Ep. #1118: Protein: How Low Can You Go With out Dropping Muscle?


Hiya and welcome to a brand new episode of Muscle for Life. I’m your host, Mike Matthews. Thanks for becoming a member of me in the present day for a shorter episode the place I reply a easy query that occurred to me once I was on trip a few months in the past. And that’s how little protein can I eat persistently for the way lengthy?

With out shedding muscle and the rationale that occurred to me whereas on trip is I used to be in Italy for a few weeks and once I’m in Italy, I wish to eat much more pasta and bread and risotto and so forth than Rooster and steak and fish. Though the fish is excellent. I do benefit from the fish, however I’m going to eat fairly a bit otherwise than once I’m at residence, for apparent causes.

And so I puzzled then, how little protein can we eat with out shedding muscle, and the way does that change given totally different time frames? So let’s say one to 2 weeks versus three, 4, 5, six plus weeks. And what if we add resistance coaching to the equation? How does that change issues? Or does it not change issues?

As a result of, coming again to trip, it’s possible for many of us to do, let’s say, no less than one full physique energy coaching exercise per week whereas on trip if we wish to. If we don’t wish to, there’s nothing improper with that. Don’t assume that you must. However if you’re so inclined, you most likely can determine no less than one full physique energy coaching exercise per week, even when it’s in a resort fitness center.

So you may be working with, let’s say, simply dumbbells and perhaps a few machines. Even then, you’ll be able to determine it out. And so all that’s what this episode goes to be about. How low are you able to go together with your protein earlier than you begin shedding muscle? Okay, so earlier than we get into the meat and potatoes of in the present day’s episode, a fast little primer on protein.

Protein is a big molecule made up of chains of smaller molecules known as amino acids. These amino acids are the constructing blocks of our physique. They play an important function in many alternative processes, together with constructing muscle, recovering from coaching, repairing muscle tissue. Our physique can create 12 of the amino acids that it wants from varied different substances, however there are 9 that it may’t create and we should get these 9 important amino acids from meals.

That is why we should eat protein to outlive and for this reason a excessive protein food plan is especially useful once we are doing a number of energy coaching or simply resistance coaching of any variety that will increase calls for for amino acids and people important amino acids particularly as a result of our physique has to restore the injury that we’re inflicting to our muscular tissues.

And if our coaching is about up correctly, we most likely are additionally going to be gaining muscle. So new muscle proteins have to be created. And that after all requires much more. Amino acids then are required to simply restore the muscle tissue and retain the muscle tissue that we’ve got and that’s why a big physique of scientific proof exhibits that one thing between most likely 0.

8 and 1. 2 2 grams of protein per pound of physique weight per day is perfect for these of us who do a good quantity of energy coaching, a good quantity of resistance coaching. If we’re in a power deficit, if we’re chopping and we have already got a good quantity of muscle, one thing nearer to 1. 2 grams per pound of physique weight per day might be higher than 0.

8. And if we’re in a upkeep section or a lean bulking section the place our energy are Roughly to our power expenditure that will be upkeep or the place they persistently exceed our power expenditure no less than by let’s say 5 or ten p.c that will be lean bulking then we don’t want as a lot protein 0.

8 grams to most likely one gram of protein per pound of physique weight per day goes to work simply in addition to 1. 2 grams per pound of physique weight. per day. And within the case of lean bulking, should you eat an excessive amount of protein, it truly may be counterproductive as a result of protein could be very filling. And after your first month or two of a constant calorie surplus, it turns into troublesome to simply proceed consuming sufficient protein.

Meals, you must power your self to maintain consuming. It appears like power feeding your self since you are typically by no means hungry. Meals has typically misplaced its attraction. Even the meals that you simply actually wish to eat, you don’t actually take pleasure in anymore and it turns into a little bit of a chore. And so below these circumstances, consuming extra protein than you must eat could make it even more durable since you are even fuller than you’d in any other case be.

And so when lean bulking, most individuals do higher. Check round 0. 8 grams of protein per pound of physique weight per day. Now these are some quite common speaking factors about protein consumption within the proof based mostly health house. You’ve virtually definitely heard all of that earlier than from me or from others, however one thing that’s much less talked about is.

The primary subject of in the present day’s episode, and that’s how little protein can we eat with out shedding muscle. And so let’s discuss that. Beginning with just a few components that we’ve got to contemplate. We’ve to contemplate our energy. Are we round upkeep energy? Are we in a deficit? Are we persistently in a surplus?

We’ve to consider coaching. How typically are we coaching? And we even have to consider. Our coaching expertise, how skilled of a trainee are we? Are we model new to resistance coaching or are we a number of years in or longer? So if you’re new to resistance coaching, so let’s say you’re in your first six to perhaps even 12 months, however definitely your first six months of energy coaching research present that you do not want to eat a lot protein to retain muscle.

So for instance, there was a examine that was performed by scientists on the college of Illinois, whereby folks new to energy coaching educated twice per week and consumed about 0. 4 grams of protein per pound of physique weight per day. And over the course of 4 months of weight-reduction plan, so persistently in a calorie.

Deficit, they misplaced a couple of pound of muscle on common, however that comes with an asterisk as a result of the scientist decided that with a handheld electrical system that passes {an electrical} present by your physique and measures resistance after which makes use of some math to find out. physique composition based mostly on the quantity {of electrical} resistance.

And people gadgets may be semi correct. They are often fully inaccurate. They are often persistently correct or inaccurate. However regardless, what they can’t do is inform you whether or not the muscle quote unquote that you simply misplaced was truly lean contractile. muscle tissue or was, say, intramuscular fluid like water and glycogen, a type of carbohydrate that’s saved in your muscular tissues that you’re going to lose when you’re weight-reduction plan.

And the rationale I deliver that up is We all know that people who find themselves new to energy coaching can lose fats and achieve muscle and energy on the similar time fairly successfully. And if you’re gaining energy in a deficit, you aren’t shedding muscle. You’ll be able to’t lose muscle and get stronger. And if you’re new to energy coaching and you’re gaining energy persistently, you’re virtually definitely gaining muscle as properly, even if you’re in a calorie deficit, there are exceptions to that.

Like, for instance, in your first month, perhaps two months of energy coaching, you’ll be able to achieve fairly a little bit of energy, however little or no muscle. And that’s primarily since you are studying to do the workout routines. You might be bettering your talent on the workout routines. You’re Enhancing your neurological neuromuscular effectivity, however after your first two months or so, if you’re nonetheless gaining energy as a brand new weightlifter, you’re gaining muscle, even should you’re in a deficit.

And so within the case of this examine that I simply talked about, it will have been good to see the. Outcomes of the train program. How did the contributors carry out in that program? Did they make progress? Did they get stronger over the course of that 4 months? As a result of in the event that they did, then I might guess some huge cash that the pound of muscle they quote unquote misplaced was not lean muscle.

Tissue, however at any charge, even when we ignored all of that and simply took this research findings at face worth shedding only a pound or so of muscle over 4 months of protein underfeeding of consuming about half of the low finish of what’s typically really useful for every day protein consumption. Consumption offers us some peace of thoughts then if we plan on consuming a comparatively small quantity of protein for a brief time period, one, two weeks, let’s say it’s a trip, particularly if we’re new to energy coaching and additional proof of that may be present in one other examine that was performed by scientists at McMaster College.

And on this examine, you had novice energy trainees. who educated twice per week for 4 weeks. They had been in a calorie deficit, so this was a food plan section. They usually ate about 0. 55 grams of protein per pound of physique weight per day. They usually gained a little bit little bit of muscle. And in order that additionally helps that 0. 4, perhaps 0.

5 grams of protein per pound of physique weight per day threshold for sustaining muscle, perhaps even gaining a little bit little bit of muscle. And within the earlier examine, these folks had been solely coaching. twice per week. And I do know many individuals don’t try this on trip. There’s nothing improper with that. You might be on trip to have enjoyable in the beginning.

However I’ve heard from many individuals over time who wish to work out a few times per week, do a correct energy coaching exercise a few times per week when on trip. I’m a kind of folks. So one thing else to contemplate with these research is that individuals had been in a calorie deficit, which makes for a physiological atmosphere that’s conducive to muscle loss, primarily as a result of it impairs muscle protein synthesis and impairs our physique’s potential to create new muscle proteins, to restore present muscle proteins.

And the impact is much less pronounced in people who find themselves new to energy coaching than people who find themselves skilled, but it surely. Is current nonetheless, and it is going to be extra vital when protein is restricted. And so my level was saying that’s should you’re on trip, let’s say you most likely should not persistently in a calorie deficit.

You most likely are in a constant calorie surplus, and that has the alternative impact of the calorie deficit that creates a physiological atmosphere that’s anabolic that’s conducive to build up. tissues is conducive to recovering from coaching and repairing muscle tissue and gaining muscle. And so I strongly suspect that anyone new to energy coaching might eat even much less protein, perhaps within the vary of 0.

3 grams of protein per pound of physique weight per day, and never lose muscle as long as energy are plentiful, as long as they’re persistently consuming no less than at upkeep energy and perhaps in a surplus, perhaps not daily. However let’s say should you’re on trip, you’re alternating between a slight surplus, which might be, let’s say it’s very slight, principally upkeep to a bigger surplus, you’re most likely not ranging between a bigger deficit and a slight surplus.

That’s extra like chopping with the occasional day of overeating. And I might really feel even stronger about that if the comparatively inexperienced trainee was additionally doing no less than a little bit bit of coaching over this era of protein underfeeding. One or two resistance coaching exercises per week, full physique exercises, simply to provide the muscular tissues a little bit little bit of a stimulus.

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Now, what about these of us who’re skilled weightlifters, these of us who’ve been coaching for various years, who’ve gained a number of muscle and energy? How does all of this play out for us? Properly, let’s take a look at a examine that was performed by scientists on the College of Birmingham. And on this case, athletes who had been coaching 4 to 5 instances per week, that was their regular routine.

They continued it, and so they had been consuming about 0. 45 grams of protein per pound of Physique weight per day, and through only a two week food plan, they misplaced about 3. 5 kilos of lean mass, together with fairly a little bit of muscle, so not simply intramuscular fluid that was misplaced there. One other examine that lends some perspective was printed within the Worldwide Journal of Sport Vitamin and Train Metabolism, and on this case, researchers discovered that consuming about 0.

7 grams of protein per pound of physique weight per day was sufficient for skilled weightlifters to keep up their muscle. Throughout a Two week weight reduction food plan, and that discovering is supported by two different research. In a single case, researchers discovered that 0. 7 grams of protein per pound of physique weight per day was sufficient for skilled weightlifters to retain muscle, to not lose muscle throughout a one week food plan interval.

In one other examine, it was that quantity of Protein per day skilled weightlifters two weeks of weight-reduction plan, and it confirmed an insignificant quantity of muscle loss. And so if we contemplate these research in addition to different research on the matter which have proven related outcomes, I believe we will confidently say that if you’re an skilled weightlifter, if you’re muscular, you’re sturdy and you’re chopping, you’re in a constant calorie deficit, a big calorie deficit since you wish to lose.

fats you shouldn’t eat lower than most likely about 0. 8 grams of protein per pound of physique weight per day. And if you wish to maximize muscle retention, it’s best to virtually definitely be consuming extra one thing nearer to 1 gram per pound of physique weight per day to even 1. 2 grams per pound of physique weight per day.

Now what if you’re not in a constant calorie deficit although? What if you’re persistently proper round your every day power expenditure? Typically it’s a little bit bit extra, generally it’s a little bit bit much less. What if you’re sustaining? And what if you’re in a constant calorie surplus? What if you’re lean bulking solely since you are on trip?

How a lot protein are you able to eat with out shedding muscle? Properly, I don’t have any single examine I can level to to reply that. Nonetheless, based mostly on the analysis that I’ve shared with you right here, in addition to different analysis that we don’t must get into, I believe it’s truthful to say which you can most likely go as little as 0. 5 grams of protein per pound of physique weight.

per day and retain your muscle once more, as long as you’re at upkeep energy or in a constant calorie surplus. And once more, just like the beginner state of affairs, I might really feel fairly assured about that. If we had been to additionally embrace one to 2 resistance coaching exercises per week, ideally simply full physique exercises work finest when you’ll be able to solely practice a few times per week.

I imply, I suppose should you’re going to coach twice per week, you possibly can additionally go for an higher or decrease. And. And which one you select might be largely simply going to be private desire. But when we add some resistance coaching as properly, doesn’t must be quite a bit, only a few units per main muscle group per week, or no less than the main muscle teams that you simply care probably the most about, then I really feel even higher about that 0.

5 ish to perhaps 0. 7 ish grams of protein per pound of physique weight per day. for an skilled weightlifter who desires to retain muscle. And one thing else price mentioning is I’ve been speaking about 1, 2, 3, 4 week durations. What about particular person days? Or what about 1 or 2 or perhaps 3 days of low protein? How dangerous is that going to be?

Properly, the excellent news is it’s not going to trigger any muscle loss by any means. You could possibly safely cut back your protein consumption to principally zero for a day with out shedding any muscle to talk of. And you possibly can eat little or no protein for no less than just a few days. Let’s say wherever between zero and perhaps… 0. 2 or 0. 3 grams of protein per pound of physique weight per day, and that’s going to pose no danger to your muscular tissues.

So, when you have a brief weekend journey, for instance, and also you wish to eat a bunch of tasty stuff that gives little or no protein, and also you don’t wish to lose muscle, Take pleasure in your self. You’re not going to lose any muscle to talk of, and should you do lose any muscle since you eat actually zero protein, which is principally unattainable as a result of even probably the most scrumptious meals comprise small ish quantities of protein, let’s say you eat little or no protein for a number of days, three, 4 days, and also you do lose a little bit little bit of muscle, and you then’re again within the fitness center and coaching, no matter muscle you probably did lose in that very quick time period, you’re going to kind of immediately regain, so simply don’t fear about it.

Thanks. And one last level I wish to point out picks up on one thing I simply commented on and that’s the residual quantity of protein in varied meals which are definitely not thought-about excessive protein meals. So let’s say you’re on trip and also you’re going to eat a number of excessive fats, excessive carb meals, or perhaps you’re not on trip.

You simply wish to do that for enjoyable for just a few days. So let’s say your breakfast is Half of a baguette and perhaps two ounces of full fats cheese and a croissant. That’s your breakfast. After which at lunch, that’s an enormous bowl of pasta. You’ve some cream sauce and you’ve got a cup of gelato for dessert. Clearly, we’re on trip in Italy.

And dinner is a big bowl of risotto, cheese. Peas, you eat some breadsticks and you’ve got a chocolate dessert of some variety. So that you do all of that and you are feeling such as you ate little or no protein. However have you learnt how a lot protein you truly ate? Take a guess. It’s a couple of hundred to 100 and ten grams.

Most likely a bit greater than You had been anticipating and in order that’s enough trip ranges of protein for a 200 pound man, not to mention a girl who might be going to eat smaller parts, however nonetheless she might simply get to 50 to 70 grams of protein per day. consuming like that. After which we additionally want to contemplate the times the place our protein consumption is increased as a result of we eat some meat, we eat some fish, we eat eggs, we eat some yogurt, perhaps even some excessive protein yogurt.

And so not daily is down there round 0. 4 however perhaps we’ve got a few days down there, 5 grams of protein per pound physique weight. So perhaps we’ve got a few days down there. After which we’ve got one or two days the place it’s up nearer to 0. 8. To 1 gram of protein per pound of physique weight. And that’s essential to contemplate as a result of these increased protein days definitely contribute to our total muscle retention over the interval.

Properly, I hope you preferred this episode. I hope you discovered it useful. And should you did subscribe to the present, as a result of. it makes positive that you simply don’t miss new episodes. And it additionally helps me as a result of it will increase the rankings of the present a little bit bit, which after all then makes it a little bit bit extra simply discovered by different individuals who might prefer it simply as a lot as you.

And should you didn’t like one thing about this episode or concerning the present typically, or when you have, uh, Uh, concepts or recommendations or simply suggestions to share, shoot me an e mail, Mike at muscle for all times. com muscle F O R life. com and let me know what I might do higher or simply, uh, what your ideas are about perhaps what you’d wish to see me do sooner or later.

I learn all the pieces myself. I’m all the time searching for new concepts and constructive suggestions. So thanks once more for listening to this episode and I hope to listen to from you quickly.

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