my word for it.
  • As someone who's only just discovered BP and spent the last 2-3 years lifting lots of heavy weights and reading everything I can about bodybuilding's really hard to break that thinking. Protein = good.

    Could we find a happy medium? For example those of us who want to put on muscle mass could focus on eating more of the protein components of the BP diet. Say me for example, I might eat more servings (or larger) of grass fed beef, eggs and drink 1 or 2 whey protein shakes a day so I'd end up getting more calories from protein but still incorporating many of the principals of the BP diet.

    I certainly don't mean to critisize BP...but if you head over to out some of the bodies there and some of the information relating to training and seems hard to argue that high levels of protein consumption (and carbohydrates sadly) lead to more muscle growth? I know we can all point to scientific studies (and so can they), but in reality the people who have achieved muscle growth have done it that way.

    I guess I'm coming to the conclusion that putting on large amounts of muscle mass and looking healthy is very different from actually being internally healthy (mind and body). Still...would be nice to modify the BP diet to allow me to achieve some muscle growth image/smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

    Dave seems to think Brown Rice isn't so bad....I'm wondering if a big feed of beef, eggs etc with veggies and brown rice would be ok post workout after a big weightlifting session of squats, deadlifts, bench press etc.

    Great info by the way...thanks everyone!
Sign In or Register to comment.