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Myth #2

Myth #2: More protein is better.
What you should know: You can only use so much.

    Protein should be anywhere from 10 - 35% of your total diet.  Like all calories, excess protein will either be used as energy or stored as fat.  It is likely that protein will make up the smallest percentage of calories in your diet.
    Protein makes up the constituent parts of many structures including bones, ligaments, hair, nails, teeth, muscles and organs.  It is continually used to build, maintain and repair these structures and body tissues.  Proteins are used to make enzymes, hormones and are essential to immune system function.  They can also be used for energy when carbohydrates and fat do not provide adequate fuel.
    Many have misconstrued protein's role in rebuilding muscle tissue to mean that the more protein you ingest the more muscle you will build.  However, your body can only utilize so much and will only construct a finite amount of new muscle tissue per day.  Consuming more protein than required will not release previously untapped muscle building capacity.  Protein is the building block for lean muscle mass, but excessive amounts of protein will only result in increased fat storage.
    The recommended daily allowance for protein is approximately 0.4 grams per pound of body weight.  Research does support that athletes need more protein, but studies show no more than 0.9 grams per pound will be useful for gaining muscle.  You can assume a need between 0.4 and 0.9 grams per pound of body weight if you are currently working out.
    So why do fitness magazines suggest 1-2 grams per pound of muscle mass?  It's simple.  They're biased.  Most fitness magazines make a large percentage of their profit from the advertisement of supplementation.  Protein powder manufacturers are going to make it seem like the only way to get enough protein is to use their product and a lot of it.


    Interesting tidbit:  Carbohydrates are likely more important than protein for those who are trying to gain weight/muscle or increase athletic performance.  While you need protein to create muscle tissue, you also have to fuel the resistance training required to add more muscle mass.  You want your body to utilize carbohydrates for this energy source, not protein.  In this way, an abundant source of carbohydrates spares your muscle mass, by preventing your body from utilizing protein for energy.

REFERENCES


  • Fitness or Fiction - The Truth about Diet and Exercise, Copyright 2011. Brent Brookbush

    If you find information like this helpful, consider purchasing Brent's book, Fitness or     
    Fiction - The Truth about Diet and Exercise.  There's not a book out there that I could 

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