Welcome to the first installment in this series of fitness myths. Untruths and misinformation run rampant in the fitness world. The modern fitness industry has a strange history in that it was birthed by the bodybuilding world. Bodybuilding was a fringe subculture all the way up until the end of the 70's. What happened then? Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in Conan the Barbarian... and a generation of adolescent boys said, "My god. I want to look like THAT!".
Now enter the supplement companies. Oh, you want to look like that? No problem. All you need is this, this, and this. Of course, they left out one little detail - steroids. Perhaps the greatest legacy from this sin of omission is the idea that you need to eat copious amounts of protein to build muscle. The often repeated myth is 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. That's a convenient recommendation when you're selling tubs of protein powder. The truth is it's way more than you need. Protein synthesis (muscle building) doesn't occur anywhere near the rate of 1 gm per pound. Building muscle is a slow process, and it isn't infinite. Eventually the body refuses to take on any more muscle because it is metabolically expensive, and that goes against survival instincts. Your body says, "Fat? Sure, I'll make more of that. I know I can always use it. Muscle? I'm not sure about that.".
So, how much protein do you actually need? 0.6 grams per pound of bodyweight capped at a total of 100 grams is going to be sufficient for the vast majority - even those going at it hard in the gym. A serving of meat at two of your meals plus the complimentary amounts of protein contained in the other whole foods you eat throughout the day is going to be adequate. Most people are getting plenty of protein. What happens if you eat more? Your body converts it into energy and stores it as fat. Fitness myth #1 slayed... by Conan's metaphorical sword.