You’ve probably heard a lot of workout jargon while you’re on your muscle-gaining journey. These terms include but are not limited to rep, form, and gains. Knowing gym terminology is one thing, but learning about the technicalities in your workouts is another. Although there is one term, particularly, that’s worth paying attention to, and that’s protein.
Workouts are only as effective as your diet. There is so much misconception surrounding those two. Both of these should be balanced and should complement each other. People believe in some myths, specifically about protein as a companion to the gym life. Here are some of those myths debunked.
What Is Protein?
Before we go any further, let’s first cover our basics by defining what protein is and why it’s important. Protein is what makes up your hair, nails, bones, and what everybody loves to associate it with, muscles. They do important work as one of the building blocks of your body. Proteins carry the nine amino acids essential to our bodies: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
The recommended amount of protein per day is 56 grams for the average inactive man and 46 grams for the average inactive woman. For advice on effective meal planning, be sure to consult a dietitian or personal trainer taking continuing education courses.
Myth 1: Protein Is All You Need to Get Bigger Muscles
This is not entirely true. Although protein is essential for muscle growth, other nutrients like calcium, iron, vitamin D, and magnesium, to name a few, are important for muscle growth. In fact, your protein intake needs to change over time, too, depending on where you are in your muscle-gaining journey. You need more protein while gaining some muscle than when keeping them. Less protein is needed in maintaining muscle mass.
A great source of protein is generally animal protein since it provides all the important amino acids in the right ratio for your body to function effectively. These include fish, meat, eggs, dairy, and poultry.
Myth 2: Veganism and Other Plant-Based Diets Don’t Provide Enough Protein
Despite the general opinion on plant-based diets, getting the amount of protein you need as a vegan isn’t necessarily impossible. All it takes is a well-thought-out meal plan, and you can get what your body needs.
There are multiple greens and more that can do the job of regular animal meat. Tofu, tempeh, and edamame (all from soybeans) offer all the essential amino acids your body needs. They carry iron, calcium, and around ten to 19 grams worth of protein every 3.5 ounces, which can total up to 100 grams. Another great source of protein is oats. Half a cup of these bad boys (approximately 120 ml) makeup six grams of protein for your daily needs. The great thing about plant-based meals is that they can be versatile and still be nutritious! Plant-based diets are not boring at all (another myth debunked!).
Myth 3: All Sources of Protein Are Good
Protein is still protein, right? Well, that is true, but just because your food provides the protein content you need, that doesn’t mean that it’s all you need. You have to think about how it might affect other systems in your body too. Processed meat, for one, is usually filled with too much salt, which induces high blood pressure. The same goes for your fast-food chicken. They are generally high in fat and sodium.
You might want to rethink doing a quick drive-thru after your workout session.
Myth 4: You Can Never Get Enough of Protein
Too much of a good thing is anything else but good. This applies to protein, too. In an article, protein specialist Gail Butterfield, Ph.D., RD, head of Nutrition Studies at the Palo Alto Veterans’ Administration Medical Center, says that you only need 30% protein each day.
Going beyond the recommended amount of daily protein, specifically 50% to 75%, may indicate a protein deficiency. She states that other effects included stress on your bodily systems and a build-up of additional fat proportionate to your muscle mass.
Working hard to gain muscle is a challenging yet rewarding undertaking. But to achieve it, you have to do it the right way through a proper diet and an effective workout routine. Getting your daily recommended amount of protein is just one way to help you achieve it. It all starts with asking for expert advice or by educating yourself through online sources. Watch out for where you’re getting your fill of protein and how much you’re getting it. Get what you need and from the right source.