T Nation

Calories/Protein

Been having a little debate over this for quite a while, seems like those boys over at Discussfitness.com dont know squat lol.

So anyways is it true you need an excess amount of calories to grow in muscle or is the protein the one that is most important?

Both are Important

Protein is the substance that builds muscle (after all, thats what muscles are made out of…protein)

However, for the protein to be used to rebuild and construct new muscle tissue, that would take alot of NRG (energy). Thats where the excess of calories come from.

So both are equally important. You cant just grow off of a calorie excess if the “building blocks” arent present in enough quantities.

But you need enough NRG so that the muscle building process can actually take place. I believe Christian Thibeaudau wrote an atricle about it, using a house as an analogy.

Another tid bit: some other NRG source besides protein has to be present (and evern greater) than protein. Essentially we’re dealing with carbs/fat. This is to prevent the body becoming protein adapted and start using protein for NRG instead of re-constructive purposes.

Here’s the link:

Nice explanation i like it :D.

Your response was perfectly fine until you decided to link that article forbes… ha ha

[quote]Rippemanewone wrote:
Been having a little debate over this for quite a while, seems like those boys over at Discussfitness.com dont know squat lol.

So anyways is it true you need an excess amount of calories to grow in muscle or is the protein the one that is most important?[/quote]

there’s actually a debate on this? For one, at the root of it, the question doesn’t make sense.

Of course you need excess calories to grow
And of course protein is important.

The amount of protein to consume is also an interesting topic.

I’ve heard that the science boffins in the US recommend a daily intake of .5g of protein per lb of bodyweight.

On Milos Sarcev series ‘the secrets of the pro’, he discusses the varying amounts of protein to take. He claims that Everybody, from competitive bodybuilders to stay at home mums, should take atleast 1g per lb of bodyweight, recreational bodybuilders take 1.5g per lb of bodyweight, while competitive bodybuilders take 2g.

In terms of excess carbohydrates, that’s a bit tricky, depending on your individual needs & how you metabolise the nutrients.

That is the MEANEST bathroom-tricep-flexing-photo avatar I have ever seen!

[quote]TheOlympian wrote:
The amount of protein to consume is also an interesting topic.

I’ve heard that the science boffins in the US recommend a daily intake of .5g of protein per lb of bodyweight.

On Milos Sarcev series ‘the secrets of the pro’, he discusses the varying amounts of protein to take. He claims that Everybody, from competitive bodybuilders to stay at home mums, should take atleast 1g per lb of bodyweight, recreational bodybuilders take 1.5g per lb of bodyweight, while competitive bodybuilders take 2g.

In terms of excess carbohydrates, that’s a bit tricky, depending on your individual needs & how you metabolise the nutrients. [/quote]

I agree w/Milos (1g/lb BW-minimum)closer to 1.5 even better. The majority of the protein should come from solid food 60-70%. Drinking four 50g protein shakes a day and eating a chicken breast is not going to get it done. Once protein is dialed in (as stated above) you have to do the work to determine how you handle carbs. I think good fats at 80g a day minimum is a good place to start.

MIlos made a really good point in the series.

A typical (whatever THAT means, lol) protein shake, takes about an hour to digest. So an hour after you’ve had your protein shake, the amino acids from that drink will start to be broken down into amonia. So you see, it’s not actually done when it’s consumed, but at the point of digestion.

Different foods break down at different speeds. Red meat takes about, 3 hours from memory, chicken breast takes 2, also from memory. Either way, this is the argument to have around the clock protein intake, so that there is a constant process of amino acids being broken down & protein synthasis is in action.

Anymore than 2g of protein per lb of bodyweight is prolly a waste!

I know a few guys, when they diet, mostly are on zero carbs & have a whole stack of EFA (essential fatty acids). I’m not sure how effective it is, since glycogen (carbohydrates) certinly has it’s place in bulking as well as fat loss. Usually the case tho, is that 20% of your calories fit into fats.

class dismissed haha

If you don’t consume enough CALORIES, all those important grams of PROTEIN you ate, will be burned as fuel, rather than used for muscle repair/building.

i try to eat 4 big meals a day consiting of 650 calories each and about 40 of protein each. Sometimes more then that, depending on the day. Ive made great gains from what im doin so far.

Oh and those goverment guys got it pretty close.
The RDA for protein is
Normal People = .8g/kg
Endurance Athletes = 1.2-1.4g/kg
Strength Athletes = 1.6-1.8g/kg
1.8g/kg isn’t too far off from 1g/lb.

Under most circumstance you will need an excess of calories to build muscle. It takes roughly 2500kcals of energy to build a lb of muscle. It is possible for some of this energy to come from fat stores, though it dosn’t happen that often is usually the exception to the rule.

So, eat to grow, got it.

1.4 - 2.2g of protien is all you need. (0.6-1g per lb of bodyweight) when you are in a claorie deficit it will be higher.

And yes you need to be in calorie surplus to put on muscle mass provided you are not a complete and utter newbie.

I’m bulking and usually don’t even hit 1.5g/lb protein and it works just fine for me. Majority of my calories are coming from carbs/fat - I carry a bit of bloat from 450-500g of carbs each day, but they are tastier than my ability to cook meat. And I still am not putting on fat all that quickly.

For gaining mass I would say caloric intake is much more important than huge amounts of protein (at least for how my body responds).

Also I’m pretty sure I’ve read that carbs are protein sparing.

I think it’s important to up the protein for cutting though. Not that I’ve really looked into a cutting diet too much. Maybe this spring since I’ll have probably put on enough fat.