It’s no secret that protein is the key macronutrient needed for building muscle. Yes, carbohydrates and fats have a part to play in the muscle-building process, but protein is the nutrient that actually builds muscle.
Given protein is so important to building muscle, it’s therefore important for us to understand how much protein we need to be eating so that we’re not leaving gains on the table.
“You can’t out-train a bad diet” – you’ve likely stumbled upon this saying before, and well, it’s true. You could be doing the best butt-building workouts in the world – but if you’re not eating the right foods, in the right quantities; your glutes will never turn into the 3d shape you’re after.
Don’t worry though, we’re here today to uncover exactly how much protein you need to be eating to maximise your booty growth. We’ll also dive a little deeper, touch on the bigger picture (overall calories), and look at our glute workouts to ensure we’re performing the best exercises to steer away from a flat butt.
|Table of Contents
|How much protein to build the butt
|What protein sources are the best
|How many calories for glute growth
|Working out to build the butt
|Best exercises to build the butt
Whether we’re looking to build the butt, grow impressive legs, or build bulging biceps, the amount of protein we need is the same in each instance.
So a 200lb individual would need 150-200g of protein daily to build the booty.
But that’s a 50g gap right there!? Do we need 150g or 200g!?
You’re right, that is a fairly sizeable difference and a valid question.
We’d recommend aiming towards the upper end of that scale. Not because it’s definitely going to yield more gains, but it’s going to reduce the likelihood of leaving gains on the table – plus there’s no real downside to it (better safe than sorry, right?).
When looking to build muscle, it’s important to understand that not all proteins are equal. Some are better for muscle building than others.
Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are essentially the building blocks of muscle tissue.
There are 20 different types of amino acids and these can be categorised into ‘essential’ and non-essential. Essential amino acids are not synthesised by the body and therefore need to be consumed through our diet. ‘Non-essential’ amino acids however can be created in the body so therefore don’t need to be consumed in our diet.
Proteins sources that contain all 9 ‘essential’ amino acids are categorised as ‘complete’ protein sources. Complete protein sources are typically animal products such as chicken, beef, pork, eggs, fish,whey protein, milk etc.
To maximise muscle protein synthesis (the process of building muscle tissue) we want the majority of our protein sources to be ‘complete protein’ sources. That way we’re getting the right amounts of amino acids to maximise muscle growth.
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, then consuming an adequate amount of each of the 9 essential amino acids becomes more difficult. Vegan protein sources such as lentils, beans, nuts etc are not considered complete protein sources as they lack at least 1 of the 9 essential amino acids.
It’s therefore important to follow a varied diet to hopefully balance the amino acid consumption over the course of the day due as different foods have different amino acid profiles (Food A could be low in the amino acid Leucine whereas Food B could be high in Leucine).
As we said at the start, protein is king for muscle building, but let’s not forget about carbohydrates and fats.
To build muscle we need to be in a calorie surplus. That is, we need to be consuming more calories than we burn on a daily basis.
The additional calories we consume each day that aren’t burned are stored as body mass. The make-up of this body mass (whether it’s muscle or fat) is determined by the quality of our diet and training program.
This doesn’t mean that we should aim to eat as much as we can and train well so that we can quickly add body mass in the form of muscle.
No, it doesn’t work like that. Your body is only capable of building certain amounts of muscle each week. Any additional calories that are not required for building muscle will be stored as body fat. So if you’re eating excessive amounts of food each day, then it’s likely a large portion of these calories will be stored as unwanted fat.
Depending on your training experience, the general belief is that you can build between 0.5-1lb (0.25-0.5kg) of lean mass per week. The upper limit is likely to be achievable for new lifters whereas experience lifters will likely experience gains nearer to the lower limit.
So how much do we need to eat to achieve such gains?
Well, a good starting point would be 200-400 calories above maintenance calories each day (Maintenance calories refers to the number of calories you would need to eat each day to remain the same weight).
Our recent article “How much should I be eating to build muscle” provides a comprehensive breakdown of how much you need to be eating each day to build muscle and minimise fat gain.
Once you’ve worked out how much you need to eat for muscle growth, we recommend eating the same number of calories each day for 1-2 weeks. You should record your weight each week so that you can understand how much you’ve gained (or lost!).
If you haven’t gained any weight then you know you’ve been eating at maintenance. If you’ve gained between 0.5-1lb (0.25-0.5kg), you’re bang on the money and eating the correct number of calories for muscle growth. And if you’ve gained more than this guideline you’re likely eating too much.
If you’ve gained too much, then reduce your calories by 100 or so each week until you’re gaining the correct amount. Likewise, if you haven’t gained enough (or if you’ve lost weight) then increase your calories by 100 or so each week until you get to where you need to be.
Diet is one half of the equation when it comes to building the glutes. The other half is your training.
Your muscles aren’t actually built in the gym. In fact, they’re broken down in the gym and then repaired and rebuilt when you’re resting by utilising the food you eat (ie protein!).
The size and strength of your muscles are determined by the intensity of your training sessions. We need to push the body’s boundaries in order for the glutes to grow. If we head into the gym and perform a couple of light-hearted sets which don’t really challenge the glutes – we can’t expect to see any meaningful results.
Instead, we need to push the boundaries of our body to give it a reason to adapt (ie. build stronger and bigger muscles). If we continue to push the boundaries of what the body is capable of, then over the course of several months we can expect to see some decent returns.
We also need to ensure we’re performing the right exercises that are going to yield the best results.
The best exercises to add size to the glutes are:
Remember, the glutes are made up of 3 muscles. The gluteus maximas, medius and minimus. For a well-rounded derrière, we must target each of the 3 muscles.
We’ve written many articles on glute training on our blog, a good one to start with would be the 10 best exercises to build the butt. But have a browse through the ‘Building Muscle’ blog and see where you’d like to expand on your knowledge.
We hope we’ve been able to ask your question regarding how much protein you need to grow the glutes. As we said, protein is the most important macronutrient for building muscle, but we need to also look at the bigger picture (total daily calories) to understand what’s required to build muscle.
At the end of the day, you could have the best training program in the world – but if you’re not eating enough, then you’re never going to build any noticeable muscle, simple.
You may have heard the saying “70% diet, 30% training”. This shows the importance of eating well to maximise our glute growth – the diet plays a bigger role than our actual workouts.
Nonetheless, if you follow the advice given in today’s article you’ll be well on your way to building a butt to be proud of! Happy glute building.