The UK recommendations for protein intake of sedentary males of 19 - 50 years is 55.5g per day and females 45.0g per day assuming varied protein quality intakes (DoH 1991). This amount accounts for maintenance of human tissue and turnover of amino acids. It does not account for maintenance and repair associated with the high demand athletes initiate. Infact, Lemon 1991 estimated an average experienced athlete needs two times the recommended amounts of a sedentary individual to maintain nitrogen balance. Moreover, bodybuilders, who put extreme stress on their muscles, have even greater requirements.
The UK Department of Health (DoH) advises against high intakes, saying that most people have intakes in excess of the guidelines anyway, and point out possible stress on the kidneys with continuously high intakes, possibly leading to acute renal problems. However, if all the protein absorbed is being utilised by the body then there will be less excreted via the kidneys, hence less stress on them. I would only argue for very high protein intakes where there is very high demand, i.e. only in hard training strength athletes and bodybuilders
One of the most frequently asked questions, I am asked is how much protein is needed for muscle growth? Answer - difficult to say! We tend to quote requirements in grams per kilogram (g / kg) body weight. The amount lies somewhere between 2 - 4g / kg body weight, which is broad, but there are so many confounding factors including intensity of training, efficiency of protein metabolism, genetic make up and general health. Also the use of anabolic steroids increases the rate of protein synthesis in the muscle. Assuming our subject is training correctly, i.e. very intensely, has an averagely efficient protein metabolism and is in good health, I estimate about 3g / kg per day is about right. This is only an estimate, and based on experience, unfortunately not epidemiological evidence, due to the reasons discussed in Chapter 1. The example meal plan in Figure 1 will provide adequately for this. If a bodybuilder uses anabolic steroids, then this requirement may rise to 4g / kg in order to optimise gains.
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Bodybuilding is the process of developing muscle fibers through various techniques. It is achieved through muscle conditioning, weight training, increased calorie intake, and resting your body as it repairs and heals itself, before restarting your workout routine.