Fitness Nutrition Forums

Myth or Fact: Extra Protein Helps You Gain Muscle


Athletes and people trying to gain muscle do need more protein than sedentary individuals. However, adding extra protein to your diet isn't a guarantee you'll boost muscle mass, and getting more protein than your body can use might be problematic.

Muscle Building Protein Needs

To help boost lean muscle mass, aim to consume 1.2 to 2.2 grams of protein for each kilogram of your body weight, suggests a review published in 2014 in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. This equates to 0.5 to 1 gram of protein for each pound of your body weight daily. For example, a 150-pound man who wants to gain muscle should aim for 75 to 150 grams of protein per day to build muscle mass.

Minimum Protein Requirements

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is the amount of protein that is estimated to meet needs of the general population. The RDA for protein is 46 grams for women and 56 grams of protein daily for men, notes the Institute of Medicine. However, based on the recommendation from the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, protein RDAs appear to fall short when it comes to boosting muscle mass. You will likely require extra protein if you want to build muscle.

Exercise Considerations

While extra protein is often needed for effective muscle building, it won't do any good if you're not working out regularly. Resistance training, like weight lifting, pushups, squats, lunges, and using resistance bands, is the key to increasing muscle strength and size. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests completing one to three sets of 8 to 12 repetitions if you're just starting out, and three to six sets of 1 to 12 reps if you're a more experienced weight lifter.

Getting Too Much Protein

Eating more protein than your body can use for muscle building isn't necessarily beneficial. A study published in 2011 in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition reports that the maximally beneficial amount of protein your body can use is 2 grams per kilogram of body weight, equivalent to about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight daily. A review published in 2006 in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism suggests limiting protein to no more than 1.14 grams per pound of body weight daily to avoid potential negative health effects from excessive protein intake.


The Nutrition of Greek Yogurt

An experienced health, nutrition and fitness writer, Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian and holds a dietetics degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also has worked as a clinical dietitian and health educator in outpatient settings. Erin's work is published on popular health websites, such as and

{{ oArticle.title }}

{{ oArticle.subtitle }}