Optimum Protein for Muscle Growth and Lose Weight

how much protein athletes and non athletes need? 

Optimum Protein for Athletes and non athletes: What Does Current Research Say?


Planning for correct and optimum dietary balance needs to ensure that this meets the needs for macronutrients like protein.  Athletes rely on power and strength, requires programmes to build muscles through suitable nutrition. Therefore, nutrition practitioners periodically assess and monitor body composition of athletes by using simple anthropometric measurements. A review of the literature on this subject has revealed various studies that have examined how nutritional strategies can lead to improved performance for athletes participating in sports. Protein is one of the most popular topic among most fitness enthusiasts,recreational and competitive athletes, many of whom are puzzled about the amounts of protein they need for their chosen activities and sports, when they should eat it, and the best kinds of protein to choose.

Just like children during growth (0.6 g Pro/lb; 1.3 g pro/kg), athletes also need more protein: [0.55 g/lb (1.2 g/kg)] for endurance athletes and 0.75 g/lb (1.7 g/kg) for strength and power athletes)  to build lean muscle mass than others who are not as active (0.4 g pro/lb; 0.8 g pro/kg). This optimum protein requirement should be in line with proper energy intake from carbohydrate and fat. Those who decide to restrict their calorie in-put in order to lose weight, end up using some protein for fuel, thus they need a higher protein intake. The best way to stimulate muscular growth is to engage with resistance exercise in a form of weight lifting. To support muscle growth after weight lifting, consuming high quality protein (with all the essential amino acids) in close proximity to their training is important (30-45 minutes before training). High quality proteins include milk products, poultry, eggs, fish, lean beef, all meats, and soy protein.


But How should protein intake consumed throughout the day?

Current research suggests the best strategy to facilitate muscle growth and development is to spread the protein intake evenly throughout the day. I quite like the way Nancy Clark advises the way of using it; She suggests: "For example, if you were having a carbohydrate-based breakfast (such as oatmeal or a bagel) and a salad for lunch, you would be wise to include more protein in those meals. The goal is to consume at least 20 grams of protein every 3 to 4 hours. For example, a 200 lb (91kg) athlete who chooses at least 20 grams of protein per meal and snack will easily consume the recommended 150+ grams of high quality protein: 3 eggs for breakfast (21 g protein); 2 cheese sticks for a morning snack (14 g pro); 4 oz. deli meat in a lunchtime sandwich (28 g pro); an afternoon snack with 6 oz. Greek yogurt (18 g pro) mixed with 1/2 cup high protein cereal (6 g pro); a medium (6 oz). chicken breast for dinner (42 g pro); and 8 oz. cottage cheese (24 g pro) before bed easily does the job, with no need for protein supplements". Well said!

The question I have always been asked as a performance coach and a personal trainer is:  Are most dietary protein sources the same? What type of protein supplementations do I need: What's the different between whey, soy or casein? My understanding: it all down to amount and types of essential amino acids (EAA) and the rates of digestion. For example, whey is quickly digested than casein. Soy protein contains less EAAs than whey or casein. From all EAA The leucine is the most important one for building muscle and recovery from resistance training. So, animal proteins like milk, lean beef, and tuna—are leucine-rich and by far better than plants proteins. Consuming slowly absorbed protein like casein, before bedtime can help support muscle-building processes throughout the night. This may be particularly important for athletes seeking to maximize muscular growth during building phase, such as during a pre-season training program. Cottage cheese is one of its kind and widely available in supermarkets. My suggestion would be plain cottage cheese to reduce consumption of unnecessary carbohydrate at night time.


Vegetarians—particularly vegans?

Plant foods are great source of protein and athletes and non athletes can successfully achieve their protein requirement throughout the day. Grains mostly contain all 9 essential amino acids, although is lower than an equivalent serving of animal foods. Vegans in particular need to eat generous portions of protein rich food like grains, beans, legumes, nuts, soy to compensate for both the lower density of the protein and the fact that plant proteins are less bioavailable due to their fiber content. The best way for a vegetarian to maximise protein intake is to eat enough food. The important note is, energy deficit easily leads to loss of muscle mass if vegetarian is undereating. Vegans who want to lose body fat (not weight and muscle) need to concentrate their limited food intake on protein-rich plant foods like tofu.