In 1990, pro bodybuilder Mike Matarazzo, stated, "Bodybuilders I meet ask how I train, weights, reps, sets etc., when they really should be asking me is what, and how do I eat?"
I'm sure you have all heard the statement, "Success in bodybuilding is 40% training and 60% nutrition, or some such proportion? In fact, ask any top bodybuilder, fitness, or figure competitors, they'll argue that nutrition is what makes the most difference between success and failure.
Damage & Repair
With exercise, repetitive and progressive microscopic type 2 muscle damage is an initiating signal for muscle repair and over-growth (hypertrophic response). Short and long term growth occurs as a result of what one does with the signal. Namely... lots of good protein!
You might ask "Why does the nutritional facts panel (required by the government) on food product seem to indicate that I don't need as much protein as bodybuilders say?" After all who would know more than the USDA? Well... RDA - USDA, think 1950 and yesterday's science!
Perhaps, 40 to 65 grams of protein a day is all that a "healthy adult" needs. (Have you ever seen one of those at a shopping mall-fat city mall, for example)? Maybe. But —- a bigger, more muscular and energetic bodybuilder, fighting catabolism, needs more, almost 3 to 4 times the USDA.
Most of the bullshit recommendation for the ridiculously high carb consumption we have today (the irony is that carbs are needed for high intensity work which nobody does), is based on bad data provided from food manufacturing industry lobbyists (who are hired and paid mostly by grain growers and carb-loaded food processing manufacturers).
I have spent 20 years in the food manufacturing industry and I know the profits in manufacturing grain based foods (snack foods, breads, and cereals). When a pound of unprocessed corn costs 8 cents and a pound of corn chips sells for $2.99 you can afford lobbyists to convince the USDA to tell consumers it is healthy for us to keep slamming Tostitos!
Protein based food manufacturers make a much lower profit margin and simply can't buy the same amount of influence "on the hill". The USDA pyramid looks like it does based on slug worms not the body nitrogen dynamic measurement of a 250 pound bodybuilder who can bench press 600-pounds.
For hard training big men, the USDA pyramid should look much different with significantly higher levels of protein and lower levels of carbs.
The "calculation" that to gain 1 pound of lean muscle a month (one pound is 454 grams) translates to ingesting only 15-extra grams of protein a day (assuming there is no thermodynamic metabolic loss with the 15-G) over your maintenance protein needs (30 x 15), is complete horseshit. It may make sense on a calculator but when was the last time your calculator did 800/20 reps on the Cybex Leg Press?
What about the, "My doctor tells me I don't need much protein thing"? Christ, you go to a doctor today with a headache and you are referred to a Neurologist, with a stomach ache, you get a Gastroenterologist, sore knee, go to an Orthopod, get an earache, you see an ear nose and throat guy and with a limp dick, gee, a Urologist AND an Endocrinologist. Point is, the only doctor a bodybuilder should listen to is a MD specializing in biochemical nutrition.
A Gram A Day... Won't Keep The Doc Away
The general consensus is that "drug-free" bodybuilders and weight lifters should get 1 to 1.50 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight and steroid users should take in 2-3 grams per pound of bodyweight a day. (Use our calculator below!) Like muscle, digestive organs such as stomach, intestine, kidney and liver can adapt over time to grater nitrogen load.
But — just because Ron Coleman eats 500 grams a day of protein, don't think you can. Would you try to squat 600 pound 10 times to be like Ron? Your digestive system will react much like your back would in this instance, and give out! Everyone is different and that is where most of the debate of how much protein we can actually utilize, comes in.
For Non-Steroid Users:
For Steroid Users: