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Build muscles but streamline your protein intake, say Omani bodybuilders

6 Jun 2023 protein By HUBERT VAZ

Protein (found in every cell and tissue in the body) has many vital roles, the key role being supporting, repairing and maintaining muscle growth. The moot question is, how much protein do you need to build muscle?

If you’re on the muscle building bandwagon, protein is the focus of your daily diet… but how much is just right for you?

Will your youthful indulgence in protein to build muscle ensure that you stay fit and fine for long or will it take a toll on your physique in the long run when your fitness regimens decline? Such concerns often disturb youth who are into shaping up in their late teens and early twenties.

Research indicates that consuming less protein than the body needs is linked to decreased muscle mass. In contrast, increased protein intakes may help increase strength and lean body mass when paired with resistance exercise.

Protein is made up of amino acids that act as building blocks for cells and tissues in the body. There are 20 amino acids that combine to form proteins.

While some can be synthesised by the human body, others cannot. The nine amino acids that the body cannot make are called ‘essential amino acids’ and these must be obtained through diet.

When a person eats protein, it is digested and broken down into amino acids, which are involved in many processes in the body, including tissue growth and repair, immune function, and energy production.

protein 2

“The recommended dietary allowance for active adults is 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight, but new research suggests a little more (1.2-1.7g) in combination with physical activity is ideal. I would recommend consuming a combination of natural proteins – mainly white meats (chicken, fish) for lower cholesterol, fat and sodium levels – with protein supplements,” says Al Warith al Harthy, bodybuilding coach.

Accomplished bodybuilder Bilarab Moosa al Salami added, “Youngsters intending to build muscle along with their exercise programme need to consume around 500g t0 750g of protein a day to develop a good body. This can be possible by including 150g chicken, 5-8 eggs, and 180-200g beef, besides ISO protein shakes once a day.”

According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, most healthy adults over 19 years old should get between 10-35% of their daily calories from protein. (One gramme of protein provides 4 calories.) This means that a person who eats 2,000 calories per day would need to consume between 50 and 175g of protein per day.

The current RDA (recommended dietary allowance) of 0.8g per kg of body weight for protein is based on the amount required to maintain nitrogen balance and prevent muscle loss. However, extending these recommendations to active individuals who are looking to build muscle may not be appropriate.

When it comes to building muscle mass, the ideal amount of daily protein a person should consume varies depending on several factors, including age, gender, activity level, health, and other variables.

Here is what the latest research says:

One 2020 meta-analysis published in the journal Nutrition Reviews found that protein intakes ranging from 0.5 to 3.5g per kg of body weight can support increases in lean body mass. In particular, researchers noted that gradually increasing protein take, even by as little as 0.1g per kg of body weight per day, can help maintain or increase muscle mass.

Another 2022 meta-analysis published in the journal Sports Medicine concluded that higher protein intakes of around 1.5g per kg of body weight daily paired with resistance training are required for optimal effects on muscle strength.

Researchers noted that the benefits of increased protein intake on strength and muscle mass appear to plateau at 1.5 to 1.6g per kg of body weight per day.

Best protein sources

Animal-based protein sources:

Lean meats



Fish and seafood

Dairy products

Whey protein powders.

Plant-based protein sources:






Soy products

Plant-based protein powders

How much is too much?

Doctors generally agree that healthy adults can safely tolerate a long-term protein intake of up to 2g per kg of body weight per day without any side effects. However, some groups of people, such as healthy, well-trained athletes, may tolerate up to 3.5g per kg of body weight.

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