Learn How to Build Muscle

The Bodybuilding Guide to Protein

You’ve heard it a million times before - “eat your protein or you won’t build muscle!”, but what exactly does protein do? And why is it important for bodybuilder to get enough?

This simple guide will discuss how protein works, why it is essential for bodybuilders, and how to choose the best sources of protein.

To put it scientifically, proteins are “polymer chains made of amino acids linked together by peptide bonds” (Wikipedia.com). Proteins contain essential amino acids and non-essential amino acids, which differ only in the way they are supplied to the body. Essential amino acids cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained through food.

Non-essential amino acids, on the other hand, can be produced by the body. The essential amino acids are: leucine, valine, threonine, isoleucine, lysine, methionine, tryptophan, histidine, and phenylalanine. By getting enough good sources of protein, your body should be provided with both the essential and non-essential amino acids that are required to build new muscle and repair damaged fibers.

Protein is needed by your body for building muscle and tissue, and is also a major component of cells. If you exercise regularly, your protein needs probably differ from the average person. To calculate how much of this super-nutrient you need, divide your body weight (in pounds) by 2.2.

This will equal your weight in kg. Then, multiply your weight in kg by 0.8-1.8g (the higher the number, the more active you are). This will tell you how many grams of protein you need each day. For example, the calculation for a 175lb bodybuilder would look like this:

175lbs/2.2 = 79.5kg
79.5kg x 1.8g = 143g of protein/day

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Now that you know how to calculate your protein needs, it is important to know what the good, quality sources of protein are. The best sources of protein are: chicken breast, lean beef, eggs, milk, beans and greek yogurt. Obviously, there are other good sources of protein, but these foods are favored by bodybuilders for their low fat content compared to protein content. Read our article on great protein meals to get more ideas...

It is generally recommended by fitness professionals that you try to meet your protein needs by eating whole foods like the ones above (because they provide your body with essential amino acids). However, sometimes it is more economical and convenient to use protein powders or bars.

Protein powders come in whey, whey isolate, egg, soy, and casein. The powder or bar you choose will largely depend on your budget and personal preference. I recommend reading several reviews on the product before buying, and making sure that it contains high quality ingredients. Also, look for protein powders with a sugar content that fits your diet. You may also like to consider protein shakes as a means to get your whey requirements.

Protein is one of the most important nutrients for bodybuilders. It contains amino acids, which are the ket ingredients for protein synthesis and muscle building. Getting the right amount of protein for your body weight and activity level is crucial for maintaing strength and overall health. Take the supplementation of protein and always try to get your protein by eating whole foods. Hopefully, this quick guide to protein has helped you realize how important protein is to a bodybuilder and why you should eat more of it!

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