I would begin by saying that I can’t tell you “How much protein, carbs and fat do you need for muscle building?” Actually, no one can and if someone is saying that they have the exact amount then he/she is lying and I’ll prove how they are lying. To understand it correctly we must understand the function of these three macro nutrient. Each of these macro-nutrients have several functions but one function among all these is common and that is providing energy to your body.
Energy provided by these macro-nutrients:
- One Gram Fat = 9 Kcal
- One Gram carb = 4 Kcal
- One Gram Protein = 4 Kcal
Now, suppose you need 2000 Kcal of energy for your every day use. So, the proportion of these macro-nutrients should be such that the combination must be equal to 2000 Kcal.
Another function of protein is to build or maintain muscles and another function of fat is to build a protection layer beneath the skin. FYI, your brain is entirely made up of fat. But, the function of carbs is to provide energy. Either directly or by getting stored in the form of glycogen to be used later.
The reason why no one else can tell how much carbs you need!
The carbohydrate is the primary source of energy for our day to day task. For example, if you need 2000 Kcal energy per day and you are providing 50-75% of energy through carbs, then your body will remain in an anabolic state. But, if in case the carbs intake is less, say 20-30%, so to compensate for that energy deficit, you body will use protein and fat as energy source.
What happens now is that, the protein you were eating for building muscles is now being used as an energy source, which is a very bad deal, as you all know protein is much-much expensive than carbs. If the carbs intake is even lower, then after using the protein in your food, your body will start breaking down your muscles for energy. You might have seen people who get lost in some stranded place for a very long time, they lose major portion of their muscle mass.
So, for building muscles, you need to have ample amount of carbs. And, when I say ample I mean the amount which will satisfy your energy need and refill your muscle glycogen levels. But, is this amount equal for everyone? Obviously not. The energy consumption of every individual is different. A person who sit all day on the chair needs less energy than a person with a job that requires constant walking.
So, for a person with low daily physical activity, a 1000 Kcal might be more that enough and if that person eats more than that then the carbs will be converted into fat and stored in your body. On the other hand, a person with lots of physical activity might eat 3000 Kcal per day and still it might not be enough for him.
So, next time someone tells you to eat 2000-3000 Kcal without knowing the amount of physical activity your body engage in, tell him/her to shut up.
Only you can tell, how much carbs your body needs!
First of all, can you measure the exact amount energy you consume everyday? Probably not! Hence, it is impossible to know much energy you’ll need in a day. But, what you can do is analyse. It is a simple process:
- Begin with high amount carbs diet for 2-3 weeks.
- Analyse the difference in the belly and face fat.
- If your belly fat increased considerably then you are eating more carbs than you need.
- If your belly fat is almost the same and your muscles size has increased, then that is the carb amount suitable for you.
- If neither your belly fat and nor your muscles size increased then you are eating less.
- If fat has increased then lower the carbs intake a little bit and analyse for 2-3 weeks.
- If fat has decreased than increase the carbs intake a little bit and analyse for 2-3 weeks.
- Repeat this until your belly fat is not increasing and your muscle size is increasing.
This is the only way to know the carb requirement. There is no hard and fast rule, every individual is different, so is their carbs requirement.
How much Protein do you need to build muscle?
Since the time I thought of going to gym and building muscles I have been listening about “how much protein one needs to build muscles.” You might have read a million times that you need 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of your body weight. I am not saying this is wrong nor I am saying that it is right. All I am saying is that “it depends.” I’ll explain this with the help of an example. See the two pictures below:
In the two picture, both of them have nice muscles but one is bulky and the other is lean. Now, I ask you one question, which of them do you think had 1-1.5 gram of protein per pound of the body weight? Obviously, the bulky one. So, first of all, you have to decide what kind of physique do you want and depending on that your protein intake should vary.
Greatest myth about protein – Protein can’t make you fat
Again as human, it is our duty to analyse every statement before accepting it as the truth. I’ll give you an example, there is a person called BOB. He sits all day long, doesn’t go to gym or do any other physical activity. Suppose, if he starts eating 150 grams of protein, what do you think will happen. And, please don’t say that the protein will automatically be converted into muscles, because if that was true, then there would have been no gyms in the world.
So, what will happen to protein?
The protein will either be eliminated from your body through urine or it will be converted into fat. Some people think that protein is not stored as fat but even if it is true it does indirectly make you fat and I’ll tell you how. As I have told before you need certain amount of energy for daily tasks and rest of the excess calorie is stored as fat.
And, when you have lots of protein and don’t exercise enough, that protein will be used as energy and carbs won’t be needed. And, hence the carbs will be converted into fat. People who still claim other wise, should do what BOB did and they will know what I am saying.
So, how much protein?
For a man with average built, 56 grams of protein per day is minimum requirement to maintain muscles and properly perform natural chemical process. So, for building muscles you obviously need more than that. But how much more? Again it depends. To build muscle you can have 70-100 grams of protein everyday.
If you train practically every day, you need more protein to recover quickly, but if you train on alternative days, you need relatively low amount of protein. The more intense your workout is, the more protein you need. It is simple logic, the heavier you lift and the more intense your workout is, the more muscle fibres will break and hence you’ll need more protein to repair them.
As we have discussed earlier, you need 10-15% of your energy from fats. But, due to the mass hysteria that exist now days in the fitness community, people try to stay away from fats of every kind, which is not at all healthy. From you cell boundaries to your skin everything is made up of fat.
You might have heard a million times that you should not eat the yellow part of the egg, it is write to some extent. If you are eating 8-12 eggs per day then it won’t be wise to eat egg yolks of all of them. But, if you are eating a couple of eggs or a little more then you should eat whole egg.
A LITTLE CALCULATION:
Egg white contains 60%(say 6) of protein, Egg yolk contains 40%(say 4) of protein
If you eat egg white of 4 eggs you are getting 24 units of protein and if you are eating 2 whole eggs, then you are getting(6X2+4X2) 20 units of protein. So, you are planning to eat 4 eggs white, better eat 2 whole eggs without wasting anything.
Don’t worry too much about any fat, as long as it is coming from a natural source. But, you should avoid junk food or chips or trans-fat in any other form.
You should never completely stop eating fat, instead you try a natural source. What really happens is that first you avoid fat for some time but after sometime you start craving for it and you end up eating chips or other junk food.