Two of the main components that make up the human body are protein and water. You may have a fundamental understanding of what these nutrients do and why the body needs them, but I think that you would pay more attention to their intake if you had a better understanding. Most readers know that they need at least one gram of protein per pound of body weight, but for someone who is training hard and actively trying to build lean body mass, they need much more. Water is similar, because you should have more than just an adequate amount to prevent dehydration. Maximize your training by solidifying your protein and water intake.
Protein is derived from a Greek word, “proteios”, meaning “of the most important”. On average, a human body is about 18% protein and is an essential part of pretty much all body tissues and components including muscles, hormones, antibodies, enzymes, cell membranes, and skin. In other words, protein isn’t just used for repairing and building muscle, but creating and maintaining all structures in the body. An average, non-training person would do well to consume close to their body weight (in lbs) in grams of protein; it would significantly improve their metabolism, energy levels, immune system, and subsequently overall health. However, I typically recommend that guys who train get at least 50g more than their body weight with the hardest training guys upping that to at least 100g over their body weight. The first goal for women is to get their intake closer to their body weight, and they can titrate it up to 30 to 50g over their body weight after observing their recovery and body composition changes (women are more sensitive to total calories than men, hence my typical recommendation isn’t “get x more than body weight”).
It’s best to get the majority of macro nutrients through food, yet protein supplementation is an excellent way to garner the desired daily amount. Whey protein supplements usually only differ regarding extraneous ingredients and superfluous marketing tactics. Whey protein can consist of concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate (I like this article for the difference). Standard whey protein concentrate will satisfy most everyone’s goals who read this site; it’s cheapest and pretty much has an equal effect to the others. Concentrate is digested faster and has more BCAAs than food protein. These BCAAS can have a positive influence on metabolism and the immune system, but it’s also due to the fact that overall protein intake has improved. Remember: it isn’t the speed in which the protein is digested and utilized, but the chronic effect of consuming “enough” protein over time that is important.
If you have a sensitivity to lactose, then check out whey isolate as the trace elements of lactose are removed in its processing. Lactose sensitivity may be a factor that can be improved if you’re white, yet other races (Asian, black, hispanic, etc.) have more trouble with it. If you’re one of the people that have complained to me about a rumbling tummy from whey, get the isolate and test it. If you still get an upset tummy, take small doses and work them up over time. If you still have problems, then cry me a river.
Lastly, research and purchase quality raised animal meat. The better that they are raised (grass fed, no hormones, etc.), the more nutrients they will contain. Remember that meat should be the largest aspect of your protein intake and whey supplementation should get tacked onto it. I deem it acceptable for guys to get 100g of whey a day, but I’d prefer it to be 50 to 75g (implying that more meat is eaten in the latter scenario).
The body primarily consists of water with “percent of body weight” figures ranging from 70% down to 50% in old crones. Most people think about water in terms of staving off dehydration since “dehydration is bad”. It’s much more important than that. I’ve summed this topic up to Brent by saying, “Water is necessary for almost all reactions and enzymes in the body. If you don’t have plenty of it, then your body won’t be functioning optimally.” He told me weeks later that it was that comment that immediately made him consume more water.
Think about everything that occurs in your day. You wake up and try to have energy for work or school. You eat, train, do mobility, and sleep well because you want to get mega jehcked. Well, every one of those things will be hampered by a lack of hydration. Your food won’t be digested as well, your energy levels will subside, your training won’t be efficient, your joints, muscles, and fascia will be stiff and sticky, and you’ll generally reduce the quality of everything you do during the day (including trying to lose body fat and grow muscle). It’s all a result of the normal chemical reactions in your body not working as well since they’re scrounging for ingredients. If you’re going to spend all this time giving a shit about your training, then set yourself up to optimally succeed.
Just don’t carry a gallon of water around like a dickhead. And certainly don’t take it into the gym. If you do, then the sleeves of your shirt will fall off and your nipples will show. I’ve always hated the guy in a public gym who carries his water jug around, trying to show off how serious he is as if anyone gives a shit. Then they open their lips and relax the jaw as they gulp liquid in front of other guys grunting. Do not do this.
Instead, half your body weight and drink at least that many ounces in a given day. If you weigh 200 pounds, then you’ll aim for at least 100 oz. This is about five bottles of water and the minimum. I like to keep liter sized bottles of water in the fridge so that they are cold and easily accessible. If you’re in public, at work or traveling, then carry a water bottle with you or hit up most of the water fountains you see. When I’m on a plane, I ask for water, chug it, and get a quick refill. When I’m driving long distance, I’ll have a liter sized bottle with me.
“But Justin, isn’t it easier to carry a gallon, and then you’ll know how much you’ve drank?”
Carrying a gallon makes you look like a shit head. You cannot store it easily in your bag, you look like you a glutton when tipping it to your face when it’s mostly full, and you look like a big gay fish when wrapping your lips around it. Not to mention water is regularly available every where you go in America and you can easily refill everywhere and anywhere. Stop being a diva about it and just drink more throughout the day.