All bodybuilders during the off-season should follow the very same protein recommendations as strength athletes. However, during negative energy balance (off-season) the protein requirements may dramatically increase. For one to reach competitive body-fat levels, the calorie intake is continually lowered while (such as weight training, cardiorespiratory training, and some posing) is increased.



Competitive levels of body fat are almost always unhealthy and usually impossible for someone to maintain for prolonged periods. Each component of this regimen can have additive effects on the protein requirements. The body’s survival mechanisms, related to only increases in energy expenditure and decreases the supply of food, are probably highly active during this period, forcing a reduction continued in food intake to achieve the goal.



However, my friends, because of its anabolic requirements, the protein intake cannot be lowered. In fact, the protein intake may very well, have to be increased in the final weeks before a competition. During this period, the body must have the option to use available food either for muscle support or energy. The body does not have a real choice with dietary carbohydrate or fat, making them the only dispensable calories. Therefore, the protein intake could be extremely increased to theoretically lessen the obligatory loss of some lean tissue during drastic training measures.



It is so very common to see individuals consuming the majority of their calories, in the final weeks before a competition from protein. But, during the off-season, athletes usually return to normal food intake, and normal energy balance. However, this return to normal eating habits can enables greater muscular gains than would be accomplished by maintaining a year-round high-protein intake. In fact, it does appear that carbohydrate (1.g/kg or 0.5 gram per pound), not protein, consumed within an hour or so after heavy resistance training inhibits muscle-protein breakdown, creating a positive protein balance.





In addition to the factors above, protein intake can be adjusted to aid in satiety (having the feeling of fullness). Protein’s role in satiety is a very important consideration. As it is with all macronutrients, the protein will activate specific satiety mechanisms and may become more satiating than fat and carbohydrate. Protein-induced suppression of food intake in humans and animals is greater than its energy content alone, which suggests protein has a direct effect on satiety. In some studies of humans and rats, a preload of protein suppressed their intake of food for several hours and to a greater extent than a similar energy load of carbohydrate and fat. For people who are seeking fat loss may benefit from the satiating properties of protein to feel energized and full throughout the day.




The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 g/kg per day. The Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range for the intake of protein for an adult is 10% to 35% of the total caloric intake. These recommendations for protein range from 10% to 35% of the total caloric intake, which will allow not only for differences in activity and goals but also for bioindividuality in terms of performance and satiety. Some individuals, respond better to a slightly higher or slightly lower intake of protein, which can help with adherence to the amount of calories required to reach and maintain goals. People who are eating lower amounts of protein may need supplementation.



Whatever, that the protein percentage ends up being, in relation to the total caloric intake, the intake of protein should still fall approximately within the above ranges of grams per kilogram. In other words my friends, someone who is a small person losing fat (or hypocaloric) and exercising using strength and some aerobic training may have a high percentage of protein (approximately 25%) but still fall in the appropriate range of absolute protein (1.2 to 1.7 g/kg per day).




A high-protein diet is normally defined as one that consists of more than 35% of the total intake of caloric from protein, or three times the protein RDA for athletes. Chronic consumption of a high-protein diet is typically associated with a higher intake of saturated fat and low intake of fiber, which both are risk factors for heart disease and some types of cancer. In addition, because the kidneys are required to work harder so, they can eliminate the increased urea produced, some caution should always be taken with a high-protein diet, especially with people that have a history of kidney problems, such as renal insufficiency or kidney stones.



The effects of a high-protein diet on bone health have been debated over and over, in the literature with reports that an intake of high-protein can increase urinary calcium losses. The early researchers in this particular area speculated that bone was the source of elevated urinary calcium excretion during a high-protein diet. Kerstetter found out that consuming a low-protein diet caused an increase in two different hormones that work together to increase the levels of blood calcium. The elevated hormone levels suggest that a diet of low-protein can decrease calcium absorption. But, a follow-up evaluation showed that 18% of consumed calcium is absorbed during a low-protein diet, and that absorption increases to 26% during a high-protein diet. Therefore, my friends, it appears that an increase in intestinal calcium absorption as individuals follow a high-protein diet will likely account for a majority of observed increases in calcium.



In addition to that, there is a real need for greater fluid consumption when someone is consuming large quantities of protein. Protein does indeed, require approximately seven times the water for metabolism than fat or carbohydrate. Low-carbohydrate consumption will typically accompany high-protein diets (for weight loss especially), which can indeed lead to decreased glycogen stores, inhibition of performance, also possible dehydration. Therefore, the main concern with a high-protein diet is dehydration because the urea nitrogen cycle processes dietary nitrogen and the water is eliminated via the urinary system. It is because dehydration of as little as 3% can impair performance, active individuals and athletes ingesting extra protein should regularly weigh themselves to ensure that they are properly hydrated.



My friends keep in-mind, that protein supplementation is not typically recommended in general use among athletes. There is no substantial evidence that exists, either using protein supplements to replace food or increasing the amount of protein intake above requirements will actually enhance performance or adult skeletal muscle hypertrophy. However, protein supplements may be useful:



Please, my friends, be aware of how much protein you are consuming, and why.

May you be always in good health, humbly yours Paul Earl.