All You Need To Know About Protein

Aaron Wood, November 28, 2016
All You Need To Know About Protein

Protein is a nutrient that is essential to building lean muscle mass. You will find protein in a variety of foods such as lean cuts of meat, nuts and beans. Protein contains amino acids that are important to muscle growth and development, which is why many bodybuilders follow high protein diets. While you must be careful not to eat too much protein, increasing your intake within safe limits can help you reach your fitness goals.

How Protein Affects Exercise Performance

Protein is essential to your body during exercise. When you eat protein, your body breaks it down to fuel muscles during strenuous activity. This means your metabolism also gets a boost from the protein you eat before a workout. According to the National Institutes Of Health, heavy exercise suppresses your immune system which can make you susceptible to infection. Eating protein has been found to improve the function of your immune system, which makes it important for those who exercise frequently and with intensity.

How Much Protein Do I Need?

How Much Protein Do I Need While Bulking?

If you are in a bulking phase, increasing your protein intake will help you gain muscle mass. Most studies agree that athletes trying to gain muscle mass generally respond best increasing their protein intake to 0.6-0.8 grams per pound of body weight. Many athletes drink protein shakes after a workout to get protein and amino acids essential to muscle recovery. Whey protein is the type of protein bodybuilders use following a workout. Protein shakes are portable and one of the easiest ways to increase the amount of protein you get daily.

How Much Protein Do I Need During A Cutting Phase?

If you are dieting to cut fat and increase muscle mass, protein is a key ingredient in the process. When you are cutting fat, you don't want to lose muscle mass you worked hard to earn. Protein intake could be slightly increased during a cutting phase. This will keep your metabolism running strong and help your body hold onto muscle while losing fat. Having adequate amounts of protein in on board will keep your body from burning muscle for energy. The best way to accomplish this goal is to spread out your protein intake across 5 to 7 meals during the day. After a workout, having a protein shake on hand will help you get protein into the muscle immediately, which aids in muscle recovery. While whey protein is still considered to be best after a workout, it isn't the best type of protein to have right before bed. Casein protein powder is the longest lasting type of protein, making it perfect to consume before bed because you will be fasting for several hours during the night.

The Effects Of Too Much Protein

While protein is essential for muscle growth and overall health, consuming too much of it can cause health problems in some people. High protein diets have been associated with kidney problems such as kidney stones. Very high levels of protein in the diet have also been found to contribute to liver disorders, coronary artery disease and a loss of bone density. Scientists have found that very high levels of protein are not effectively used by the body and place a burden on the body's metabolic system. Read more about dangers of protein.

The Effects Of Too Little Protein

If you are not eating enough protein to support your exercise habits, your body may suffer the consequences. Your immune system may lag, causing you to get sick more often. Because protein contains amino acids important to energy and function, you may experience overall muscle weakness if you eat too little protein. In addition, your hair may not be as full and you may be more irritable than normal. Protein fuels your workouts, it is important to consume adequate amounts before and after exercise to make big fitness gains.

What Contains Protein

You can eat foods high in protein to increase your daily intake. Foods high in protein include nut butters, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, ground beef, steak, fish, cheese, milk and eggs. If you find it difficult to eat enough food to increase your intake of protein, you can use a protein powder or protein bar as a supplement twice a day. It is best to spread your protein intake out throughout the day, so you will feel full for longer periods of time.

Protein is a key component in getting in better shape. If you are working hard in the gym to build muscle, eating more protein will support your efforts. When you consume too little protein while exercising intensely, you may cause your body to use muscle for energy instead of fat. High protein diets are safe for most people, however, contact your doctor before increasing your protein intake if you have any pre-existing medical conditions such as kidney or liver problems.

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