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Need a protein user guide?

Need a protein user guide?

Have you ever wondered why there are so many different diets? Paleo, low fat, high fat, no carbs, low carbs, complex carbs, etc. Diets can become endless, obscure, and highly frustrating.

"Nobody knows the entirety of everything that is rightly considered "human metabolism"

The truth is, nobody knows the entirety of everything that is rightly considered "human metabolism". Don’t get me wrong, science has a thorough understanding of the fundamentals such as The Krebs cycle, and energy production, and the like. The real action, however, takes place within cells, but we don’t yet completely understand the interaction between the three key macronutrients (fat, carbohydrates, and protein), let alone every other micro-nutrient, vitamin, polyphenol, hormone, or drug that a person may consume.

"Energy in must equal energy out, to maintain weight does not properly hold"

Even a seemingly simple and inviolable truth: Energy in must equal energy out, to maintain weight does not properly hold, at least statically, when we apply it to outcomes of eating and exercise.

Our basal metabolism uses up the majority of everything we eat, and about a third to a quarter of this is used up by your brain alone! But basal metabolism is not constant, it speeds up and slows down according to what you eat in a non-linear relationship. What is more, the process interacts in a complex way with exercise. There are many variables, and as such, it is difficult to determine what is a dependent, and what is an independent variable. As you can imagine, this makes it difficult to determine not only what you should eat, but also how much.

So, let's talk about protein. How much protein should you consume?

It’s a complex question that I will get back to later. First, let’s consider why proteins are important to the human body.

Most have heard of DNA and most know what it is. DNA is a set of instructions, a blueprint for life so to speak, right? But what does DNA actually do? How does it carry out these instructions?

Firstly, the easiest way is to think of DNA not as instructions for ‘life’, but as instructions for microscopic factories that exist within every one of the trillions of cells in your body. These little factories are made up of proteins (more correctly amino acids).

"Proteins are thus constantly turning over”

The products these micro-factories produce are also proteins. So, inside every one of your cells, you have these factories that pump out proteins at a staggeringly rapid rate. The proteins are thus constantly “turning over” meaning they are made, do what they are meant to do, broken down by enzymes into amino acids, and then reassembled into new protein again.

"Proteins are amazing, and they are for much more than just muscle! You need to have protein (amino acids) to survive"

These proteins then make everything in your body. from your eyes, your teeth, different neurotransmitters, your heart, to the scaffolding that holds your cells together. Proteins are amazing, and they are for much more than just muscle!

Secondly, the next important thing is knowing you need to have protein (amino acids) to survive.

So back to my earlier question, how much protein should you consume?

The first answer to that is that at a minimum you need enough to support the production of all the important and critical life-giving products from your cellular factories. Only after that has happened will you start producing muscle.

If you starve, only after your body has turned all your stored fat into glucose to power your brain, will it then turn to the protein in your muscles, break it down, and turn that into glucose to fuel your brain. Your body can turn fat into protein or carbohydrates, carbohydrates into fat or protein, and protein into fat or carbohydrates, which is pretty amazing in itself.

We get a lot of what we need from a healthy balanced diet.

The good news is that on average we get a lot of what we need from a healthy balanced diet. So, let’s say if we have everything perfectly balanced, we are eating just enough protein to supply the raw materials for our cellular factories, to keep everything rolling and maintaining energy for exercise, and a constant weight.

You would still need to supplement protein to build the muscle

Even in that case, you would still need to supplement protein to build the muscle you are working so hard on.

Also as we age, absorption issues and the fact that in many cases we eat less to manage a slower metabolism actually reduces our protein intake at a time when our muscles need it more.

This is what Old Bull is all about. Delivering an engineered blend of amino acids that are available to build muscle once your other nutritional needs have been met. Of course, if you are deficient in protein the amino acids in Old Bull will be recruited to do more important stuff in your cells.

So, You can consume too much protein, we don’t recommend this, and you can also be deficient in protein, we definitely don’t recommend this either.

What we do believe however is that when you become healthily aware of maintaining your constant optimal weight and then, when you do exercise specifically to build muscle, that you supplement your diet with protein powder immediately before or after the exercise.

So, I get it, if I’m the perfect weight I will need extra protein to build muscle, but I’m underweight – what do I do?

If this is your scenario, you are in the minority. You should be wary of working out until you have achieved a healthy weight. If you are doing resistance training, work out how many calories this is burning and supplement at least that many calories. You can pretty safely go over this amount, but make sure you are getting more from a balanced diet as well. There are all sorts of micronutrients and super important stuff you can’t get anywhere else.

I’ve got the other problem – I am overweight but I want to put on muscle. How much Old Bull protein should I take?

OK, protein can help out here too. Try to lose weight and build muscle gradually in a way that you can sustain as a lifelong habit. One option, which is fairly hard-core, is to read the label on the back of the packet, take the specified amount of protein before and after resistance training, and then deduct that level of energy from your diet, and no more. This will give you bio-available protein to immediately build muscle, but you will also lose weight because: Firstly, it takes calories to push weights, and secondly, your metabolism is sped up after you have finished resistance training consuming more calories. This is when you build the muscle, in the repair phase. But be aware – you will feel hungry.

"It's pretty difficult to give a blanket answer"

As you can see, it's pretty difficult to give a blanket answer to how much protein powder you should take, but we hope that this helps to make things a lot easier, for you to make the right decision for your goals, and best health.

Read more on calculating protein intake here. 

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