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I've heard it explained before but I still don't understand why there is such an emphasis on consuming lots of protein. My trainers say I should consume 1 gram of protein per body weight (and then some) but they really never told me why.

Then what are the differences between the various proteins out there, like whey and beef isolates? Also, why aren't protein shakes enough to consume the required protein?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Bottomline, to form muscle your body needs amino acids, both branched chain and simple. The foods that are highest in those nutrients are protein. 1 gram per lb is a minimum to maintain. Building will require even more. Muscle growth is triggered by two things. Hypertrophy and then having the appropriate macro-nutrients available for the body to repair and grow from the hypertrophy workout. Simply put, you work out to tear down the muscle, so that it'll rebuild itself stronger and thicker to be better prepared the next time. As soon as you're done tearing down (working out) you need to repair. Real food is the best source of protein, shakes are supplements. Whey is extremely fast absorbing, making it the perfect post workout shake type.

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Thank you very much, my man! I understand now! –  Justin Jan 19 '12 at 13:56
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Protein is the building block of muscle tissue. You want to gain muscle eat protein, much like consuming calcium for your bones. This is all bodybuilding 101.

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+1'd, but, Just for completeness... it's calcium + vitamin D for the bones :) –  user2567 Jan 18 '12 at 0:27
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