Monday, July 12, 2010

Feed Your Muscles With Protein

Even if you are not interested in bodybuilding you want to consciously feed your muscles. Especially, as we are getting older it is crucial that we keep good muscles strength since they help us keep feeling young and strong.

Strength training and working out are good ideas and exercise is necessary, but what if you have already some health challenges like arthritis, etc.? Check with your physician before you start any kind of exercise program.

We all have had certain times when we were unable to exercise for a while either because of sickness or being too busy. The muscles become weak and we tire easily or even worse, we start to exert ourselves again and feel sore the next day.

Muscle recovery and building happens while we are at rest. The majority of it happens while we are sleeping. While we are performing our daily activities and workouts, we are breaking down our muscles. This is not a bad thing. We break down our muscles, so that our bodies will build them up stronger and better than before. The problem comes when we don't allow our bodies the opportunity to repair the muscles.

I went through a restorative regiment for my leg muscles just recently. The therapist emphasized how important it is to eat good protein. How much do we need? He suggested 1 gram per pound of body weight. I found that very hard to handle since my overall daily activities are still limited. When I passed the 100 gram mark I felt very satisfied. Naturally, for those who body build or do a lot of physical activities should have more.

How to Calculate Your Protein Needs:

1. Weight in pounds divided by 2.2 = weight in kg

2. Weight in kg x 0.8-1.8 gm/kg = protein gm.

Use a lower number if you are in good health and are sedentary (i.e., 0.8). Use a higher number (between 1 and 1.8) if you are under stress, are pregnant, are recovering from an illness, or if you are involved in consistent and intense weight or endurance training.

Example: 154 lb male who is a regular exerciser and lifts weights

154 lbs/2.2 = 70kg

70kg x 1.5 = 105 gm protein/day

What are proteins?

Proteins are the basic building blocks of the human body. They are made up of amino acids and help build muscles, blood, skin, hair, nails and internal organs. Next to water, protein is the most plentiful in the body.

Most experts recommend that your protein intake be somewhere between 15 and 30% of your total calorie consumption.

What are good sources of protein?


Fish is a great source of lean protein, which will help your muscles since this macronutrient is the building block of life. Fish like wild salmon, tuna, rainbow trout and sardines are all high in omega-3s fatty acids. Some studies suggest that consuming omega-3s could help slow the breakdown of muscle mass that can occur during endurance activities like long-distance running.

Lean Cuts of Red Meat

When eaten in moderation, red meat is no longer the harbinger of health doom. In fact, it is a great source for vitamin B12, and if you eat grass-fed beef it will provide some omega-3 fats too. Be sure to select the leaner cuts like sirloin and tenderloin to keep your intake of unhealthy saturated fats to a minimum.


Eggs are considered to be a high-quality protein source. Egg protein helps preserve muscle mass and provides steady and sustained energy. The study recommends eggs as a protein source for endurance athletes since eggs are high in the amino acid leucine, which helps muscles utilize the fuel glucose

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese, like other lowfat dairy products, is loaded with protein, potassium, calcium, and vitamin D — all the things necessary for proper muscle function. Cottage cheese just happens to contain more protein than yogurt. To keep your fat intake down, make sure to opt for the lowfat version.


Quinoa is chock-full of protein, making it a healthy carbohydrate that fills you up, provides energy, and is full of all the essential acids your muscles need to grow. Also know that when lacking carbs as fuel, your body will use the protein you consume for energy rather than using it to create new muscle fibers. This whole grain is also full of iron and potassium.

The good news is that many grains, dairy and even vegetables are also good sources of protein, so that we can add fiber at the same time.

Suggestions for breakfast foods are: nuts, peanut butter, eggs, tofu, ham, soy milk, yogurt, cheese.

Suggestions for lunch foods: beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, eggs, nuts, seeds, tuna fish, meat, poultry, milk, yogurt, soymilk, cheese.

Other interesting facts about muscles:

Muscles get their signals to contract or relax from the brain. Muscles do important work in the body. They move your body into action.

The only ways for you to express an idea are with the muscles of your larynx, mouth and tongue (spoken words), with the muscles of your fingers (written words or "talking with your hands") or with the skeletal muscles (body language, dancing, running, building or fighting, to name a few).

There are two different types of muscles in the body, voluntary muscles and involuntary muscles.

Voluntary muscles are the ones that we can control. They move our bones around, they help us walk, run, or let us eat our favorite sandwich. The signal to move these muscles have to come from the brain which tell it to contract or relax.

The involuntary muscles don’t need any messages from the brain. They are the heart muscle which pump the blood 24/7, the muscles of the digestive system, and the tiny muscles at the bottom of the hairs on your body, which stand up when you feel cold or when you get scared.

Feed your muscles well and they'll take you whereever you want to go.

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