As active weight trainers, we are bombarded with different views and advertisements as to the kinds of protein we need and how much protein we need to consume.
When it comes to protein, two of the most critical issues we face is how much protein to consume and what sources to rely on. Protein is the primary food element of the human body, and is of special importance to active weight trainers.
Of the food intake that the body needs, protein is of primary importance. The only thing that your body needs more than protein is water
As active weight trainers, optimal protein consumption is of the utmost importance, particularly when the body is in a state of growth.
In a state of growth, the body will turn to protein stores to build lean muscle tissue. This is why we need quality protein sources and enough of it to build quality muscle.
The big question is, how how much protein does on need to consume for optimum growth?
According to the RDA, it is recommended that you get 1 gram of protein for every 2 pounds of bodyweight. This recommendation is for an average, sedentay person with little or no exercise habits.
For someone who is actively weight training and trying to build muscle this recommendation (RDA) is a little off the mark. Recent data indicates that active people need much more protein.
The active weight trainer trying to build his/her body needs more protein than the average person.
Therefore, 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight is considered sufficient (Possibly more or less). Of course, a little experiementation may be needed to determine how much protein is needed.
To find out how much protein you need to build muscle, simply take your bodyweight and multipy it by 1. For example,if you weight 175 pounds, multiply that by one and you get 175 grams of protein per day for building muscle.
The amount of protein needed will depend on the activity. Someone who is looking to tone up a bit (occasional weight training) will probably need alot less protein than a professional body builder.
However, the fact remains that to build bigger muscles, you need to eat alot of high quality foods that are high in protein.
Let’s take a look at some high protein foods.
These types of protein sources are thought to be as close to pure protein sources as you can get. The percentage of protein to calories from these types of foods are quite high (highly effective muscle building foods).
These types of pure protein sources can be eaten by active bodybuilders, weight trainers and athletes all the time. Athletes who are trying to shed bodyfat should get the most of their protein from sources that are 70% or higher in calories from protein.
For those of us who are trying to build muscle, we can eat as much of these foods as we want, provided that we consume plenty of calories from other sources.
Remember, it’s not only protein that you need to build muscle. We also need quality fuel from complex carbs and fat to complete the nutrition cycle. Muscle growth depends not only on protein consumption but also total calories consumed.
These types of foods high in protein are great for adding mass and strength because they offer a generous amount of protein and also contain enough fat to boost total caloric intake.
By boosting overall caloric intake, these types of protein sources will help you add the necessary mass to lift those heavy poundages. When your trying to increase your bodyweight and overall muscle mass, you need to consume alot of quality calories (especially for you hard gainers out there).
These types of foods include a wide range of percentage of calories from protein. However, you will have to be careful because some of these protein sources contain more calories from fat than protein.
These types of foods are excellent choices for most people trying to build muscle.
These protein sources are loaded with healthy fats, such as omega 3’s and omega 6’s which are notoriously missing from most diets. Alot of active weight trainers and bodybuilders shy away from these types of protein because they fear that they will add more body fat.
In fact, you should be consuming more healthy fats and reduce the consumption of processed carbs such as simple sugars and bleached flour.
What if your on a diet? Well, You can certainly benefit from some of these high protein food sources. The omega 3’s found in some of these foods may help your body store carbs as muscle glycogen – muscle fuel. These foods are a great source of muscle building food.
We’ve all heard that milk products are fatty and should be avoided if your trying to lose weight.
Milk products such as cheese, yogurt, skim milk are thought to contribute more to weight gain than weight loss. In reality, calcium in dairy foods actually trigger hormonal support to facilitate fat loss during a reduced calorie diet.
Active weight trainers should try and incorporate plenty of fat free dairy products in their diets – even a fat loss diet. However, beware of regular dairy (whole milk products) as these tend to be higher in fat.
If your trying to bulk up, low fat milk, cheese, and yogurt are great choices because they’re loaded with quality protein and calcium.
Plant proteins have not been traditionally know to contain loads of protein. Personally, I don’t use vegetables and legumes as my primary protein source, however, that’s not to say that vegetables don’t contain quality protein. In fact, many vegetables do contain protein, and some have a substantial amount.
The great thing about these foods is that not only do they contain high quality protein but they’re also high in fibre. As we know, fibre is that fantastic substance that keeps the nutrients flowing by helping the digestive process.
If you want your muscles to grow faster, make certain you get plenty of quality foods which are high in quality protein in your diet. Choose from the list above to help you decide which proteins you would like to include in your diet.
All the best,
Blake has been weight lifting for about 28 years now. He's 45 years of age and started seriously training when he was 18 years old.
Blake is the founder of Building-Muscle101.com, a successful fitness website that has been around for more than 15 years.