Protein Preserves your Muscles

We all know someone who can’t pass a mirror without looking at himself or herself, right?  My son is this person, but with him he has to stop and flex his muscles. This is always followed by him calling me over so I can give him a compliment.  🙂  He’s a lucky guy…he has good genes.  My son takes after his father and is just a naturally muscular guy.  I wish I were so lucky.

Muscle Building:

Everyone has a different genetic makeup and different potentials for muscle development. Protein is a major component of our bodies, contributing to about 14-16% of the total mass of a lean adult. To build and preserve your muscles you need adequate protein intake as part of a balanced diet and exercise, with a focus on strength training.

Muscle hypertrophy is the result of strength training and results in the increase in muscle fiber diameter.  Type I and Type II muscle fibers increase in size and number due to hypertrophy. People with a larger proportion of Type II fibers generally respond to strength training with a high amount of hypertrophy.  Type II (fast-twitch) muscle fibers have a greater ability to increase size.  Endurance training which uses Type I  (slow-twitch) muscle fibers generally does not produce large muscle mass.

Strength Training:

To maintain muscle mass with strength training view chart below…


To build muscle it is also important to train muscles in a specific order. Higher power or high-speed movements, such as power clean are best done at the beginning of your session. Abdominal and low back exercises are done last to avoid injury. Large muscles and multi-joint exercises are done before isolation work.

Order of training:

  • Upper legs and hips
  • Back
  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Arms
  • Lower legs
  • Abdominals and low back

Training Schedules:

If your goal is to build muscle mass it is best to use  split routines, that alternate  and allows for proper rest.

Example of Split Routine:

  • Legs, Back, Biceps, Calves
  • Chest, Shoulders, Triceps, Abdominals

Strength training should utilize overload for maximum results.

Protein Requirement:


RDA: 0.8g per/kg

• Teenage boys (ages 14–18 years): 52 grams (g) protein per day

• Men (ages 19 years and older): 56 g protein per day

• Teenage girls and women (ages 14 years and older): 46 g protein per day


For strength and power athletes protein intakes varies.

  • Based on several studies the average protein intake for female body builders was 103 +/- 42 g/day, male body builders 195 +/- 38 g/day, football players averaged 156 +/- 44 g/day

Most important is that you increase protein intake without increasing fat intake.

Suggestions for consuming good protein sources without extra fat:

  • Tuna with chopped pickles (no mayo)
  • Use 3-4 egg whites to each whole egg
  • Grill or bake chicken or fish

Quality proteins are digestible and provides the essential amino acids the body needs.


Read more from: Protein Preserves your Muscles – Environmental Nutrition Article.

Environmental Nutrition, Sept 2012
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Wildman, R. and Miller, B. (2004) Sports and Fitness Nutrition


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