Protein is a key macronutrient that provides the necessary functions in the body to avoid excess breakdown of muscle tissue. When zoning in on its impact regarding exercise and performance, it plays a significant role as it is not only what muscle fibers are made up of, but also the consumption of protein is what helps maintain and build new lean muscle. To be more specific, when engaging in a resistance training program that provides overload to a muscle, the muscle fiber and its muscle proteins will break down. The body will then undergo a process called muscle protein synthesis to rebuild these tissues in a stronger and more abundant state. The dietary protein we consume is what the body uses to help stimulate and maximize the effectiveness of the muscle protein synthesis process.
Although many believe that protein needs to be consumed in abundance within their diet as compared to other nutrients, it makes up just one piece of the puzzle in finding an optimal environment for muscle adaptation to occur. Beyond what is already consumed in a normal day’s diet, not much more protein intake is necessary as many individuals can reach their daily requirements (1.2-2.0 g/kg daily with regular exercise) without using additional supplements. The primary role of protein when related to performance consists of maximizing gains in muscle mass/strength, promoting adaptation in metabolic function, preserving lean mass while on a weight-loss program, and providing structural support to other tissues such as tendons, ligaments, and bones. The importance of protein intake is clear as it provides adequate benefits to one’s physical progress. However, the true path to achieving your fitness goals will be combining this protein consumption with a consistent training regimen and an optimal mix of other nutrients (carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals) that hit their respective daily energy requirements.
For more information on how to get started with or enhance a current a strength training program please contact [email protected]