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× HomeNutritionMuscle and TrainingHealthRecipesWhat Is Whey Protein?About
Muscle and Training

How Protein Kickstarts Muscle-Building

Science shows that protein contributes to a growth in muscle mass in combination with exercise. But did you know that your body needs a certain amount of protein to start the process – and that all proteins are not equally good at doing that?1

Protein and exercise

Both exercise and intake of protein are factors that tell your body to start building muscle.


Leucine is the part of the protein that kickstarts the muscle-building process. It’s an essential amino acid that is mostly found in complete proteins*. Meat, milk and whey protein contain complete proteins.

700-3,000 mg

Your body needs at least 700 – 3,000 mg of leucine at one time to start the process. That equals approximately 7 – 30 g of whey protein. Therefore each of your protein doses should exceed the minimum amount.

About the author

Jose Antonio

Professor, PhD, Associate Professor and Director of the Exercise and Sports Science Program, Department of Health and Human Performance, Nova Southeastern University, USA

Jose Antonio lives in South Florida and has been involved in the sports nutrition and fitness industry for nearly three decades. Jose earned his PhD in skeletal muscle physiology – and for the past two decades has been teaching and researching in the area of sports nutrition. He is the Director of the Exercise and Sports Science program at the Nova Southeastern University.

  1. The information in this infographic is based on the 2017 paper from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN).
  • On WheyForLiving we refer to proteins with the DIAAS score 1 or above as complete proteins.
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