Protein – The Key to Muscle
The debate over how much carbohydrate and fat people should eat usually overshadows the significance of protein intake. This is unfortunate since protein plays a key role in health, fitness, and performance. Protein is crucial in building, maintaining and even retaining muscle mass. Muscle is important because it improves overall function, performance and helps improve body composition. Case in point: You might have seen tons of athletes and gym goers who look much better than the average person despite weighing the same. That’s simply because they carry more muscle mass and thus they have better body composition than your average joe. More importantly, muscle mass plays a major factor in long term health and quality of life.
How much Protein do you need?
As with most things in nutrition, there’s no simple answer. Your protein needs will depend on your health, age, weight, body composition, goal and level of physical activity (type, intensity, and duration). The older you get the more protein you will need compared to the younger person because as you get older your body slows down and you start losing muscle as a result. Ideally the protein requirements for adults are:
• If you’re of healthy weight and sedentary, aim for 1.2–1.8 g/kg
• If you’re of healthy weight, active, want to maintain and/or build muscle, aim for 1.5–2.0 g/kg. Aim for the higher range if you’re an athlete and/or regular gym goer.
• If you’re of healthy weight, active and want to lose fat, aim for 1.8-2.5 g/kg
• If you’re overweight, aim for 1.2–1.5 g/kg
• If you’re pregnant, aim for 1.5–1.8 g/kg
For example, if you weigh 70kgs and want to build muscle then you should be eating around 105 grams – 140 grams (1.5-2.0 g/kg) of protein every day. If you’re an athlete and you are serious about your performance and muscle, then try to aim for the higher range i.e. 140 grams.
Key considerations to building muscle
So you might be thinking to yourself: I can gain muscle by just eating loads of protein right? Wrong! Simply consuming a diet with protein won’t build muscle mass. You need to keep the rest of your diet in check i.e. eat a healthy diet with enough carbs and fats and participate in muscle strengthening and building activities that is necessary for your muscles to use energy and synthesize new muscle growth. Strength training and weight training improves your bodies ability to gain muscle mass. Thus, a combination of a healthy diet high in protein and weight training is the key to gaining, maintaining and retaining muscle mass.
Protein Powder 101
The main question is: Should you take protein powder supplements and is it harmful to your health? Well, protein powders are completely safe if you’re taking the right one. There are lots of supplement brands in the market but most people are unaware about the fact that there are fake supplements as well. As long as you buy supplements from well-known brands like Optimum Nutrition (ON), Scitech, Muscletech etc who have authorized distributors in Nepal then you’re fine. We at Fitnepali.com only work with authorized distributors who provide genuine products.
It’s important to remember that the clue is in the name “Supplement”. Supplements are usually designed to fill in the nutrition gaps of a complete balanced diet. If you’re eating a balanced diet with good amount of micronutrient dense foods like fruits, vegetables and macronutrients like Protein, Carbs and Fat but you’re still unable to hit your protein goals for the day, then it would be wise to invest in a protein supplement. There are different types of protein powders in the market but I’d recommend you buy a simple Whey protein which will provide you the best value for money and help you hit your protein needs as well. If you follow any sort of exercise regime, whether it’s based around weights, cardio, or endurance training, then you need more protein than the normal person. Protein supplements offers a quick and convenient way to increase your daily intake. Likewise, there are certain people like vegetarians who would benefit from protein supplements because plant based foods are low on protein and protein powders would help them reach their protein requirements quicker and easier.
Protein Rich Foods:
Protein supplement – 22-25 grams per serving (Depends on the Brand and Powder)
1 large Egg – 6 grams
100 grams Buff – 20 grams
100 grams Chicken – 25 grams
100 grams Fish – 20-25 grams (Depends on the type of fish)
1 cup Milk/Yoghurt – 8 grams
100 grams Paneer – 18 grams
100 grams Cheese – 20-22 grams
100 grams Beans/Chick peas – 9 grams