Some of my clients question the protein intake prescribed once I have scanned them. Then they tend to go google for a million different opinions. Let’s break it down on why and how much.
In the body, a protein is a special type of molecule that is comprised of substances known as amino acids. Think of amino acids as the “building blocks” of proteins–without the requisite amino acids, the body can’t create protein molecules.
Now, there are many types of proteins in the body, and they perform a wide variety of functions ranging from the replication and repair of DNA, to cell signaling (insulin is a protein, for instance), to the formation of tissues and other substances like hair and nails, and more.
The building of “muscle proteins” (the types of protein molecules that our muscles are made of) requires a variety of amino acids, some of which must be obtained from food (these are known as “essential” amino acids).
When you eat a food that contains protein, your body breaks the protein molecules in the food down into the amino acids they’re comprised of, and then uses those amino acids to build its own proteins.
If you eat too few grams of protein every day, your body can become deficient in the amino acids it needs to build and repair muscle, and thus, muscle growth becomes impaired.
Now, the body has certain protein needs even if you don’t exercise. Remember that every day cells are dying and being regenerated, and this requires amino acids.
When you do exercise, however, the body needs even more amino acids to repair damaged muscle fibers and, depending on what you’re doing, grow them larger. This is why athletes need to eat a high-protein diet to maximize performance.
Protein needs for each person is different as everyone has a different amount of fat free mass. To get your specific number make an appointment with us to get your body composition completed.
As clients get leaner, keeping their protein intake high becomes very important. If it drops too low below 1 gram per pound of body fat free mass, in my experience, strength and muscle loss is accelerated. I’ve found this to be very true, not only with my body, but with the hundreds and hundreds of people I’ve worked with.