Protein intake and gaining lean body weight

Let's suppose you're male, you weigh 190 lbs. and you maintain your weight on 3000 calories per day. To gain weight you'll need to increase your calories. Specifically, you'd need about 3500 per day. Now let's do the math: 30% of 3500 calories is 1050 calories per day. 1050 calories divided by four calories per gram is 262 grams of protein a day. That's nearly 1.4 grams of protein per pound of body weight! The lesson: When gaining lean body weight is your goal, the one-pound per gram of bodyweight guideline doesn't work. This shows why the percentage method is more accurate at calculating your protein needs.

After everything we've discussed so far, you're probably wondering, "Isn't that entirely too much protein?" True, 1.4 grams per pound of bodyweight seems like an awful lot. However, there's a very logical reason for this extra protein, so stay with me for a minute. There's no scientific "proof" that protein intakes this high will grow more muscle, but that's not the reason for the extra protein. The reason is your protein intake has to go up along with your calories in order to keep your nutrient ratios "balanced."

You need more calories to gain weight, but if you added all the extra calories in the form of fat or carbohydrate, you would probably find yourself quickly gaining body fat! As bodybuilders know all too well, excess carbohydrates, especially in the presence of a calorie surplus, can easily cause fat storage. The same goes for dietary fats. A high calorie diet with 70% of the calories from carbohydrates might be okay for a long distance runner, but chances are, most people would get as "smooth" as a baby's butt!

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