3

votes

Building muscle with less protein

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 24, 2011 at 8:40 PM

The 1 g (or even 1.5+ g) per lb of body weight standard seems to dominate, but how necessary is it?

In Arnold Schwarzenegger's book "Arnold's Bodybuilding for Men," (p. 214) he recommends only about 100-150 g of protein per day, and stresses that the perceived protein requirements for bodybuilders is excessive: http://books.google.com/books?id=bCcfV-bmeTMC&lpg=PP1&dq=arnold's%20bodybuilding%20for%20men&pg=PA214#v=onepage&q=protein&f=false

This topic also makes me wonder about issues like nitrogen balance in the context of bodybuilding, which I don't know much about.

In the same way that everyone does differently on various ratios of fat, protein, and carbs, can it be true that the amount of protein necessary to build muscle varies from person to person? Could calorie intake (as opposed to macro ratios) be much more important?

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on August 27, 2011
at 06:23 PM

I don't question that at all. I also don't question his potential use of performance enhancing drugs. Don't get me wrong. Love Arnold. Same as high carb, low fat, PEDs were a product of the time (hopefully less so now).

8c2d9e2db306fbe72d857fcea4ee8778

(100)

on August 27, 2011
at 04:06 AM

Arnold himself ate a shitload of protein as Mr. O, but his books, which were largely ghostwritten, were a product of the times and culture in which they were penned and hence advocated the high carb, low fat diet of the day...

8c2d9e2db306fbe72d857fcea4ee8778

(100)

on August 27, 2011
at 04:03 AM

Anabolic steroids are interesting in that they both allow you to gain muscle at the low end of protein intake faster than you ordinarily would AND allow you to benefit from a higher protein intake than would lead to greater gain if "natural"...

8c2d9e2db306fbe72d857fcea4ee8778

(100)

on August 27, 2011
at 04:00 AM

BTW, ASC is currently engaged in suing the person who is posting defamatory info on the web (He defrauded ASC for @$1 million), I highly suggest viewing ASC's videos on insulin, etc. online http://journal.crossfit.com/2010/04/insulin-body-weight-and-energy-production.tpl A reasonably good book by ASC which addresses the protein issue: http://www.amazon.com/Body-Rx-Connellys-6-Pack-Prescription/dp/0399147829

8c2d9e2db306fbe72d857fcea4ee8778

(100)

on August 27, 2011
at 03:56 AM

Cliff--email ASC for the citations, but I'm certain it's accurate, ASC is one of the most trustworthy people in the biz. No, Melissa, not Broscience at all.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on August 25, 2011
at 01:36 PM

broscience y'all

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on August 25, 2011
at 10:51 AM

wheres the human research that you can double your gains by eating absurd amounts of prot? his recommendations sound dangerous, he claims you can handle the pror fine but i'm not so sure. tje guys a scammer apparently http://ascottconnelly.com/

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on August 25, 2011
at 02:40 AM

It does when you are the Terminator!

D05e94d3fa7fbf32eb56445ad932f654

(773)

on August 25, 2011
at 02:06 AM

How many calories do you take in on workout days?

Medium avatar

(39821)

on August 24, 2011
at 11:45 PM

Protein synthesis doesn't occur ex nihilo.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on August 24, 2011
at 09:26 PM

Good question. I usually never go over 150 grams of protein a day, but I struggle to build muscle. I am only 130lbs by the way.

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8 Answers

1
Medium avatar

(19479)

on August 25, 2011
at 12:00 AM

An important consideration is protein utilization/digestion/assimilation.

I think that properly chewed, animal-source protein, run through a healthy digestive tract can allow the body to make good use of far less protein than the recommended 1-1.5gms/lb dose.

Glutamine and BCAA (taken on an empty stomach between meals) as previously noted by Jon can also allow you to take in less "protein" and still gain strength/stimulate hypertrophy.

0
8c2d9e2db306fbe72d857fcea4ee8778

on August 25, 2011
at 07:32 AM

The best response I've ever read on this subject comes from an interview with A. Scott Connelly, who probably knows as much about dietary protein and body composition as anyone alive:

"Q: In your opinion, how much protein should a serious strength-power athlete consume on a daily basis?

A: My real world answer to this question is to “consume as much as you can.” The response in muscle growth induced by resistance training to increasing dietary protein intake is virtually linear over a range of intakes that are attainable by human beings. For example human research shows that muscle mass gains are doubled by escalating intake of protein from two to three grams per kilogram of bodyweight. I have worked with subjects who’ve reached daily intakes of 400 grams per day with spectacular gains in LBM [lean body mass].

There are theoretical concerns surrounding the fact that any excess intake of amino acids over immediate requirements activate degradation pathways and that there can be finite limits to these mechanisms. In reality this is only an issue for the rare individual with genetic disorders of amino acid metabolism (phenylketonuria, for example) as the capacity for amino acid oxidation [burning] can be ramped up very rapidly to keep pace with intake values that are practically attainable. The pattern of consumption should be multiple feedings throughout the day with the protein content of each feeding representing equal fractions of the daily total. Disproportionate large quantities consumed at single feedings increases oxidative loss of amino acids as the system is geared to maintain individual plasma [blood] amino acid levels within certain limits of one another. Flooding the plasma with large excesses above physiologic ranges is immediately followed by irreversible oxidation of the excess."

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on August 25, 2011
at 10:51 AM

wheres the human research that you can double your gains by eating absurd amounts of prot? his recommendations sound dangerous, he claims you can handle the pror fine but i'm not so sure. tje guys a scammer apparently http://ascottconnelly.com/

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on August 25, 2011
at 01:36 PM

broscience y'all

8c2d9e2db306fbe72d857fcea4ee8778

(100)

on August 27, 2011
at 04:00 AM

BTW, ASC is currently engaged in suing the person who is posting defamatory info on the web (He defrauded ASC for @$1 million), I highly suggest viewing ASC's videos on insulin, etc. online http://journal.crossfit.com/2010/04/insulin-body-weight-and-energy-production.tpl A reasonably good book by ASC which addresses the protein issue: http://www.amazon.com/Body-Rx-Connellys-6-Pack-Prescription/dp/0399147829

8c2d9e2db306fbe72d857fcea4ee8778

(100)

on August 27, 2011
at 03:56 AM

Cliff--email ASC for the citations, but I'm certain it's accurate, ASC is one of the most trustworthy people in the biz. No, Melissa, not Broscience at all.

0
Ede6029838b9d17195c84bab64a5d88d

(181)

on August 25, 2011
at 03:37 AM

No one really knows for sure. Why don't you experiment with different ratios and see which one gives you best results? A side note, muscle building a la Arnold and health have very little in common.

0
072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on August 25, 2011
at 02:08 AM

I haven't read his book, and he may discuss what other "supplements" he used to build muscle, a few of which were probably not considered Paleo. Maybe extra protein isn't needed if you make other choices.

8c2d9e2db306fbe72d857fcea4ee8778

(100)

on August 27, 2011
at 04:06 AM

Arnold himself ate a shitload of protein as Mr. O, but his books, which were largely ghostwritten, were a product of the times and culture in which they were penned and hence advocated the high carb, low fat diet of the day...

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on August 27, 2011
at 06:23 PM

I don't question that at all. I also don't question his potential use of performance enhancing drugs. Don't get me wrong. Love Arnold. Same as high carb, low fat, PEDs were a product of the time (hopefully less so now).

0
6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on August 24, 2011
at 11:18 PM

You would only need 100g of protein when you are that jacked up on roids!

Medium avatar

(39821)

on August 24, 2011
at 11:45 PM

Protein synthesis doesn't occur ex nihilo.

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on August 25, 2011
at 02:40 AM

It does when you are the Terminator!

8c2d9e2db306fbe72d857fcea4ee8778

(100)

on August 27, 2011
at 04:03 AM

Anabolic steroids are interesting in that they both allow you to gain muscle at the low end of protein intake faster than you ordinarily would AND allow you to benefit from a higher protein intake than would lead to greater gain if "natural"...

0
8e204409aea24957ddbb2ac4fb75cf25

on August 24, 2011
at 10:16 PM

Like all things, individual variance is quite high. For most people, having a large caloric content from amino acids will be beneficial to gaining muscle. It sounds like some self experimentation may be appropriate. See if you can get away with consuming less protein and still build muscle.

Arnold is certainly a genetic freak, and more incline to build hypertrophy than most people, but he is no scientist.

0
4bf5827bfb7df85c5b4b485db0945e64

(1386)

on August 24, 2011
at 09:15 PM

I'd say, if you were going to try and maximize your anabolic potential, to make sure your testosterone and growth hormone needs are well-taken care of. Also, branched chain amino acids and glutamine should probably be emphasized. The BCAAs will help prevent muscle catabolism.

I think the whole nitrogen balance thing is kinda bunk. I'd like to see some legit papers on this. I remember reading all about this when I first started getting into weightlifting, 15 years ago, but I haven't seen it make a real difference in reality. I also read, back then, you could only assimilate 30g of protein or something similarly low per meal. Since eating Paleo, I put down much more than this in a meal and feel my muscle anabolism is still just as good.

0
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on August 24, 2011
at 09:11 PM

It will vary for each person. It would be the amount of protein that you can maintain your body composition.

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