I was at the gym this morning, and saw two guys who i have seen regularly there. They are lifting and usually i find them doing leg weights on a machine….i have tried first to convince them of using a machine for leg extentions that allows for similar motion on each leg, rather than using a longer lever for one leg vs, the other. “Just basic physics i told them”….oh yeah? so what is your background? And after a few lines the nutritionist comes out – ‘Oh yeah? can i ask you a nutrition question?”
“how much protein should i be consuming per day? I am weight lifting more than anything else and spend 3 hours in the gym per day.” So the quick answer is 1-1.4 grams per Kg of body weight. and for each person it will be a bit different but generally speaking, more than that will not be utilized by the body but will acidify the body. When you acidify the body with too much protein, then the body scrambles to get that acidity lowered by increasing the calcium and magnesium in the blood stream. Usually weight lifters are not eating alot of green leafy and dark green vegetables which is where you can get the most absorbable minerals into the body (juicing is even better!). So what happens then is that your body scavenges for calcium and magnesium – it takes it from your bones and teeth so all you do is set yourself up for osteoporosis and easily breakbable bones. Not a good thing!
After more discussion, it turns out that this guy was using 1.5 grams of protein per POUND of body weight. He needs to convert the pounds of body weight to Kilograms (divide pounds by 2.2 = Kg) So at 200 pounds, he was/is taking in 225-150 grams of protein per day. That is basically twice the amount his body can handle or process. Once I mentioned the conversion, he realized he was going to have a challenge on his hands to lower that amount. But no need to increase the protein to an amount that becomes harmful rather than helpful.
So when trying to build muscle, you need to take in protein, but don’t overdo it. You should not consume more than 25-30 grams in any one meal at any point in the day. But remember, the timing of the meals and protein taking in with the right combination of the right carbohydrates, vegetables, legumes, fiber and fruit is just as important. Eat your proteins, but don’t eat more than the grams that of your body weight in protein – aim for half that amount.