How Much Protein Do You Need?
Science Weighs In
In this article we will try to answer the question: “how much protein do I need?” What are the facts and what are the opinions? What is science and why does it matter? Is there any truth to the old wives tales about how much protein one needs for building muscle mass or fat loss?
Let’s get started!
What is Protein?
Protein is a macronutrient found in foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy products. It consists of amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins. Amino acids are the building blocks of all living cells and play an essential role in human physiology.
The body uses protein primarily for energy production and repair. However, the body can also use protein as a source of building material for new tissue or simply to maintain homeostasis.
Protein plays an important role in many bodily functions including bone formation, immune function, cell division and growth.
Amino acid composition of different food sources varies greatly from one type of animal to another (e.g., beef vs chicken) but they tend to have similar amounts of each amino acid.
The protein quality in terms of essential amino acids is greater in animal sources than in plant sources.
What is Muscle?
Muscle is one of the main organs responsible for movement in the human body. The human body contains more than 640 muscles that enable you to move, see, hear, digest, and basically do everything you can and can’t think of. There are three types of muscles in the human body: skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle, and smooth muscle. The skeletal muscles are the ones used in voluntary movement e.g. when you take a walk or run. The cardiac muscles are the ones used to pump blood from the heart.
The skeletal muscles start as muscle cells, called muscle fibers. Muscle cells are highly specialized to convert energy into movement.
As such, they contain numerous long strands of proteins called actin and myosin that allow the muscle to contract and relax over and over again without getting tired.
To strengthen your muscles you have to work out, or exercise them by lifting weight. After exercising, muscle cells grow in size and number to become stronger.
While muscle cells are the basic building blocks of the skeletal muscles, they are not the only ones involved in movement. Muscle tissues are groups of cells bundled together. The different types of muscle tissues are: cardiac muscle, smooth muscle, and skeletal muscle.
What is Strength Training?
Strength training uses resistance to muscular contraction to build the strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles. It is an important part of fitness training, whether or not you also train for endurance, sport, or to prevent injury. Strength training can involve both your whole body or a specific body part. The goal is to increase the size and strength of your muscles.
What is Muscular Endurance?
Muscular endurance is another important aspect of fitness. It refers to your ability to perform a particular activity or exercise for an extended period of time. Muscular endurance is different from muscular strength in that it refers specifically to the muscles’ energy reserves and the ability to continue holding a specific position or movement.
What is Muscular Strength?
Skeletal muscles have two aspects of strength: the maximum force they can produce and the time that force can be maintained. Muscular strength is the maximum force a muscle can produce, which is measured in pounds or kilograms of force. When you lift a heavy box, your muscles are producing the greatest amount of force they can to help you lift the box. Muscular strength is specific to the movement or action you are performing. For example, a person who plays tennis regularly will have stronger shoulder and arm muscles than someone who rarely plays sports or does any physical activity.
What is Muscular Hypertrophy?
Skeletal muscle hypertrophy is the increase in the size of skeletal muscle cells. In other words, your muscles get bigger. When a muscle hypertrophy, it can also increase its strength. This is usually what most people think of when they hear the word “muscle.” While a right amount of muscle can make someone look more attractive, an excess of muscle mass can make someone look “overly muscular.”
What are Strength-Training Equipment?
There are many different types of strength-training equipment available. Strength-training equipment can be bought either new or used. When buying used equipment, make sure it is sturdy and will not break. Ask how long the person has owned it and how much they used it. If the equipment is second-hand, inspect it for cracks and broken parts.
Barbells and Weights–This consist of a long metal bar with weights on either end. You can buy different types of barbells with weights already on them or you can buy just the bar and then add your own weights or “plates” as they are called.
Barbells and weight sets can be bought new or used. When buying used, make sure the weights do not come loose or have sharp edges. Also make sure the bar does not bend when you put on a few extra weights.
Dumbbells–Dumbbells are portable weights that can be held in your hands for different strength-training exercises. The weights can be rectangular or rounded.
You can use different weights for different exercises. For example, you might use lighter weights for bicep curls and heavier weights for shoulder presses. You can buy new or used dumbbells. When buying used, make sure they do not have any rust or lose their shape when you lift them.
Medicine Ball–A heavy ball that you squeeze, throw, or push against a wall to strengthen your muscles. You can buy medicine, slam, or pushball.
Exercise Bikes–You can use exercise bicycles, also called “stationary bicycles,” for exercising indoors. They are good for people who want to stay in shape but do not have time or weather conditions for outdoor exercise.
Stationary bicycles come in both upright and recumbent designs. Upright bikes allow you to exercise your upper body as well as your legs. Recumbent bikes are low to the ground and support your back.
Elliptical Trainers–This piece of equipment is good for people with joint problems or anyone who wants a low-impact workout. It allows you to exercise your arms, legs, and upper body.
Stair Climbers–This machine is good for people with joint problems or anyone who wants a low-impact workout. It allows you to exercise your leg muscles while avoiding any impact on your knees.
Treadmills–This machine is good for people with joint problems or anyone who wants a low-impact workout. It allows you to exercise your legs while avoiding any impact on your knees.
Weights–These are free weights, not fixed in place like machines. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes and weigh from 1 to 50 pounds.
You use them to strengthen your muscles by lifting the weights through a range of motion. You can buy new or used weights. When buying used, make sure that they are not cracked or damaged in any way.
Stability Ball–This large ball, also called a Swiss ball, is good for abdominal and core strength training. You use your core, or torso, muscles to keep you balanced on the ball.
Kettlebells–These cast-iron weights in the shape of a balloon are good for working your whole body. They can be used for strength and endurance training.
Rowing Machine–This piece of equipment with long handles and a strap is good for working your arms, back, and legs. It can be used for aerobic and anaerobic training.
Your home gym does not need to have every piece of equipment listed here. If you want to save money, you can pick and choose the items that are the most useful to you.
Also, some equipment can be shared. For example, if you have a treadmill, your whole family can use it rather than buying one for everyone to use.
Equipment for children should always be firmly anchored to the floor and be the right size for the child. It is very dangerous for a child to use exercise equipment meant for adults.
As you start to get into shape, you may want to enter an aerobics class or a run-walk race. Some home gyms have attachments for these activities.
If not, you can always go to a local recreation center that has what you need.
After you have picked out what you think you need, write down the item, the price, and the location. You can go back later when you have saved enough money to buy it.
Add It Up
You should now have a list of items that you want to buy for your home gym. You may want to jot down some notes about why you picked each item.
For example, you may have written that you chose knee-high weightlifting boots because they were on sale and you can wear them for heavy lifting or aerobic walking.
Look through your list and compare the prices. You should get an idea of which items are a good value.
Look for sales and search the Web to get the best prices.
Your home gym will save you a lot of money in health club dues. It will also give you the equipment that is right for you so you get the most out of your workouts.
Best of all, you can have it set up just the way you like it.
Now all you have to do is start saving your money!
This content was created with information obtained from The Community Toolbox,a Chicago nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people improve their lives. The Community Toolbox offers free advice and education to help people gain the skills and knowledge they need to take control of their lives.
Tags: aerobics, exercise, fitness, save money, strength training, weights
Sources & references used in this article:
How Much Protein Do You Need In Nutritional Ketosis? by S Phinney, J Volek, B Volk – 2008 – virtahealth.com
How baking works: exploring the fundamentals of baking science by PI Figoni – 2010 – books.google.com
Protein, Carbs, & Fat: Everything You Need To Know About Them! by M Kaku – 2012 – Anchor
Nutrition: Science and applications by M Johnson – bodybuilding.com