When you look at all the available research, instead of one single study you begin to see the big picture. Realistically, you can expect to gain between 2 to 5 pounds of lean mass in 2 to 4 months by working out. There is evidence to suggest that you might be able to gain about 7 pounds of muscle by working out and upping your calorie intake by 2000 calories. Of course, you could get the exact same result by taking creatine, without any potential for gaining body fat.
These results lead me to say that protein still has a role in everyone’s nutrition plan, and is an essential nutrient that is obviously important for building and repairing muscles. In fact, from my understanding of the research I think it makes sense to try and consume SLIGHTLY ABOVE the recommended amounts, aiming for around 70-120 grams of protein per day, depending on your body weight and current calorie intake. I suggest bigger men aim for the upper end of this scale, and women aim for the lower end of this scale.
But despite all the hype I just don’t think we need to be paying good money for massive amounts of protein powder, jumbo-sized packages of chicken breasts or consuming 6 dozen eggs per week. Nor do I think we need to be obsessing over eating our protein right after our workouts, if the amount we get in our diets will serve our purposes just fine.
After all, gyms around the nations are full of young men who regularly consume thousands of dollars worth of protein supplements. Take a look at the ones who aren’t secretly on steroids (you probably know who they are) are they really any bigger than they were two months ago? For that matter even 2 years ago? Professional bodybuilders regularly consume massive amounts of protein and are on doses of steroids so high they would stop a horse’s heart, but they are extremely happy if they are able to put on 10 pounds of muscle over an entire year. This is a great reminder that even when using steroids muscle growth is a slow process.
Finally, look at your own progress. Have your muscle gains exploded since you started counting the grams of protein you eat? My guess is probably not. In fact, your greatest gains in muscle mass probably occurred when you first started lifting weights. When you didn’t even care about how much or type of protein went into your body. You probably ate when you were hungry, lifted when you needed to, and your muscles grew like a weed.
This exceprt is taken from the ebook “How Much Protein” by Brad Pilon.