Protein, a macronutrient like carbohydrates and fat, is necessary for life. But bodybuilders, weightlifters, and athletes are more interested in it for its muscle-building property. While they are right in treating protein as a muscle-building nutrient, we must also remember that protein is important for a wide range of bodily functions.
As a Muscle-building Nutrient
Protein is, of course, the primary nutrient in building and repairing muscles – and it’s the main reason bodybuilders are keen on finding the optimum amount of protein for their goals. But there’s a limit to the amount of protein that can be used by the body for muscle synthesis.
While the exact amount of protein necessary for achieving peak muscle synthesis will be different between persons, studies have shown that it’s best to spread out protein intake over the meals and snacks throughout the day. It isn’t a good idea to eat your entire day’s recommended protein intake in a single meal, even when it seems logical.
As a Crucial Nutrient for the Body’s Function
Think of protein as the body’s Tinker Toy set and you will understand its multiple functions in maintaining the body’s overall health. When you eat lean meat, fish or chicken, among other protein sources, your body digests and breaks it down into amino acids, the individual components of protein.
The amino acids are used in a wide range of functions including the production of hormones, enzymes, and immune factors as well as the transport and storage of molecules, to name a few. Emphasis must be made, too, that if there are no amino acids, there will be no enzymes and when there are no enzymes, then there is no life.
Understandably, the body prioritizes the use of amino acids in keeping its functions at an optimum level. Think of it this way: Your survival comes first and your six-pack abs come second, a good thing, too, considering that your six-pack abs depend on your survival.
So, whenever your body has excess protein from maintaining its normal functions, it will be used for other purposes including energy production and muscle building. If you still have more protein than will be used for the day, it will be stored as fat so every protein is used well.
But don’t overdose on the protein shakes, however, even after an intense workout at Powerhouse Gym. You are better off with eating the right portions of proteins from natural food sources, such as lean meat, fatty fishes, soybean-based products like tofu, and dairy products.