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Protein

An important nutrient every body builder needs is plenty of protein. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Glucose molecules make up carbohydrates just like amino acids make up proteins.

Protein is involved in growing, repairing, and replacing tissues. That is made possible because proteins are the basis for body structures.

For body builders, nitrogen balance is an important concept to keep in mind when talking about proteins. Nitrogen balance is the difference between the amount of nitrogen taken in and the amount excreted or lost. If you lose more nitrogen than you consume, your body will break down muscle tissue to get it. On the other hand, if you consume more than you lose, you will be in an anabolic, or muscle building, state.

Protein intake exceeds output, and protein is retained in tissue as new muscle is added. Obviously, this is something that you want. Watch out, if your protein output exceeds intake you would have a negative nitrogen balance. This is not good because the opposite is now happening.

Your body is degrading muscle and other body proteins. You usually see this in people who are starving, burned, injured, or have a fever. This puts your body in what is called a catabolic state.

An anabolic state is when your body has a positive nitrogen balance. The term catabolic refers to the state of the body in which body compounds are broken down for energy purposes. In body building contexts, catabolic means muscle loss. Ultimately, your body won’t grow when it is in a catabolic state.

The general rule is to consume daily the same amount of grams in protein as your body weight. A 200 pound body builder, therefore, would need to eat 200 grams of protein every day to put the body in an anabolic state. When calculating the amount of protein you are eating, concentrate on the complete sources of protein like meat, fish, and eggs.

While there are proteins in other foods, you need to focus on the complete sources rather than those that are incomplete.

If you are dieting while body building, your protein intake should increase to 1 ½ times your bodyweight. Many diets have you cutting back on fat and carbohydrate intake. This forces the body to burn more protein for fuel which can put your muscle tissue at risk. To compensate, you’ll need to eat more protein to counteract this effect.

Here’s a quick guide to the protein content of some foods:

Protein-containing foods
5 oz. steak, cooked
5 oz. roasted chicken
5 oz. tuna
1 egg
1 c. milk
2 T. peanut butter
2 slices of cheese
2 slices of whole wheat bread
1 c. cooked broccoli
1 c. beans (legumes)
Protein (in grams)
35
43
43
6
8
9
14
5
5
15

Some people don’t feel that loading up on protein is a good idea for anyone, but if you want to get ripped with your body building program, you’ll need the amino acids in protein to work in your body. Be aware of the amount of protein you are eating and make them work for you instead of against you.



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