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The Protein Q&A for Beginners

Publish date: 20/07/2013

Protein is the most important nutrient when it comes to muscle building and losing fat. Every serious weight trainer swears by protein and its importance cannot be stressed enough. Now with all the information that is available on the internet about protein, supplements, et al, it could be a little confusing for you as to what to take, when to take and  how much to take. Here we try to answer some of the basic queries about protein that should come in handy.

How Much of Protein do You Need?

The usual intake for protein for a normal individual is pegged at 55 grams per day as per the UK Food Standards Agency.  However, when you are an active individual and regularly do weight and muscle training, your needs are higher. As per experts, an optimum amount of protein for active people should ideally be arrived at by considering 2grams for each kilogram of bodyweight. So, just do the simple math for yourself and you would know how much you need.

Will it Harm if You Don’t Take Enough Protein?

Yes, if this is on a continuous basis. Occasional low protein diet is alright, but when you continue it for a long period, your body starts to burn muscles for its energy requirements and you lose out on your muscle mass, which is very detrimental to any individual trying to build muscles.

Does Protein Help in Fat Loss?

Yes, it does. Protein influences the metabolic rate and facilitates weight or fat loss. Not only that it also helps you to retain lean muscle as you lose weight and helps in appetite control. Additionally it improves and enhances functioning of muscles, antioxidants, insulin and leptin, all of which favorably influence weight loss.

Best Sources of Protein

Protein can be had from both plant and animal sources, though animal protein is more complete since plant or vegetable sources are at times low on certain essential amino acids.  You can get protein from different kinds of nuts, beans, fish, poultry, meat and whey.

How Good is Whey Protein?

Whey is one amongst the two main protein components of milk. It is extremely good as a protein supplement and is very popular for serious weight trainers all over the world. It is a complete protein that rapidly nourishes muscles due to its very high biological value when compared to much other protein rich food such as soya, beef and fish. It has very high levels of Essential and Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs), which are very helpful for muscle growth. Whey is rich in leucine and glutamine, which help in muscle recovery and repair after strenuous workout sessions. Overall whey is an excellent source of protein.

What Does Protein Shake Comprise?

A protein shake can be really good as a protein source. You will however need to make sure that it has the right ingredients in right proportions, has the manufacturers’ label for rigorous testing and labeling and also check out whether the brand stands up to the promises made about the product by offering guarantees.

How Many Times and Which Time of the Day Should you Drink Your Protein Shake?

Going by what most experts usually recommend, you should ideally take your shake twice. One is to be taken an hour or so before you start your workout and another right after finishing your training session. The second serving will help you repair the damage to muscle tissue due to the training and also spurt further growth.
So, get your basics right with protein, make sure that you are serious about your exercise routine and there is no reason why you wouldn’t get the muscles that you always wanted.