Are you a skinny guy stumped by how to increase your daily protein intake? Then you need to keep reading. Because today I will be teaching you how to get 140g of protein a day to build muscle.
Getting 140g of protein a day requires you to spread your protein intake over a minimum of 4 meals per day. This includes breakfast, a pre-workout, a post-workout, dinner, and pre-bed meal. Using high-protein ingredients and palatable cooking methods will help you reach your goal.
2 years ago, I was the 130lb skinny newbie scratching his head whilst trying to figure out one thing:
How the hell can someone eat so much protein every day?!
Now, I was never a big eater (probably why I was so skinny).
Nor did I want to start using protein powder (I’m a biomedical scientist by training and try to limit substances entering my body in general).
I was enjoying my weight lifting, but I just couldn’t eat enough protein!
So I knuckled down, did my research, and found my ways.
And thats what I’ll be sharing with you today.
So close the protein powder browser tabs you have open.
And let’s jump right in!
You don’t need to eat 6 meals a day to build muscle!
If you want to find out how this skinny dude jacked himself up, you can read my story here!
- Who Even Needs To Eat 140g Of Protein A Day?!
- Spread Your 140g Of Protein Over 4+ Meals A Day
- 1. Breakfast (30/140g Of Protein A Day)
- 2. Pre-Workout (29/140g Of Protein A Day)
- 3. Post-Workout (29/140g Of Protein A Day)
- 4. Dinner (32/140g Of Protein A Day)
- 5. Pre-Bed Snack (23/140g Of Protein A Day)
- Find Delicious Ways To Cook Your 140g Of Protein A Day
But before I begin, here is how Dominic Nicolai gets his 140g of protein a day!
And heres a list of my favourite high-protein foods. How many do you currently consume on a daily basis?
Who Even Needs To Eat 140g Of Protein A Day?!
Firstly, why the hell do you even need so much protein?!
If you are on this page you likely have one of 3 goals:
- Build muscle.
- Lose fat.
- Both of the above.
And if you belong to any of these groups, then a high protein diet is for you.
In fact, a 2000 study recommended a protein intake between 1.6-1.8g of protein per kg of body weight to maximise muscle gains.
In contrast, another 2016 study recommends up to 2.4g of protein per kg of body weight to maximise muscle gains and minimise fat gains.
This is because protein is an essential macronutrient. It serves as the raw building blocks for muscle growth.(1)
To be honest, you can even disregard the specific protein amounts. But it’s clear that a high protein diet in general is essential for gaining muscle and/or losing fat!
Therefore if you are a skinny guy weighing in at around 130 pounds (59Kg), you will need to consume between 110-141 grams of protein per day in order to gain muscle.
Of course, you will also have to train!
Check out my other article for a step-by step training guide for skinny guys to build muscle!
Skinny guys weighing in at around 130lbs will need to consume up to 140+ grams of protein everyday to maximise muscle gains from your training.
Next, I will explain how to eat 140g of protein a day in a practical manner.
Spread Your 140g Of Protein Over 4+ Meals A Day
It is essential to spread your 140g of protein a day over multiple meals. And I recommend 4+ meals a day.
So why 4+ meals?
First of all, a 2018 study has proposed that the body can only absorb around 20-25g of protein per meal. Any surplus protein basically ends up in the toilet!
Therefore, spreading your protein intake over multiple meals will maximise protein absorption. And this will benefit the muscle-building process.
Ideally, you will want to spread your protein intake over as many meals as possible.
But how much time have you got in a day to dedicate to cooking?!
Which brings me to my second point.
Making time for 4 meals a day is very reasonable to achieve for most people . Heck, it’s just one more meal than you would usually eat!
5 meals, becomes a bit more impractical. But still achievable for even the busiest of skinny lads, with the smallest of stomachs.
6 meals a day, and things start becoming very impractical. From my experience, not many people can consistently stick to a 6 meal working day. I tried it and hated all the planning required.
Therefore, you should aim to spread your 140g of protein a day over 4 meals. And if you can, then include even more meals. Besides, a meal doesn’t have to be big (more on that later).
Furthermore, I have a piece of valuable advise:
You do not HAVE to time your protein intake to specific periods of the day (e.g. pre- or post-workout).
This 2013 study showed that protein timing is not as important as what most people make out to be.
The important thing to do is make sure you are consuming your 140 grams over multiple meals.
So be flexible, and don’t stress yourself out worrying about the exact timings. This will help a lot with your morale (and the likelihood you stick to your plan!).
Spreading your 140 grams of daily protein over 4 meals offers a balance in practicality and effectiveness. You will still be able to absorb the maximum amount of protein, without your meals intruding on your daily routine. Of course, add more meals if you can!
Next, I will recommend how you can spread your 140 grams of protein over 4 meals plus 1 snack (which counts as a meal too!).
If you are up for a challenge, check my other article for a guide on eating 6 meals a day for muscle gains!
1. Breakfast (30/140g Of Protein A Day)
Breakfast cannot be avoided. Especially if you are struggling with hitting your current protein targets.
In fact, a lot of people who fail to reach their protein goals also fail to consume a large enough breakfast.
When you skip breakfast, you are denying yourself a great opportunity to get a protein fix.
Instead, you will have to “catch up” with your protein intake throughout the day (which can be very hard).
I would always recommend liquid calories for breakfast.
A liquid breakfast can be made conveniently with ingredients such as:
- Peanut butter.
For example, you can blend a mixture of yoghurt, oats, and peanut butter to make a tasty shake. Then supplement the remaining protein with 2 egg whites.
All of these foods are appetising and relatively easy to consume. And this can be an important factor for skinny guys who don’t like to eat in the morning!
2. Pre-Workout (29/140g Of Protein A Day)
A pre-workout meal is one that is consumed hours before you workout.
Consuming a nutritious meal before a workout serves 2 purposes:
- Provides energy and protein during a workout.
- Maintains blood protein levels after a workout.
Note the second point in particular.
Post-workout nourishment is important to maximise muscle gains. But not everyone has time to consume a meal immediately after a workout.
However, this 2017 study has suggested that protein from your pre-workout can stay in the blood for hours after a workout (assuming you consume enough).
If you tend to workout in the evening, then treat the pre-workout as a lunch. And the post-workout (see below) as the pre-workout. And your dinner (see below) as the post-workout.
In other words, you are essentially shifting the purpose of your meals to accommodate for your training times.
I recommend a pasta-based meal for a pre-workout.
Pasta is loved by all (mostly). And it also contains protein (to build muscle) as well as carbs (to fuel your workout).
Then you can serve your pasta with a choice of meat, fresh fish, or even canned fish (such as tuna, sardines, or salmon).
If this isn’t enough protein, snack on a handful of sunflower seeds. Almonds, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds are also great sources of protein.
3. Post-Workout (29/140g Of Protein A Day)
A post-workout meal is one that is consumed after a training session.
Consuming a post-workout meal also serves two purposes:
- Replenish muscular glycogen (facilitates recovery).
- Maintain blood protein (facilitates muscle repair).
Therefore it’s important to consume protein hours immediately after working out.
If you work out in the evening, then the post-workout could turn into your pre-workout. And your dinner would turn into your post-workout. The important point is you are eating multiple meals (not the name of the meals).
I recommend a rice-based meal for a post-workout. Furthermore, it should be brown rice (which contains more protein and releases energy more slowly than white rice).(2)
Just like pasta, most people enjoy eating rice. And this makes a rice-based meal a great way to add variety to an otherwise tedious diet.
As with the pasta dish, you can serve rice with your protein of choice. You can also add a handful of legumes (such as kidney beans or edamame) to supplement your protein intake.
Alternatively, make a protein-packed sandwich with whole grain bread if you are short on time!
4. Dinner (32/140g Of Protein A Day)
Dinner is the meal you eat a few hours before going to bed.
It will serve to maintain your protein levels.
It’s a good idea to keep the previous 3 meals regimented (since they are vital for muscle growth). But you can be a bit more flexible with dinner (as long as you hit your protein intake).
I like to keep things simple at dinner. And this allows me more time to do my evening activities (who wants to spend the whole day cooking?!)
I recommend you put some meat/fish, potatoes, and veg into a baking tray. Then all you have to do is to turn on the oven and set a timer.
Now you can get fit a Playstation session into your evening, instead of cooking!
5. Pre-Bed Snack (23/140g Of Protein A Day)
A pre-bed snack is one you consume within an hour of hitting the sack.
It will keep your protein levels topped up before you enter an 8 hour fast (aka sleep!).
As a bonus- eating usually makes you lethargic.(3)
So what better time to fit in a protein-rich meal!
But one important point to consider is this:
Choose your pre-bed protein source wisely!Kal
There is a specific type of protein which is ideal for a pre-bed meal. And that’s casein.
Casein is a slow-digesting protein found in many dairy foods including:(4)
You can make a quick and effective pre-bed meal by spreading cottage cheese on wheat crackers!
Note: not every meal has to be a meal in the conventional sense. A big snack can also count as a meal!
Spread 140 grams of protein over your daily meals (breakfast, pre-workout, post-workout, dinner, and pre-bed). Pre- and post-workout meals can be had in the morning, afternoon, or evening (depending on your workout times). Create your own meals from my ingredients table (at the start of the post). Be flexible- remember, hitting your total protein target is more important than stressing over timing!
Next, I will share some cooking methods to make your high-protein foods palatable!
Find Delicious Ways To Cook Your 140g Of Protein A Day
Building muscle is a lengthy process. And you will need to be consistently eating your 140 grams of protein each and every day.
As such, you should create your own diet plan (tailored to your own tastes). This allows you to enjoy the meals that you are cooking.
Afterall, the more you enjoy something, the more likely you will stick to it!
The example meals I shared previously are exactly that. Examples.
In reality, I would highly recommend you to create your own meals (from the high-protein ingredient table at the start of the post).
There are many ways to cook and serve your ingredients.
Here are 3 of my favourite ways to prepare delicious high-protein meals:
- Steaming and boiling.
- Stews and curries.
Steaming And Boiling Is Quick And Healthy
Now, steaming and boiling may not be the most appetising way to prepare a meal. But I know a small group of you will be like me.
Sometimes you just prefer to keep things simple!
Steaming and boiling your foods works especially well with high quality and fresh produce. As many chefs will know, sometimes the flavours of the ingredient speak for themselves!
As a bonus, this cooking method will prevent unhealthy fats and oils from adulterating your meals. And this can help help beginners to accurately track calories (which is important for lean bulking).
For more details on how to gain muscle without fat, check out my guide to bulking for skinny guys!
Also don’t be afraid of adding condiments to your meals. A cleanly cooked meal affords some freedom to use some unhealthy (but tasty) sauces. Just keep track of the calorie/fat/sugar content of said sauces.
I love drizzling olive oil and grated cheese onto my tuna spaghetti!
Stews And Curries Are Delicious
This is for those who have more demanding taste-buds.
Stews and curries are quick and easy. And they are also delicious!
Simply add all your ingredients into a pan, whack in some stock cubes/spices/herbs, and cook till ready.
Stews and curries are my favourite way to cook high-protein meals.
Firstly, slow cooking is a great way to tenderise tough cuts of cheap meat (trust me, the cents add up when you are eating a high protein diet).
Secondly, it’s a great way to preserve all the micronutrients (minerals and vitamins) in your ingredients. And this will keep your muscles in optimum working order.
Thirdly, they are ideal for pre-batching. Make one large batch over the weekend, and separate into Tupperware containers for the week (or freeze for later).
Meal-preps will save you a load of cooking time. And this means more time on the Playstation!
The downside to stews is that they do require basic cooking knowledge. But Youtube is a great resource for delicious recipes.
Everyone Likes A Stir-Fry!
For the real chefs amongst you.
Stir-fries are a quick and delicious way to eat your protein.
Simply toss all your ingredients into a pan, add some seasoning and fry away.
Stir-fries are delicious. But make sure you keep an eye on the oil you use.
I always recommend you to use healthy vegetable oils (olive or sunflower oil).
These are generally healthier than saturated oils. And they are also an excellent source of healthy fats (which are required for muscle gains).
My secret stir-dry ingredient? Worcestershire and soy sauce (and I’m asian, so you best heed my words!)
Building muscle is a long-term game. And you are in it for the long haul. Increase your likelihood of sticking to a high protein diet consistently, by finding methods to make ingredients palatable for you! Additionally, meal prepping stews can reduce cooking time during the week. Whilst stir-fries can make any ingredient more appetising!
This post has taught you how to get 140g of protein a day to build muscle as a skinny guy.
First, you will need to identify a list of high-protein ingredients that you like. Next, you will have to create a diet plan which splits your 140 grams of protein across a minimum of 4 daily meals. Finally, it is essential to find cooking methods which save you time and money, whilst making your food more palatable at the same time.
This will make your muscle-building journey much easier. And thus increases your chance of success.
And the best thing? You don’t need to use protein powder! (if you don’t want to).
How will you be hitting your protein targets?
Let me know in the comments below! Maybe you have some tasty ideas of your own?
Alternatively, signup to the Kalibre Newsletter for weekly posts![mc4wp_form id=”372″]
Thanks for reading guys!
(Biochemistry BSc, Biomedical Sciences MSc, Ex-Skinny Guy)