Should You Take Protein Supplements For Bodybuilding?
Dietary supplements are increasingly used in bodybuilding. However, some consider them to be doping products and criticize their use. Many beginners wonder if they should also turn to it. Is their consumption really justified? Is it not enough to eat a healthy and balanced diet on its own? What are the dangers and mistakes that should not be made?
Are protein supplements necessary for bodybuilding?
What you eat every day changes your metabolism and therefore your figure. This is why your diet should adapt to your goals. If you want to facilitate muscle fiber synthesis, you will need to eat a relatively high amount of protein: about 1 gram to 2 grams/kg of body weight per day. If you weigh 75 kg, aim for 75 to 150 grams of protein per day, and spread it over 3 or 4 meals. This is totally possible with a traditional diet!
A 2015 study (1) appears to show that there is no more efficient intake of casein and whey (milk protein, powder) in addition to a classic diet focused on protein intake. For a similar amount of protein (between 60g and 80g per day), the results are similar (same fat mass loss, same muscle mass gain, same strength gain). All subjects had followed the same 12-week training. Therefore it calls into question the interest of this type of nutritional supplement. On the other hand, excessive protein intake can have harmful and dangerous effects on the body (kidney failure, site of inflammation, fatigue, cramps and muscle pain, etc.).
As you understand, do not exceed 2 g / kg of body weight per day and continue to eat a balanced diet (fruits, vegetables, amount of carbohydrates, dried fruits, etc.). To sum up, taking protein powder is not at all mandatory in bodybuilding. The classic balanced diet geared towards a protein intake of about 1g to 2g/kg appears to be equally effective. However, its consumption will allow you to complete your daily protein intake. They will allow you to consume less meat and save money. In the end, it's not this or that but both!
Protein Powder: The 3 Mistakes You Shouldn't Make
Believing it is more important than training
Some vegetarian or vegan athletes (who follow a low-protein diet) are so muscular performance because they've been training hard for years. On the contrary, others consume protein powder regularly without convincing results because they are not diligent enough in training.
Achieving your goals will only take hours of work. Supplements can only be an 'plus'. 90% of the results will be determined by your training.
Thinking it replaces a balanced diet
If you consume protein powder and eat pizza and Coca-Cola in the evening after your workout, it makes no sense! You are asking your body to condense and store fat. It is not uncommon to see people consuming nutritional supplements to ease their conscience while completely neglecting the rest of their diet.
Obviously, the classic diet is still crucial.
We said earlier, medical recommendations give 0.8 g/kg per day average protein intake for a sedentary subject. For an athletic person who wants to develop their muscle mass, it will be necessary to aim for between 1g and up to 2g/kg per day. Of this protein should come from a conventional diet, ⅓ only from supplements. Do not exceed 6 months/year of excessive protein intake.
Exceeding these limits may expose you to potential health concerns. Ask a doctor's advice. 2g/kg per day is enough for progress!
What could be the risks?
Most protein powders are derived from dairy products. Therefore, they are protein concentrates or isolates that are harmless to the body. However, some brands add potentially harmful additives (dyes, flavor enhancers, preservatives, etc.).
Online over-the-counter products (supposedly higher strength or cheaper) sometimes have questionable formulations. We recommend purchasing products that have been tested and validated by health authorities in the store.
Contrary to what we sometimes hear, if you are young and healthy, a diet rich in protein does not appear to be dangerous to your health, at least in the medium term (2). On the other hand, if you are already on medication, and if you have kidney failure, it is not recommended to eat a lot of protein. We recommend consulting a doctor's advice.
We also recommend staying reasonable: between 1g and 2g/kg per day is more than enough to build muscle without risk.
The main thing, we remind you, is to exercise to feel good about your body and stay healthy!