Protein is an absolutely essential nutrient for the human body. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, protein supplementation was closely associated with big bulky bodybuilders and along with it the misconception that huge bulky mass is the single purpose of using protein as a supplement. This couldn’t be more wrong.
Yes protein is absolutely essential for muscle growth, but protein alone won’t result in excessive muscle development. This is dictated more by your training style and overall calorie intake. What most don’t realise is that along with additional protein intake, these big magazine cover bodybuilders are consuming upwards of 8000 calories per day and training with insanely heavy weights often twice per day.
Protein is actually required to power your body’s immune system and the first 10-15 grams of protein you ingest each day goes to this function first and foremost. High protein intake is also required for recovery from exercise, and that goes for everything from running and yoga to competitive sports and extreme weight lifting. Protein has even been proven to assist with weight loss.
Firstly, proteins raise your body’s metabolism while digesting, which is typically slower than carbohydrates and fats, meaning protein also keeps you feeling fuller for longer. But there is also a direct correlation between muscle mass and fat loss. The more dense muscle tissue you have, the more calories your body burns just in order to exist in that state, let alone during intense exercise.
It is recommended that a highly active person looking to add muscle or muscle density, consumes at least 1.5 grams of protein per day for each kilo of their bodyweight. Meaning an 80kg guy would be aiming for 120grams of protein per day. That’s the equivalent of 8 large sized chicken breasts. Even some of the larger pro athletes would really struggle to get anywhere near this intake, let alone the cost involved and the cooking effort required. This is why protein supplementation is so essential to the modern day gym goer chasing that ideal body.
There is also a common misconception that all protein supplements are heavy milkshake products which are high in calories and sugars. Protein supplements are so plentiful and diverse that sub categories have developed including specific products developed for building mass, aiding fast recovery or specific diet products which include ingredients to assist fat loss.