How much protein and carbs should you eat to gain muscle?

This article will answer the query “How much protein should you eat to gain muscle?”. Additionally, It presents relevant information about why it is important to consume protein and other nutrients for muscle gain, as well as when to consider using a supplement.

How much protein and carbs should you eat to gain muscle?

You should consume around 1.2 to 1.7 g of protein each kg of weight to gain muscle. For instance, if you weigh 80 kg, you should eat 96 to 136 g of protein.

The estimated amount of carbohydrates you require a day to gain muscle is from 5 to 7 g/kg. Assuming you weigh 80 kg, you should consume 400 to 560 g of carbohydrates a day (1).

Of course, your protein and carbs intake should be combined with exercise to promote muscle gain.

Why is protein important for gaining muscle?

Protein is important for gaining muscle because proteins contain amino acids, which are used by the metabolism to produce new tissues, including muscles (2).

Every time you do exercise, your muscle fibers get stressed. After workout, your body uses the amino acids to create new muscle fibers, these muscle fibers could be more strong and more resistant (2,3).

Why are carbs important for gaining muscle?

Carbohydrates are needed because the main energy storage of your muscles is glycogen, which is formed by carbohydrates. So, you will need carbs for your training. In fact, consuming carbs is essential for recovery after a workout, so your glycogen will be refueled for the next training (1). 

On the other hand, carbs induce your body to secrete insulin. Insulin will help to restore your glycogen storage and to prevent muscle degradation, actually, insulin helps your body to use Leucine for repairing your muscles (4).

What foods are rich in protein?

Meats, fish, and dairy products are the most common foods with high content of protein. Meat, fish, and dairy products contain high quality proteins with all essential amino acids (those the body can not synthesize) (5).

You can also find a good quantity of proteins in legumes, like beans, chickpea, pea, and lentils. The drawback of legumes is that their protein is not complete, it lacks two essential amino acids (Methionine and Cysteine) (5,6).

If you want to complement legumes’ protein, you can combine them with cereals like corn, oatmeal, or rice. Cereals lack Lysine, but they have Methionine and Cysteine, therefore, cereals and legumes can complement each other in terms of amino acids (6).

What foods are rich in carbs?

Foods with carbohydrates are pasta, cereals (for example: rice, wheat, sorghum, rye, oatmeal), breads, fruits, honey, and sugar (5).

It is important to note that not all carbs will work in the same way in your body. Simple carbs like glucose or sucrose (sugar) will be absorbed and used immediately; so these carbs are ideal to use after training or during your training, for example, in a marathon (4).

Complex carbs like the one found in breads and whole-grains requires a “preprocessing” in your body. Your body needs to digest those carbs before making them available. Therefore, complex carbs are better to consume pre-training (4).

What other nutrients are important for gaining muscle?

Not only proteins are required to create muscle. Your body will need energy, carbohydrates, and fats (1).

On the other hand, fats are also important for gaining muscle. Fats do not have special attention because they are commonly associated with being overweight and having diseases (1).

However, fats are needed for bodybuilding. Increasing your muscle mass requires energy, and fats are an excellent source of energy. Besides, the fat intake seems to increase testosterone, which promotes muscle hypertrophy (1).

The fat intake for gaining muscle mass is not well determined as proteins and carbs. Even though, the recommendation is that fats provide between 15 and 20 % of your total energy intake (1).

What is the best Time for Your Protein and Carb Intake for Maximum Muscle Building Effect?

The best time for your intake of protein and carbs is post-exercise. The evidence suggests that there is no difference if you consume it before or after, but taking your load of energy after training will help you to refuel your energy storage and start muscle repair (3).

Do you require protein supplements for gaining muscle?

No, you don’t need (strictly) supplements for gaining muscle. You can look for supplementation if you do not meet your protein or energy requirements (2,3). 

However, always ask for professional advice to define your energy requirements, and if required, the specialist will include supplements in your diet.


This article answered the query “How much protein should you eat to gain muscle?”. Additionally, It presented relevant information about why it is important to consume protein and other nutrients for muscle gain, as well as when to consider using a supplement.


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