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There are many reasons to change your diet. Perhaps you want to eliminate foods to which you have a sensitivity, or you’d like to lose weight. For bodybuilders, diet is the key to gaining muscle. However, just any diet won’t do.


Your diet needs to provide material from which muscle can grow. And that material is protein. Protein contains amino acids, which both grow and repair muscles. This is why bodybuilders aren’t afraid to bite into a juicy steak and also the reason why protein supplements are so popular. Of course, it might be tastier to ingest protein as a shake or smoothie.


But how much protein is enough? And is there such a thing as too much protein? While ideal levels of protein may differ between people, there are some guidelines. For example, one study found that consuming up to 1.6 grams (g) of protein per kilogram of body weight helped to build muscle.


Of course, you have to consider how much protein is in the source. Each food contains different amounts of protein. For example, there are roughly 30 grams of protein in 3 ounces of bottom round.


Building muscle mass isn’t just about adding protein to your diet. How you intake protein and even how often also affects your results. Getting protein from food is better than getting it from a protein shake because supplements break down quicker.


On top of that, timing matters. The body is especially receptive to protein after a workout, so you should try a snack of Greek yogurt, eggs, or lean meat to take advantage of this fact. There’s an approximately 2-hour window to do this.


Similarly, eating a meal rich in protein around two hours before a workout can be beneficial. You don’t need to eat a lot of protein at once, either. In fact, you may see more results from spreading out your protein intake over the day rather than just consuming it all at one time.


A diet built to gain muscle will contain more calories than a diet intended to maintain weight let along with a diet for losing weight. Without calories, you won’t have enough energy for your workouts.


Take this into consideration when trying to gain muscle.