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Supplements PROTEIN?

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In bodybuilding and in the fitness world, Protein does not need an introduction. We all know that it is one of the macronutrients that we strive for and track in our diets. We can find numerous sources of proteins available today, including protein bars, powders, obviously beef, fish chicken, turkey and more.
Jons Jacob Berzelius, a Swedish Chemist, created the name “Protein” in 1883, the word is derived from the Greek language meaning “Primary or Lead”. Berzelius saw the significance of proteins and their role in sustaining life. This was the start of the study of proteins and the next step was Beer! Yes, I said beer.
Danish chemist Johan Kjeldahl was the head of the Chemistry Department at Carlsberg Laboratories and his interest at the time was the protein levels of malt because it had a direct effect of the final outcome of beer. His method of analyzing proteins is now used worldwide as the reference method for the protein content in food, feed, feed ingredients and beverages.
So what is “Protein”?
To understand what a protein is, it is first necessary to understand what amino acids are. Amino Acids are the building blocks of proteins just as proteins are the building blocks of life. There are twenty different amino acids that make up Proteins. It is the arrangement of the amino acids, and their content are determined by the encoding of the base gene of that protein. Proteins then are the catalyst of almost every cellular function.
So what are the 20 amino acids that make up our proteins? That’s a good question.

  • alanine
  • arginine
  • asparagine
  • aspartic acid
  • cysteine
  • glutamine
  • glutamic acid
  • glycine
  • histidine
  • isoleucine
  • leucine
  • lysine
  • methionine
  • phenylalanine
  • proline
  • serine
  • threonine
  • tryptophan
  • tyrosine
  • valine

We can only produce eleven of the twenty amino acids that are required to build proteins, the rest we must obtain for food sources. These amino acids are called, “Nonessential” because we can produce them ourselves and it is not required to include them in your diet. So, let’s look at that a little deeper. Our bodies can make the following amino acids:

  • alanine
  • asparagine
  • aspartic acid
  • cysteine
  • glutamine
  • glutamic acid
  • glycine
  • proline
  • serine
  • tyrosine


Then there are what we call “Essential Amino Acids”, they are called “Essential” because we must obtain them form our food sources or we will not have the ability to combine them and build proteins. Remember that Proteins are the building blocks that provide bacterial and virus protection, molecule transport throughout the body. Most important to us as bodybuilders is that they help repair cells and muscle is composed of approximately 80% protein. Without the Essential Proteins in our diet, we might as well give up. I know that you have heard that Muscles are made in the kitchen! This is a fact that all body builders should know and understand. Those aminos that we cannot produce ourselves we must figure out what food contain them and comprise them in our diet. There are nine essential amino acids:

  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • tryptophan
  • valine


Most protein powders include all nine of the Essential Amino Acids and that is why it is so prevalent to see it in the fitness world and in a bodybuilders diet. But there are better whole food sources where all nine can be found.

So where can we find the Essential Amino Acids? Any food that contains all nine Essential Amino Acids are called, “Complete Proteins”. Theses include Beef, Poultry, Fish, Eggs, Dairy, Soy, Quinoa and Buckwheat.

Some foods contain some but not all of the Essential Amino Acids and they are called, “Incomplete Proteins”. Some of the Incomplete Proteins are nuts, seeds, whole grains vegetables and legumes.



Amino Acids are the building blocks of Proteins.

Proteins are the building blocks of Muscles.

There are protein powders and there are whole foods that can supply the nine essential amino acids needed in your diet. While the Food and Nutrition Board sets the RDA of protein for the adult male at 0.8gm/kg, studies by the National Institute of Health support consuming 2.0gm/kg of protein. Keep in mind, just like a BMI indicating obesity, we do not all fit into that neat little box that the Government would like us to. I don’t pay attention to the standard for BMI because it will always list me between Overweight and Obesity since I am only 5’-5.5” tall and have a weight range typically between 168-185lbs.

Your protein needs will be determined by your age, body size, gender, and other factors include pregnancy, illness and environment. Additionally, as a bodybuilder, your protein needs will be greatly determined by your status or goals. Off season you will likely be able to get by with 1.6-2.2gm/kg og body weight. As you cut and your body fat decreases, we are talking about getting into the single digits, your requirement for protein will increase.

Proteins are essential to the Bodybuilding Lifestyle and important for you to reach your goals. So, grab that shake, eat that steak and pile on the sushi.
 
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