How Many Scoops of Protein Powder Should I Be Using?


question-icon-newI just started bodybuilding and I’m interested in building a lot of muscle mass. Should I be taking 2 scoops of protein powder in my shake or just one scoop per shake? Most of my friends at the gym recommend taking multiple scoops of protein for each shake to build muscle and get stronger but I’m wondering if this is just overkill. I have a strict budget for supplements and don’t want to waste money by taking too much. What’s the recommended amount of protein powder you think is the best?

answer-icon-newMany new bodybuilders train a lot in the gym but get frustrated when they don’t see any noticeable increases in size and strength. While there are many factors to consider, lack of nutrition (especially protein) is generally the main reason for not seeing gains. In order to build muscle, your body needs to stay in a positive nitrogen balance. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and they are crucial for repairing and rebuilding muscle after intense weight training workouts cause small tears in muscle fibers.

Even though protein shakes can be very convenient, you don’t want to rely on them too much. I recommend focusing your intake of protein around whole foods as your main source. This means eating foods like meat, chicken, fish, eggs and other foods that are rich in protein. However, since it is not always possible to eat large amounts of food rich in protein throughout the day (busy schedule, etc), this is where protein powder comes to the rescue.

Protein powders come in many different forms. When taken at the right times (before and after workouts), whey protein powder can help you achieve your bodybuilding goals much faster. Finding the optimum amount is something that is tricky for newbies. Let’s look at the ideal amount of protein powder that you should be using for the best results.

It’s recommended that you consume at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. What does it mean for you? Let’s assume that you weigh 180 pounds. This would mean your daily protein consumption will be at least 180 grams. Divide this total number up between 5-6 meals per day and you will come out with around 30-36 grams of protein per meal. Make sure to always include a lean protein source with each meal throughout the day. If you’re running late and don’t have time to cook a whole food meal, then just blend up a quick protein shake with milk and some frozen fruit to get your required grams of protein very quickly and conveniently.

Here is a list of protein packed foods to include in your diet:

Hamburger Patty4 oz28
Ground Beef4 oz26
Flank3 oz22
Chuck3 oz23
Sirloin3 oz24
Round3 oz26
Ribs3 oz19
Short Loin3 oz20
Brisket3 oz20
Tenderloin3 oz22
Chicken Breast3 oz30
Chicken Thigh1 each10
Drumstick1 each11
Wing1 each6
Chicken Meat4 oz35
White FishServingGrams
Cod Fillets (baked)3.5 oz22
Cod in Batter (fried)3.5 oz20
Haddock Fresh (steamed)3.5 oz24
Haddock in Breadcrumbs (fried)3.5 oz22
Halibut Fresh (steamed)3.5 oz18
Lemon Sole (steamed)3.5 oz21
Lobster (meat only)3.5 oz27
Monkfish (steamed)3.5 oz24
Mullet (steamed)3.5 oz25
Sole in Breadcrumbs (fried)3.5 oz22
Plaice Fresh (steamed)3.5 oz20
Plaice in Batter (fried)3.5 oz18
Saithe (steamed)3.5 oz24
Shark3.5 oz24
Skate in Batter (fried)3.5 oz15
Sprats (fried)3.5 oz19
Sturgeon3.5 oz21
Whiting (steamed)3.5 oz15
Whiting in Breadcrumbs (fried)3.5 oz16
Oily FishServingGrams
Anchovies (canned)3.5 oz25
Herring (grilled)3.5 oz17
Kippers (baked)3.5 oz18
Mackerel (fried)3.5 oz19
Pilchards3.5 oz19
Salmon (steamed)3.5 oz20
Sardines in Tomato Sauce3.5 oz18
Sardines in Oil3.5 oz24
Trout (steamed)3.5 oz17
Tuna in Oil3.5 oz26
Tuna in Brine3.5 oz24
Pork Chop3 oz22
Pork Loin or Tenderloin4 oz29
Ham3 oz19
Ground Pork3 oz22
Bacon1 slice3
Canadian-Style Bacon1 slice5
Eggs & DairyServingGrams
Egg, large1 each6
Milk1 cup8
Cottage Cheese1/2 cup15
Yogurt1 cup10
Soft Cheeses (Mozzarella, Brie, Camembert)1 oz6
Medium Cheeses (Cheddar, Swiss)1 oz7
Hard Cheeses (Parmesan)1 oz10
Beans (including soy)ServingGrams
Tofu, firm1/2 cup10
Tofu, regular1/2 cup9
Tofu1 oz2
Soy Milk1 cup8
Soy Yogurt6 oz6
Most Beans (black, pinto, lentils, etc.)1/2 cup8
Soy Beans1/2 cup14
Split Peas1/2 cup8
Chickpeas1/2 cup6
Hummus1/3 cup7
Nuts & SeedsServingGrams
Peanut Butter2 Tablespoons8
Almonds1/4 cup8
Peanuts1/4 cup9
Cashews1/4 cup5
Pecans1/4 cup2.5
Sunflower Seeds1/4 cup6
Pumpkin Seeds1/4 cup19
Flax Seeds1/4 cup8
Spinach, cooked1 cup6
Broccoli, cooked1 cup4

Remember that this is the amount of protein that you need to eat daily in order to maintain your existing lean body mass and gain some muscle as well. You get protein from many food sources and protein powder is supposed to be a supplement, not your main protein source. Hence, it should fill the gap between the total protein requirement and the protein you get from other food sources. So, if you are getting 150 grams of protein from whole food sources, you should try to get the remaining 30 grams of protein from supplements. A scoop of protein with some milk at night right before you go to bed is also a great way to supply your muscles with some additional protein overnight while you rest, recover and grow!

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  1. Avatar
    aabharan shastri on

    Thank you for the wonderful insight! I will bookmark the post and make my diet plan according to the chart. Thanks once again!

  2. Avatar

    Most posts giving advice on how much protein supplement one should take daily are probably correct, provided that the guy is of the “easy-to-gain” type. But, what about the few of us, truly hardgainers? We, skinny guys, are prone to accumulate fat around the waist, and have skinny limbs (the so-called skinny fat), we can eat a ton of food, just to see it going down the toilet. Yep, it seems that our bodies just refuse to respond to the strong stimulation at the gym and it wants to remain stubbornly the same. I read about some research that showed that people with desease, who are unable to build muscle mass, can respond to whey protein, and that, contrary to the common custom, it is necessary to drink from 3 to 6 protein shakes per day. As I am in my late 50s, it is also another factor. So I will test this concept out for about one month while drinking 3 protein shakes daily, which will consist of about 70 grams of whey protein (Optimum Nutrition) which I think will be about 45-50% of my total nutritional intake. Hopefully, I should see some muscle gains. Is it reasonable? Thanks!

    • ShapeFit

      Hi Max – Are you planning on drinking 3 whey protein shakes consisting of 70 grams of protein per shake (total of 210 grams)?

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