my understanding is 1 gram per pound of body weight. yes you need to eat protein to build muscles. I found if I were eating as little protein as you I did not build muscles. But I upped my protein levels and now muscles are coming on. You can't build muscles on that little of protein.
Fitness Minutes: (18,947)
380 1/13/13 2:14 P
Thank you very much for all the comprehensive information and taking time to answer my quoestions
Fitness Minutes: (47,860)
820 1/13/13 10:20 A
Here's an excellent article explaining neromuscular adaptation, which a couple of the posters referred to.
Fitness Minutes: (47,860)
820 1/13/13 10:08 A
I am also eating at a calorie deficit, since I want to lose body fat. Though I look ok in my clothes, I have a large percentage of body fat - on the way upper end of normal, in fact. At my age (63), I don't want it hanging around my internal organs. I also have a roll of fat, hanging around the middle. I am strength training 4 days a week (split schedule) and doing cardio 3 or 4 days. I am making a concerted effort to keep my protein at or above the recommended Spark range.
I've increased my protein utilizing Greek yogurt, an oz of nuts and oatmeal,
Edited by: BERTA6978 at: 1/13/2013 (10:21)
Fitness Minutes: (35,627)
23 1/13/13 9:37 A
I find that when you just start strength training, you gain muscles faster as you go further, your progress slows down. My guess would be that as you increase weights, your muscles won't repair themselves the same as they would if you ate enough protein. I know for myself, I have recently started supplementing protein because I am a vegetarian and can't stomach legumes, which leaves me with a few sources of protein to choose from.
Fitness Minutes: (66,151)
2,489 1/13/13 7:37 A
I've been eating at a calorie deficit for 6 months now and strength training for 5 months. I've become super toned, the most fit I've been in my entire life even more than when I was thin as a teen and in my early 20's. Definitely worth it. Most of my weight loss journey I'd eat around 1350 cals and get 75-115 g of protein but now I'm eating 1200 cals and get between 60-90 g.
The bulk of increased strength (especially in the early phases of strength training) comes from improved muscle quality, rather than increased muscle mass. In particular, the nerves controlling muscle fibers 'learn' to co-ordinate their efforts better - known as 'neuromuscular adaptation'.
I would take what is said on bodybuilding sites with a grain of salt. The scientific literature supports a maximum effective protein intake of 1.4 g per KILOGRAM of bodyweight - and this is for athletes in heavy training. Many people misread this as being per pound (1 kg = 2.2 lbs), and then decide to "add a little more protein just for good measure" to come up with protein intakes that are just ridicuously high, and are neither necessary, or even add any benefit.
That said, the body does need protein to keep up with all the little repair jobs, and if it isn't getting it from your intake, it will start cannibalizing your existing muscle to get it. It is important to try to get your protein within Spark's recommended range.
MPLANE37 explains it very well. There is usually a massive increase in strength in the first two months of strength training which has nothing to do with additional muscle mass being built, and it can lead beginners to believe that they are building muscle when they are not. Usually, to build muscle you need about 200 calories per day above your maintenance range; and you don't want to do a lot of cardio (if any) because cardio is mildly muscle wasting in nature. Heavy weight lifting several times/week provides the stress you need to force your muscles to develop extra tissue.
Once you "hit the wall", i.e., you've already built all the strength you can with the muscle tissue you already have, usually around the 6-12 week mark, you have two choices: continue to eat a calorie deficit (if you want to lose weight), stick with the strength training, and maintain the strength you have (it should continue to increase but at a dramatically slower rate); or increase your calories from protein to a 200 calorie surplus and continue the strength training, which, if you're a woman, can lead to building up to 1/4 to 1/2 lb muscle per month in the absolute best scenario, more if you're a man.
As far as protein is concerned: you don't need a scary amount of protein and your body won't use all of the protein you eat to build muscle anyway. In fact it will only use a very small amount of it for that. Your body needs protein for lots of reasons. If you're only getting a small proportion of your calories from protein, what that really says is that you're getting a lot of carbohydrates, fat, and/or alcohol in your diet. Replace all the alcohol (if it exists) with protein calories for starters. Then look at your carbs and fat, and whichever one is over your suggested range, swap it out for protein instead. Protein is not scarce -- you can find it in many foods from beans, lentils, meats, fish, vegetables, yogurt, and pasta to pure whey protein.
Fitness Minutes: (35,097)
2,166 1/13/13 2:36 A
Gaining strength in the beginning does not require you to build muscle. It happens through the adaptation and remodeling of your muscles to the stress caused by strength training.
But this strength gain cannot continue forever. There is an upper limit to your strength gain if you don't eat at a caloric surplus and enough protein.
Too little protein is dangerous, because before your skeletal muscles, various internal systems in your body have critical protein needs, e.g. your blood needs to be practically rebuilt from scratch every few days. I think you should fix your protein intake right away. An interim solution would be great tasting protein (whey) shakes that body builders routinely use.
Fitness Minutes: (18,947)
380 1/12/13 11:58 P
Here's what I don't get. For building muscle mass and gaining strength we need protein. So I've looked it up everywhere and the very minimal amount of protein I need just for keeping my muscles is about 40g. If I want to gain muscle, I would have to eat more and bodybuilder-oriented sites suggest a LOT more. I've been tracking my nutrients and unfortunately I'm eating only up to 30 g of protein in a day and sometimes as few as 10-15 grams (Yes, I know, I have to work on that). What results would you expect from strength training then? Will I only waste my muscles? Because that's what I would think myself... However, I've done strength training for 2 months and it seems that I've still gained some strength. I don't have my bodyfat measurements...
Can anyone explain this issue? How is it possible to gain strength without nearly enough protein (is it)?
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