Ask any avid gym goer, let alone any gym rat (the bro), and odds are he (even she) will tell you need to get your protein. They’ll tell you “if you want to make them gains” then you need to start supplementing. And, if you listen to them, then the protein shaker will become your new best friend.
However, what most people don’t realize is that a lot of us can get all the protein we need from good old wholesome food. The health & fitness industry, specifically the supplement industry, has created a fallacy that if you want to make gains, grow stronger, and get jacked then you need to take their protein supplement and you’ll be looking like a Greek god (sure you will).
Frankly, that’s just not true.
It’s not true, because in reality, research is still inconclusive on really how much protein we need. Some say 10% of your total caloric intake while others say as much as 35% or more. The reason for this discrepancy, in my opinion, is because everyone is different and has different health and fitness goals. It’s tough to compare the professional athlete to the average Joe and how much protein each individual needs. That’s why we need to compare apples to apples (let’s say the athlete) and oranges to oranges (let’s say the average Joe).
One way is based on lifestyle. According to University of Arizona’s protein guide, for example, people with sedentary lifestyles should get about .40g/lb of protein for their body weight, moderate activity people should get about .50g/lb protein, and very active people who do intense work or sport should get between .60-.90g/lb of protein. In theory, this makes sense because if you’re doing more work, more exercise, and are highly active, then you will be breaking down more of your muscle through catabolic metabolic processes which may require more protein for recovery.
However, protein is just one component of the process that allows muscle regeneration, growth, and hypertrophy. Other things, such as adequate rest and proper intake of micronutrients (two topics in their own), will have a significant impact on muscle growth and overall health. (Click here to learn more about anabolic vs. catabolic metabolism).
So…how much do you really need?
As I mentioned earlier, it really all depends on you. Your body chemistry/genetics/make-up, amount of physical activity, and current state of health all effect and play a significant role in how much protein consumption you need. Will it hurt to supplement…probably not, but that doesn’t mean you should spend your next paycheck (me at one point) on protein supplements.
Before you go ahead and start supplementing, I recommend carefully examining your diet and see if you can adjust your macros by either increasing or decreasing your protein intake. Make the adjustment if you need one and give it a solid week or two.
At the end of that time, determine if you feel better, worse, or the same in your performance in the gym, on the field, and your health in general. Continue to experiment and if you find your body needs ample amounts of protein then go ahead and supplement. Otherwise, there is not a big reason, maybe besides convenience, to do so.
So what supplement do you choose if you do supplement?
You’ll have to tune in to part 3 to find out! I’ll break down the different and popular types of protein supplements and my experiences with them, so stay tuned!
As always, thanks for stopping by, please subscribe if not already, and leave a comment down below if your body tells you to. Until next time, be strong and be you!