Protein and lifting weights

But do weightlifters need all that much protein?

A common sight in weight rooms is observing people drinking protein shakes or talking endlessly about eating or supplementing more protein in order to build muscle.

But do weightlifters need all that much protein?

What about the rest of us – are we getting enough?

Protein is an important nutrient required for the building, maintenance, and repair of tissues in the body. When we exercise, we break down the protein in our muscles and what we eat is synthesized to replace, or even build more muscle.

Lifting weights breaks down our muscles to a high degree.

Endurance athletes break down more protein than we used to think, but weight lifting and high resistance training breaks it down the most.

But the body seems to have a maximum rate of protein synthesis, no matter how hard we exercise.

Studies over the past 20 years have consistently shown that average, sedentary people only need to eat about 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight.

When weight lifters and body builders exercise to the peak of their ability, they can only make use and process about 1.8 grams of protein per kg body weight per day.

We seem to top-out at this mark, no matter how the workout varies or how the diet is manipulated.

OK, let’s do some math. A 165-pound person weighs 75 kg. The recommended dietary allowance for protein for the average adult is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. That means that a 75 kg non-exerciser would require 60 grams of protein.

How much actual food is that?

A three ounce chicken breast, which is about the size of the palm of an average person’s hand, contains 26 grams of protein. A cup of milk contains eight grams of protein. A bowl of cereal for breakfast and a latte coffee each day is 16-25 grams of protein from milk alone.

That means that a chicken breast for lunch and dinner and a cup of milk during the day will more than cover your protein needs.

And that doesn’t include all the other protein in all the other foods we eat during a typical day.

But even if you are an avid weight lifter, your body won’t process and convert more than 1.8 g per kg of body weight per day. That means that, at most, you will need to eat 135 grams of protein in a day.

Keep in mind, though, that as we age, our protein needs decrease, so the older you get the less protein a weight lifter can process.

Even the younger weight lifter who has gained a great deal of muscle will need less total protein as they reach their genetic muscular potential.

People who lift weights and exercise at high intensities on a regular basis require more calories than non-exercisers. Sometimes the difference can be around 1,000 calories more for the serious exerciser.

Everyone is slightly different, but, on average, most people are easily getting enough protein and, in many cases, may be over-eating the amount of protein they need, which may have health consequences for some.

Supplementation can temporarily help if the diet can’t provide optimal nutrients, but it is always recommended to eat real food.

Besides, you are paying much more for the same nutrients by buying supplements.

 

 

– Kerry Senchyna holds a bachelor of science degree in kinesiology.

 

Just Posted

Pitt Meadows woman arrested after violent car robbery in Richmond

The woman along with a 28-year-old man from Delta arrested in Vancouver

Four officers at Maple Ridge’s regional prison charged with assault

Case in Port Coquitlam court adjourned until February.

Medical causes behind death in Memorial Peace Park

Happened early Saturday in downtown

People asked to report any cougar sightings in east Maple Ridge

WildsafeBC asks people to keep attractants in

Pitt Meadows council allows electronic attendance

Members of the public opposed, veteran councillors say change is not new

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Speaker Darryl Plecas’ report details ‘flagrant overspending’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

South Surrey mother didn’t have the intent to kill her daughter: defence

Closing submissions in case of Lisa Batstone underway

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Most Read