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Your Real Protein Needs – with Eric Helms and Greg O'Gallagher

At the end of the interview we did on muscle growth, Eric mentioned that he sometimes has his clients reduce their protein intake.

Greg has also reduced his protein intake lately so he was curious to learn Eric’s opinion on what the optimum protein intake is.

Their discussion was so useful, I had to post it as a separate video!

Here is the summary:

  • Eric recommends getting 0.8-1.3g of protein per pound of bodyweight  (1.8-2.9g per kilogram). This is the general range.
  • When maintaining or gaining, he usually has his clients on the lower side of the range: 0.8-1g of protein per pound of bodyweight or 1.8-2.2g per kilogram.
  • When cutting, a higher protein intake helps with satiety and may also help with muscle maintenance so he recommends 1-1.3g of protein per pound of bodyweight or 2.2-2.9g per kilogram. What’s important to note here is the protein intake is scaled upwards with severity of caloric restriction and leanness. The higher the body fat percentage, the lower the protein intake can usually be compared to the total bodyweight.
  • There is no point in arguing about a difference of 0.2-0.3 grams as long as you’re in the recommended range. If you like to eat more protein, do that. If you prefer less, do that instead.
  • The protein intake needed to build and maintain muscle is not as high as most people think.

Useful Links

Eric’s research on protein

Other parts of this interview:
The Formula for Muscle Growth
Your True Natural Muscle Building Potential

Where you can find Eric:
3D Muscle Journey Website
3DMJ YouTube page
3DMJ Facebook page

Where you can find Greg:


  1. Cristian on October 27, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Interesting findings. For cutting I can see the logic for a higher protein intake but the numbers seem very high. I guess a percentual estimation would’ve been more accurate since everybodies caloric needs is different.

    For example I cut at about 1,600 kcal and I’m 90kg. If I take in 2.5 grams of protein per kg that is 225 grams of protein which is 900 kcal. That’s almost 60% of my calories that are coming from protein. There is hardly room for fats and carbs.

    I can’t see how such a meal plan would look like and I don’t even what to think about what it would feel when using the restroom LOL.

    • Radu Antoniu on October 27, 2015 at 7:43 pm

      Wow 90kg and you cut with 1600 kcal? That’s incredibly low.

      I’ve never heard that before. All the people I’ve worked with that weigh 90kg cut with about 2400-2600 kcal

  2. Cristian on October 28, 2015 at 7:27 am

    My metabolism must be really slow :(. I’m maintaining my weight at about 2,300 kcal and this includes my training. At 2,600 kcal I’m in a surplus for sure. I guess this is why they say we are all different and there is no magic formula that fits all.

    Anyways, I just started an 8 week cutting program that I will document in a series of blog posts in which I will share nutrition & training info and pictures. I’ll let you know the results :).

    • Radu Antoniu on November 8, 2015 at 1:14 pm


  3. Marco on April 27, 2016 at 11:44 am

    Hello Antoniu.
    I’m italian, so I think our countries are quite similar about foods….

    I always struggle to reach my protein intake.

    Whey powder probably would help a bit.
    Do you use it?

    Could you show a sort of example of your daily meals so that I can understand how a human being could eat so many proteins?


    • Radu Antoniu on April 30, 2016 at 5:49 pm

      Hey Marco!

      Yes whey protein powder would help.
      I usually have meat, eggs and dairy products for protein. You can see this for an example.

  4. Jiachao on July 13, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    Hello Radu,

    I have a similar question about protein intake.

    I am currently cutting at about 1,650 kcal and I’m 72kg. I take in 2 grams of protein per kg (I’m at about 18% body fat) and that makes up to around 140g of protein daily. I’m Asian, so I guess we can be quite a bit smaller in size and so are our food portion sizes. So eating in a deficit at 1650 kcal is no problem. The dishes are very filling and I’m loving it.

    Sadly, the food portions are so huge that I often cannot finish them.
    So I’ve cut down the portion sizes but also adding in whey protein powder into most meals to make up the protein. Is there anything wrong with that since protein powder are highly processed foods?

    Also, I was wondering if you have any Asian clients with similar difficulties finishing those HUGE meals?

    Thank you!

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