Protein and Fitness Performance

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

I am frequently asked how many grams of protein and what type of  supplements should a person consume to build muscle?  My answer is always the same, you should always consume foods with proper protein sources and have an exercise routine. I then  ask them the question do you even lift or exercise? You cannot build muscle if you don’t eat the right source of protein and there is no exercise involved. Let’s start by  explaining  in a simple way what a protein is and how it works in the body.

Protein is a macronutrient made up of various amino acids. It is just like carbohydrates and fats in that it is a complex molecule. There are 20 essential animo acids that the body needs.  Eleven of these amino acids can be produced by the body and the other 9 essential amino acids are obtained from consuming whole foods. Think of these amino acids as the building blocks for muscle. In oreder to build muscle it is necessary to stimulate the body through strength training. Muscles are made up of varoious fibers. When you strenght train you are actually causing small tears in these muscles fibers.  When these tears are repaired by various amino acids and grouth hormones, your body’s muscles get bigger and stronger.  Therefore it is important during strength training to gain muscle to have protein be an important part of your diet.

 I recommend consuming protein from natural foods. Natural foods not only provide a good source of protien but micronutrients to the body such as vitamins and minerals.  Examples of good natural foods full of protein with all essential amino acids are  dairy products, eggs, seafood, lean chicken breast, turkey breast, lean beef and pork.  You can also consume protein from milk protein isolate (no lactose) and whey protein. These are found in the protein powders you can find in various stores. You can also get the essential aminoacids  by pairing  various foods such as rice, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and dairy.

How much protein should a person consume to build muscle? The common belief is that a person should consume 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day to gain muscle.  So a person weighing 160 pounds should try to consume 160 grams of protein.   This is only a guidline though, each person is different.  It depends on your activity level and biological needs of the individiual.

Note: Before changing your diet please consult your doctor if you suffer from any disease related to protein intake.   A


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