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How Much Protein Is Too Much in Bodybuilding?

How much protein to consume everyday? (Image via Pexels/Photo by Malidate Van)
How much protein to consume everyday? (Image via Pexels/Photo by Malidate Van)

There’s no fixed answer to "how much protein is too much in bodybuilding?" This is primarily because the protein intake depends on each individual’s daily calorie consumption, along with a few other factors such as their current diet and more.

However, that doesn't disregard the importance of a numerical figure, which determines an approximate amount.


How much protein is too much in bodybuilding?

If you’re following a traditional diet which is a balance between protein, fat, and carbohydrates, then it should have at least 10% of protein or 1-1.5g of protein per lean body weight.

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to determine lean body weight. However, 0.8-1g x body weight is another way to determine daily protein intake.

For example, if your bodyweight is 95lbs, you’ll protein consumption will oscillate between 76g and 95g. However, this is ultimately an approximate number.

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On the other hand, you can calculate how much protein you need by using the calorie method.

This method determines how many calories you’re consuming on a daily basis. Next, multiply the same with 10% to 30% depending on your workout and goals. With that being said, 1g of protein has 4 calories. Therefore, you can divide the number by 4 to find out how many calories from your daily intake should come from protein.

An example:

20% of 2500 calories is 400 calories.

400 calories divided by 4 calories is 100 calories.

Therefore, you should consume 100 calories from protein.

Ideally, you should stick to consuming 30% or less protein throughout the day.

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How much protein is used by the body?

Typically, whatever amount of protein you put inside your body will be utilized. However, not all of it will be used for protein synthesis, which provides the amino acids to build muscles.

According to the National Academy of Medicine, keeping your protein intake to 30% is an acceptable amount for protein synthesis. When you go beyond this number, the body starts using the excess protein as a source of energy by oxidizing it. This is something you should to avoid.

Ideally, your body should be using carbohydrates for energy. However, when you shift to a low-carb diet, your body should burn the stored fat for energy. At no point should you train or allow your body to oxidize protein for energy.

How much protein you should consume in terms of grams or ounces is directly related to your primary goals. Now, even if your primary goal is to maximize muscle building, you cannot fill up your entire diet with protein.

Your body can only use a certain amount of protein intake to push muscle building. Usually, this number is 30g but your body can digest much more than that.

When you provide your body with protein, the amino levels in your blood spike and the muscle-building process is initiated. Once this is initiated, adding more protein will not make the process faster or better. At this point, excess protein will be used for energy.

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Even on a Keto diet, which is primarily fat and protein, it is usually capped at 10% to 20% protein.


What happens when you consume too much protein?

There are side effects to consuming too much protein. How much protein you take in will determine your health in more ways than one. It could produce the following effects:

  1. You feel dehydrated
  2. You’re adding fat to your body
  3. There’s a lack in performance
  4. You feel constantly constipated

You need to avoid the above consequences by limiting your protein consumption to what is required by your goals and diet instead of filling up your meals with protein.


Bottom line

When you’re a bodybuilder, you’re using a lot of heavy weight to make yourself stronger and grow bigger muscles. This means that your muscle fibers will need protein to become thicker and stronger.

Even with that in mind, you don’t need more than 30% protein. An average gym-goer will consume probably 10% of protein from a 2,000 calorie diet. On the other hand, a bodybuilder will consume 25-30% of protein from a 3,000 calories or 4,000 calorie diet.

It’s important to remember that the more muscles you have, the more calories you will consume. A significant amount of protein from that high-calorie diet goes into maintaining your muscle mass!


Edited by Sijo Samuel Paul
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