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How Much Protein Do We Really Require?

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In my book, “Mind Becomes Mass: The Final Approach” I wrote this about protein…..

“Protein requirement is based on body-weight not what you do. It maintains your

existing muscle mass. It comes from the Greek word protos… first.


No matter how much more protein you eat, over and above your requirement,

you will not force your muscles to grow. Rather, it is the stimulus that creates the

growth then diet is the support. It is like going out into a cloudy day trying to get a

tan. You can put all the sun tan oil on you want, it will not force a tan.


Although not everyone agrees on the precise amount, it appears that the protein

requirement for an adult ranges from .75 to 1.25 grams per kilo of bodyweight. A

kilo is 2.2 pounds. My past experience tells me that .8 – 1. gram per kilo is fine. If

you are a 200 pound person, below is an example of your requirement.


200 divided by 2.2 = 90.9

.8 x 90.9 = 72.72

1 x 90.9 = 90.9


By the above example you require as a 200 pound person, whether bodybuilder

or social worker between 72.72 – 90.9 grams of protein a day. The diet exampled

in this section reached mid point no problem with that figure. Even if you went a

high as ½ gram per pound of body-weight, it would be plenty for even the most

advanced bodybuilder with plenty to support gaining new muscle.”

I could remember Mike Mentzer schooling me about protein. He said to me, “You are made up mainly of water! Does that mean by drinking more water you get larger muscles! “


This is what he said in his book, Heavy Duty Nutrition. (A direct Quote)

......"While some controversy exists regarding how much protein we need in our daily diets, most reputable sources recommend about one-half gram per kilo (2.2 pounds) of body-weight. Te be on the safe side, the RDA Committee (providing for disease, stress, and other possible problems) recommends .80 grams per kilo of body-weight. For a 220-pound bodybuilder, daily protein requirements would be 80 grams.

But the needs of bodybuilders are different because they train heavy and are growing muscle, you say? The fact is that protein requirements are dependent solely on the individual's body-weight, not physical activity. Under normal circumstances, protein in not a fuel source, so our need for it is not contingent on activity levels.

And just how much protein do you think is required for minuscule daily muscle gains? If we go back to our example and assume we are to gain 10 pounds of muscle in a year, how much do we gain on a daily basis? Divide 10 pounds of muscle by 365 and we find our daily average gain to be .027 pounds or only 12 grams, which is less than half an ounce! And mor than 70 percent of that 12 grams is water! So how much extra protein do we need to gain 12 grams of muscle a day, most of which is water anyway? Very little, obviously. I another section of this book, we calculated it to be about one extra gram of protein a day for 10 pounds of muscle growth a year. Hoe many bodybuilders gained even 10 pounds of muscle this past year? And how many are guilty of consuming excessive quantities of protein well beyond any and all possible need merely because the purveyors of the stuff said the needed it?".............


The reason I began thinking about all this again is because my wife Laurie and I decided for both ethical and health reasons, to become vegetarians. We do still eat some dairy such as eggs and cheese, but do not eat any flesh at all.

In making our switch to vegetarianism, my biggest question was how I get my protein. Well I asked this question to Mike Mahler who is also a strength athlete and a vegan ( you should check out his products also!!) he said “Regarding a vegan diet, I really like

Well it is not very hard at all and soon I found that I don’t have to do this second hand, I can get it right from our earth and bypass the middle men. i.e. eating animals. My point is this… as I have said and as Mike Mentzer has schooled me… we do not need a huge amount of protein to hit our performance goals. Use the above calculation and you will be in a great place to reach your goals.


Remember HIT it hard the Old School Way and then go home and let it happen!

Bill Sahli