Bodybuilding and strength athleticism are a specific branch of sports, which require great discipline not only within the training process, but also in the sphere of nutrition. Well set up diet regime has an important role in the process of building muscle mass as well as fat reduction. Food has to be logically composed of macro nutrients: carbohydrates, fats and protein. Today, we will discuss the most important group, which is proteins.
What are proteins?
Proteins belong to biopolymers. They are high molecular weight natural materials composed of amino acids which are classified among the basic building blocks of our food. They are the essence of every living organism. The importance of their high representation in the food of strength athletes lies in their ability to regenerate and produce new muscle tissue. Proteins are found in enzymes, hormones, blood and they are an important part of the immune system of every human being. Compared to carbohydrates and fats, there is no possibility to create protein stock. Their main function is their structural quality to create body tissue - muscles or organs.
Proteins in human food
Proteins are necessary in the diet in order to recover and create new body tissue. Their quantity in food should be high enough to ensure a positive nitrogen balance (anab. state of the body). They are further divided into amino acids. It is the amino acids which are the crucial elements. They're divided into:
Essential amino acids – cannot by synthesized by the body itself and they must be therefore taken from the food. They include the following amino acids: valine, leucine, isoleucine, tryptophan, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, and lysine.
Semi-essential amino acids – tyrosine
Non-essential amino acids – they can be produced by the body itself. They are: arginine, alanine, asparagine, cysteine, cystine, citrulline, dimethylglycine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, glycine, histidine, proline, glutamine, serine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), ornithine, taurine.
According to the presence of the essential amino acids proteins are further divided into:
Sources of complete proteins: diary products, whey, eggs, all kinds of meat.
Sources of incomplete proteins: legumes, cereals, vegetables and potatoes. They become complete only after their mutual combination (eg. legumes + cereals).
Recommended quantities of protein consumption
This question has been for many years very controversial, not only among athletes. General recommendations are the following:
Children – 0.9 g per 1 kg/BW (body weight)
Adults - 1-1.2 g per 1 kg/BW (body weight)
Athletes - 1.6-2.5 g per 1 kg/BW (body weight)
Athletes taking prohormones and SARMs - more than 2.5 g per 1 kg/BW
This clearly implies that for some reason, the body of an athlete taking prohormones or SARM products is able to process higher amount of proteins.
The body cannot use the consumed proteins directly; they are therefore hydrolysed into amino acids. From these amino acids, the body creates its own proteins or it can degrade them in the citric acid cycle into carbon dioxide and water. It also uses them to create stock material (glycogen or lipids). The half-life of proteins, i.e. the time in which 50% of proteins is converted, varies from several minutes (e.g. ins) to dozens of days. Average value of biological half-life of human proteins is 80 days.
Basic types of amino acids conversion
Proteosynthesis – is the basic anab. process in living systems. It starts in the nucleus of a non-dividing cell where despiralisation of chromosomes takes place. On one of the fibres of the disconnected DNA transcription occurs (transcription of the corresponding complementary base sequence) into messenger RNA (mRNA), which determines the order of amino acids in the synthesized protein. mRNA passes through some post-transcriptional modification to the cytoplasm, where its translation takes place on ribosomes into a particular amino acid sequence. Each amino acid is encoded by a specific triplet (triple base) mRNA and the ribosome is transmitted by means of transfer RNA (tRNA). After translation, the amino acids are combined by a peptide bond and the resulting string is released from the ribosome.
In view of the ability of prohormones to rapidly increase protein synthesis it should be understood that some modifications are necessary to maximize the production of a new muscle mass. Provided that other athletes consume 2 g of protein per 1 kg/BW, with application of prohormones it is recommended to double this quantity to a value 4 g per 1 kg/BW. In other circumstances, this amount would be too high, but through the effects of prohormones the body is able to use even such mega doses of protein.