I am 32 years old and weigh 67 kilograms (148 pounds). I recently started going to the gym.

I would like to know how much weight lifting I need to do where I will be required to consume protein supplements.

  • Even though this question is a bit misguided, I feel like a lot of people are wondering the same thing, so it might still be a good question to have around for the future reference.
    – Alec
    Aug 26, 2015 at 7:30

4 Answers 4


Protein supplements exist for one reason, and one reason only;

If your usual diet doesn't provide you with enough protein to properly facilitate reaching your goals, you can add protein supplements to reach the target amount of protein per day/week.

As it stands, the question isn't answerable due to lack of information. You need to

  1. find out how much protein you need to consume per day to reach your goals

  2. find out how much protein you can get from food

  3. find out if #2 is less than #1, in which case, you can consider adding protein supplements if you can't cover the difference by simply eating more

  • Please forgive the nitpicking, but if one's usual diet doesn't provide enough protein to reach one's goals, would not changing the diet be preferred over adding supplements? Under what conditions would food alone not be able to fulfill one's protein requirements? I see that you qualified your suggestions with "can" and not "should" or "must", but that you brought up the possibility in the first place suggests you think there are cases where it is appropriate to use supplements instead of food. Aug 27, 2015 at 3:19
  • @cheaterpushups - Absolutely. If you can adjust your diet to get enough protein, that's ideal. But for many people, this involves eating meat until you retch. And I feel like I already factored this into my answer by writing "find out how much protein you can get from food".
    – Alec
    Aug 27, 2015 at 7:28
  • Under what conditions would food alone not be able to fulfill one's protein requirements without also requiring meat consumption to the point of vomiting? Aug 27, 2015 at 8:27
  • I just explained this in the previous comment. "But for many people, this involves eating meat until you retch." But also, one might not have the time or money.
    – Alec
    Aug 27, 2015 at 8:28
  • I don't think you did, but it's likely just my misunderstanding; sorry for my confusion... Aug 27, 2015 at 8:29

None. There will never be a point where you have to consume supplements in order to reach your protein (or any other) goals, but it may make it easier.


First and foremost, it doesn't matter if you get protein from supplements or from your food. It's just easier to eat large amounts of protein with supplements.

Second, weight lifting doesn't "consume" protein to create muscle. No matter your level of weight lifting, eating large amounts of protein will tend to push your body towards muscle and away from fat. But it also depends on your current amount of muscle and calorie intake. If you're muscular and are eating few calories, you won't have a net store of protein. If you're not muscular and eat lots of protein, you will store protein as long as you eat any.

  • 1
    I'm a bit confused by your response. It may be because the way it's written, you appear to be expressing your opinion. I'm not sure how you can make some of the assertions you state in the last two sentences of your answer.
    – rrirower
    Aug 25, 2015 at 12:22
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    A) There are different ways to be "fit", not all include being muscular (therefore should not be a part of the answer). B) Eating protein doesn't tell your body to burn fat, a caloric deficit does. C) "If you're fit and are eating few calories, you won't store protein at all." that's not how the body works.
    – Alex L
    Aug 25, 2015 at 13:19
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    You don't store protein. At all. You store fat. If you eat excess protein for your needs, it will be either excreted or stored as fat. And eating a ton of protein won't "push your body" towards muscle.
    – JohnP
    Aug 25, 2015 at 14:24
  • I made some corrections. What I was trying to explain was 1. That when you reach a certain amount of muscularity, it gets harder and harder to add more muscle without a calorie surplus until it usually becomes impossible. This is why body builders will cut and bulk. For some, the critical level of muscularity comes early, for some late, this depends on your genetics. 2. No matter your muscularity level, calorie intake and amount of exercise, a high intake of protein will result in a higher amount of muscle and lower amount of fat than a low amount of protein would have.
    – Mårten
    Aug 25, 2015 at 14:29
  • JohnP, what do you mean by excess protein? What would be "enough" protein? The studies I've read show that hypertrophy and strength gain increase along with higher protein intake, even beyond 2g/kg of bodyweight, although the increase from 1-2grams is much greater than the one from 2-3. 3 grams of protein per kg of body weight is so much (~50% of a typical bmr) that I would consider it a universal rule that more protein -> larger hypertrophy.
    – Mårten
    Aug 25, 2015 at 14:33

I am going to hint you in with a secret, well actually two secrets, that so many "bodybuilders" lack to know and comprehend. For the first one, protein shakes are one of the biggest scams on the market. And not to mention the fact that they aren't even necessary in the first place.

In a dinner consisting of a moderately sized piece of fish, a glass of milk, a side of nuts, and a cup of peas you can get about 60-70 grams of protein, at least twice the amount you would get in most protein shakes on the market. Not to bring up the fact that it is usually much more affordable than those shakes.

You don't need protein shakes to buff up, the only reason that people drink them is because marketers are clever in the way that they advertise and that their friends drink them so they feel left out if they aren't also gulping them down.

The second secret is that there are only four truly vital foods that are secret to muscle gain, not to contradict what I said earlier, but meat, fish, and vegetables are not included, although they are good substitutes for a protein shake and they are a less expensive source that will still get you strong, just not as much as these other foods I will mention : Milk, Grains, Eggs(especially), Peanut butter are the key foods that I have discovered to help proceed major gains of muscle mass on my body.

When I first began to experiment using these foods on a day to day basis well doing compound exercises including bench press, squats, chin ups, etc. the muscle literally FLEW in. I was already pretty ripped but I must've been gaining almost a pound of muscle a week. Everyone at my gym was pointing out how I was gaining muscles so fast on my shoulders, biceps, and triceps and was asking me how I was buffing up so fast.

Honestly, it must've been the combination of those four foods along with the compound exercises. I would suggest eating 3 eggs a day. 3 glasses of milk a day. Do chin ups every day. Do compound exercises involving weights rotating every other day. 12 Eggs, a gallon of milk, a loaf of whole grain bread, and a jar of peanut butter all combined probably costs about as much as four, expensively priced shakes or six, moderately priced ones.

I can't stress to you how much of a scam protein shakes are. And also just to note, regardless of how much weight you lift for how long you lift protein shakes are never mandatory.

  • If you'll edit your answer to make it more structured and comprehensible, that would be very helpful. Good ideas but hard to read :) Aug 26, 2015 at 23:04
  • @Kneel Before Zod I'll try getting around to it Aug 27, 2015 at 1:49
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    Fish dinner, peas, nuts, and milk is cheaper than two scoops of whey? Come on.
    – Eric
    Aug 27, 2015 at 2:06
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    There's so much broscience in this answer, I don't even know where to begin ...
    – Alex L
    Aug 27, 2015 at 12:50
  • @Eric Kaufman I am not referring specifically to protein shakes made from protein powder, but the prepared ones you can get at the store(muscle milk and what not). I know you can get 4 muscle milk shakes 11 oz. for $8. In comparison, you can get a Ib of fresh salmon for $6, a bag of peas for $2, a Ib of nuts for $4, and a gallon of milk for $2. So in theory do these cost more than 4 shakes? Yes, but you the price is still better if you are looking for the overall amount of food in total, not to mention that they also have more protein when eaten with each other. Aug 27, 2015 at 14:35

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