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  1. #1
    Registered User KetoBob's Avatar
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    Protein intake and body recomposition question

    I've been trying to tweak my diet to get more protein in. Used to do keto, but need more protein so haven't been keto for some time now. A friend at work who's a body builder recommends a ton more protein than the oft-quoted "0.82g of protein/lb of body weight" as being adequate. I've been trying to do some body recomp - lose the last 5-6% of body fat (currently hovering around 15% or 16% as far as I can tell) while also gaining muscle. I've only been seriously working out for a tad over a year now. So I know it can be done, and I know it's a slow process. Problem is I'm not seeing the muscle mass gains. Very little. Say 1.5" on thighs since last July and 3/4" on biceps for example.

    I tried upping my protein so I'm getting 221g of protein on my 3 bigger workout days and a daily average of 184g/day for the week. I weigh 172. That should be more than enough. Problem is, I can't eat that much! I end up so full I literally cannot digest all that food in one day (the workout days are rough!). I'm almost never able to eat all the food on my food plan. I end up being over full and can't sleep.

    So, two questions -

    1. What is the minimum amount of protein actually needed to gain muscle? I'm hearing everything from 0.82g/lb of body weight to 2g+/lb of body weight. I'm talking about while doing body recomp. Not fond of the idea of the cutting/bulking cycles so many people do.

    2. From a body recomp standpoint, it is really only necessary to have a lot of protein on workout days to build muscle, and be able to eat less protein (and fewer calories) on non-workout days? I would think that on fasting days (I do intermittent fasting for anywhere from 16 to 24 hrs, twice a week), my protein intake shouldn't matter as much since on those days I'm not doing any lifting or intense exercise, just some cardio. I'd be in fat burning mode most of the day and not really breaking down muscle.

    My idea was to eat a good amount of fast absorbing carbs before my workout (I work out first thing in the morning before breakfast, usually fasted for 12-16 hrs) to increase my glycogen store and spike insulin, then load up on protein after the workouts to build up the muscle. On fasting days and the two other higher calorie days I'd just eat whatever, as long as it's a good balance of protein, fats and carbs.

    I'm still having trouble getting to grips with this because every online article and every person seems to have a different opinion. Any suggestions?
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  2. #2
    Registered User BromanianDL's Avatar
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    1. People are different. A few people actually benefit from near 2g/lb of protein a day, most people don't get any benefit from over 1g/lb per day. Don't worry about it too much. If you can't eat more than .82g/lb of protein, then it's going to be fine and your results will be 95% as good as a higher protein level. Nobody will ever be able to give you an accurate number with certainty.

    2.. If you want to gain muscle, you need protein all day, every day for best results. Fasting is never a good idea if you want to gain muscle. Your body has protein needs and if you don't meet them with diet, your body will break down your muscles to meet it's needs. Your body doesn't store protein for a long period of time, so for best results, no skipping meals. Your muscles grow on your days off... if you let them, and they need protein for this. Kapish?
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  3. #3
    Registered User KetoBob's Avatar
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    Ah I see! So keep the protein up on recovery days then too? Sounds like a plan. I just tweaked the numbers a bit, and my old diet was only giving me 105 g of protein a day so I was only getting 0.62g / day per pound of body weight. Some miscalculation in the food values numbers. I also re-did my diet plan just now so that I'll be getting 168g of protein every day, which is a bit less than the 184 I had just upped it to, but at that amount I'm sure I can at least finish all the food. That's probably more than I was getting when I set it at 184 but couldn't finish meals. I was probably in the ballpark of 150g or less per day, on average.
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