HomedietProtein Intakes for Natural Bodybuilders: High Protein Myths Debunked

Protein Intakes for Natural Bodybuilders: High Protein Myths Debunked


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Click Here to see the full video: Protein Guide for Natural Bodybuilders

Myth#1: Excessive Protein Intake Isn’t Required For Natural Bodybuilders to Grow

So in this video, I’m talking about protein intake myths.

A large amount of protein is not required to build large amounts of muscle

And a lot of people out there have this idea that number one, you need to be eating a tremendous amount of protein to grow as a natural athlete.

And that simply isn’t the case. 

I was able to go from 125 pounds to 198.5 pounds in competition shape, consuming only 120 to 125 grams of protein per day. 

Bodybuilder Kevin Richardson got into competition shape with only 120-125 grams of protein per day

That works out towards the end, somewhere around 0.62 grams of protein per pound of body weight, which is far lower than the recommended one gram of protein per pound of body weight in terms of what a lot of the bro-science guys say you need in order to grow.

And in this video I’m going to debunk some of those protein myths based not just on my experience, but on the experience of the hundreds of men and women I’ve trained over the past 30 plus years.

Natural Bodybuilder Kevin Richardson's growth with .62 grams of protein per lb of bodyweight

So stay tuned. Let’s talk a little more about this.

So in this video, I’m talking about protein myths.

A lot of people have these ideas. They need tons of protein, they need protein shakes

And as a natural athlete, it can be really confusing because there’s just so much contradictory information out there.

And it shouldn’t be surprising that back in the day a lot of those magazines that we read were really all about having a high protein intake because almost all of the advertising that they had were from supplement companies selling protein shakes.

Muscle magazines were also supplement companies profiting from selling protein shakes

And in some cases, like the Weider magazines, not only were they the most popular muscle magazines, but they were also one of the biggest supplement and protein supplement companies.

And a lot of what was passed off as scientifically sound, nutritional information is actually false.

But before I go any further, I’d like to thank everyone for tuning in, especially those who say this is a one stop place for anyone interested in training naturally, without drugs or even supplements. And do be sure to like the video, subscribe and hit that bell as well. So you’re first in line to get the new content as it comes out.

Myth #2: Popular Post Workout Protein Intake Recommendations Are Wrong

You do not need protein immediately after a workout in order to grow

So protein myths. 

Protein myth number two, you need to ingest 30 grams of protein, at or about, immediately after a workout.

Here’s the deal, growing up in Trinidad, I could not afford protein shakes. And during the period of time of my greatest growth, I never consumed protein meals directly after training.

In fact, when I started Naturally Intense High Intensity Training, I actually needed about an hour, sometimes two hours off the training before I could even consider consuming anything because I’d be so messed up after my workout that food was the last thing I would think about.

It is not necessary to consume protein immediately after training to build muscle

And like I said, because I couldn’t afford protein shakes, that wasn’t an option.

And I always felt that I was missing out, that if I was somehow or the other able to consume a protein shake a half hour after a workout, I’d have these miraculous gains.

And so when I came to the US and finally had access to protein shakes, I thought I was going to see this magical increase in my overall progress.

Natural Bodybuilder Kevin Richardson did not see increased results by consuming protein shakes

And from going over my extensive notes, what I found was there wasn’t really any difference whatsoever from having a protein shake or having a protein shake directly after a workout.

Myth #3: You Don’t Need Protein Shakes

You do not need protein shakes to build muscle mass

Which leads to protein myth number three.

And as such, I stopped using protein shakes completely because when I looked at the data in terms of was it really making a difference and the answer was not at all.

The other point is within our tradition, we would stop all protein shakes three months before a competition.

Athletes would have to stop consuming protein shakes three months before a competition

And I found when I replaced the protein from a shake with actual solid food that I actually did see an increase in my overall progress.

Now at that time, the natural bodybuilders, who were training with me, I told them that they should be continuing a protein shake because I thought it was working.

Eating 30-60grams of solid protein proved to work better than protein shakes

And when I realized it wasn’t working, and I had everyone switch from taking in the same amount of protein from a protein shake to solid protein, every single person who made the switch had a significant increase in their overall muscle growth.

Switching from protein shakes to solid protein led to an increase in muscle growth

And even more interesting, we all also saw a slight decrease in our overall fat levels, which makes sense.

Solid proteins, the proteins that our bodies and our ancestors have been consuming for millions of years are made up of amino acids.

And our body has to break the food down into the individual amino acids for our body to be able to use it.

Eliminating protein shakes also led to a decrease in fat in natural athletes

A side note, due to the complexity of the chains holding together amino acids, proteins tend to require more energy to be broken down compared to fats and carbohydrates.

This increased metabolic rate and heat production is called postprandial thermogenesis.

And so a “pre-digested” protein shake doesn’t seem to have the same thermogenic properties as solid protein.

And from what I was able to see as well over the years is that somehow or the other, you tended to make more progress with solid protein than using a protein shake.

Postprandial thermogeneis is the increased heat production due to the body

Myth #4: Protein Intake Timing

Now, the other protein timing myth that doesn’t seem to work in real life is that you need protein every three to four hours in order to grow.

You don't need protein every 3-4 hours to gain muscle

That doesn’t seem to be the case at all.

There were many times when because of my budget, I couldn’t afford to eat every three, four hours.

In fact, most times I ate every five to six hours. And there were many days when I would eat only two meals a day.

Natural bodybuilding champion Kevin Richardson often only ate very 5-6 hours

And yet I still grew.

I’ve worked with a lot of natural bodybuilders over the years from all over the world, and many of them could not afford anything near being able to consume 30 grams of protein every three to four hours.

Some of them eating just one meal a day, with protein intake somewhere around that magic number, about 0.62 grams of protein per pound of body weight and they still grew.

Far less protein intake is required than what is commonly said

And if we think about the fact that we are essentially a byproduct of our evolutionary past, at no point in time did our ancestors consume 30 grams of protein every three hours.

High protein consumption in hunter-gatherer societies are very much sporadic.

And so it wouldn’t make sense that we would’ve evolved to require that much protein in order to build muscle because muscle building and all the adaptations of our body were based on survival.

Our body needed to put on that extra muscle because we need to do something in order to survive.

Bodybuilder Fred Sanya built his physique with just one meal a day

And those whose bodies were able to build muscle with the limited resources available are the ones who lived long enough to reproduce and are our ancestors.

And those who probably weren’t able to build muscle with limited resources wouldn’t be part of our ancestral lineage.

And it’s only a very Western-centric perspective that makes people think that somehow or the other, you need this ridiculous amount of protein to grow.

Only our ancestors who were able to build protein on limited diets would survive

And people are always surprised when they see natural bodybuilders in other countries with very little resources making excellent progress.

And it tends to be downplayed.

It’s downplayed because again, protein consumption is profitable, especially for supplement companies that sell protein shakes.

Solid proteins have been consumed by our ancestors for millions of years

The Lack of Science Behind Bodybuilding Related Protein Requirements

It always goes back to the whole idea of manipulating studies that may find, yes, there’s an increase in protein synthesis after working out, and that if you consume a certain amount of protein right after working out, the uptick of amino acids is higher.

But that’s never been correlated to an actual increase in overall muscle growth over time.

Our ancestors did not have access to massive quantities of food

And what usually happens in marketing is it will take information from a study in isolation and magically extrapolate it to become something of a scientific fact that this is how we should be eating when that’s not science at all.


Science would require someone consuming one gram of protein per pound of body weight and someone consuming somewhere around 0.62 grams of protein per body weight. And seeing what their progress were if they all trained exactly the same way and had exactly the same diets.

Studies would require training and diets to be the same for years to create relevant data

You would also have to monitor what would happen with those who ate protein directly after a workout, and those who didn’t, while training with the same intensity and the same training programs over the course of years, that’s never been done.

And the number of people in those studies would have to also be in the hundreds or to be statistically significant, not the five to 12 to 20 people that are almost always used in the studies quoted.

Studies require 400-1,200 participants to be statistically significant

Because those studies are about the people making the studies getting published and getting funding for their future studies.

They aren’t doing it because they want to see the gym bros make better gains in the gym.

And as Shakespeare said, “The devil can cite Scripture for his own means.”

And that’s exactly what happens with marketing in that they take information from these really limited and mostly incomplete studies and turn it in a very propaganda based way into a rule.

Many published studies are incomplete and used for propaganda style rules in fitness

But those rules don’t really apply.

Enhanced Versus Natural Bodybuilding Protein Intake Requirements

“Now, hold on, Kevin, what about those men or women who have fantastic physiques and tremendous muscle development who consume tons of protein?”

Well, there are two answers to that question.

Anabolic steroid users can process more protein than a natural athlete

Number one, it’s not a secret.

Most well developed individuals in the fitness industry are using steroids.

And one of the primary things about steroid use is that it allows you to synthesize more protein than you would be able to if you were natural.

Anabolic steroids increase protein synthesis and nitrogen retention

So someone using drugs can eat tons of protein and their bodies can actually use it, whereas a natural athlete eating the same amount of protein isn’t going to be able to convert that protein into muscle.

And so that natural athlete who successfully built muscle eating a lot of protein, well, it’s pretty simple because their high protein intake was correlative, not necessarily causative in that had they consumed less protein from what I’ve seen over the years, they’d have had the same results.

Building muscle while consuming high amounts of protein is more correlative but not causative

So you don’t need to eat tons of protein, you don’t need to consume protein directly after a workout.

You don’t need to eat every three hours.

And again, this isn’t just my experience, this is the experience I’ve seen with hundreds of men and women over the past 30 plus years.

And I hope it helps you have a little more insight in terms of your nutrition when you’re putting things together and also helps you focus on solid food.

Thanks so much for tuning in and as always, Excelsior!



Featured everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to CBS News, Kevin Richardson’s Naturally Intense High Intensity Training have helped hundreds lose weight and transform their bodies with his 10 Minute Workouts. One of the top natural bodybuilders of his time, Kevin is also the international fitness consultant for UNICEF and one of the top personal trainers in New York City.

Kevin Richardson
Kevin Richardsonhttps://www.naturallyintense.net
Featured everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to CBS News, celebrity Personal Trainer NYC and with over 2.6 million readers of his blog, Kevin Richardson is the creator of Naturally Intense High Intensity Training, one of the top lifetime drug free bodybuilders of his time, the first International Fitness & Nutrition Consultant for UNICEF, 2020 and 8 Time Winner of the Best of Manhattan Awards for Personal Training and a world recognized authority on high intensity training. Kevin has helped thousands, from celebrities to CEO's over the past 30 years achieve their fitness goals with his 10 minute high-intensity workouts done just three times a week in conjunction with his holistic nutrition approach. You can learn more about about his diet and training services at www.naturallyintense.net


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