Protein Recommendations For Masters
Protein is the building block of muscle and getting more of it will help keep you lean and cut, no matter what your age. Did you know that if you are over age 35, you need to eat more protein than when you were younger?
It’s true. Your body won’t respond to training stimulus in the same way as when you were 20 unless you get enough protein.
A new study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology compared the effect of a 21-week training program on muscle gains in untrained young (age 26) and older (age 61) men. The training program was a typical periodized hypertrophy program, and food diaries were done in order to identify how protein intake affected muscle development.
Results showed that the younger men gained significantly more muscle than the older men, and they increased size in the type 2 fibers much more than the older men. The older men experienced a “trend toward statistical significance” for growth in the type 1 fibers, but not the type 2 fibers. A primary contributor to the older men’s inability to put on as much muscle as the younger men was a much lower daily protein intake.
The food diaries showed that the younger men ate more total calories and double the protein of the older men (1.6 g/kg/bw/day for younger men and 0.8 g/kg/bw/day protein for the older men), which is a principal reason they didn’t gain as much muscle.
Previous studies have shown that in this older population, a greater protein intake is necessary (in the range of 1.5-2 g/kg/bw) to put on muscle. In addition, the older population needs to get extra intake of one essential amino acid—leucine.
This amino acid is necessary to activate the main protein synthesis pathway, called mTOR, and without enough leucine, you folks (ladies too!) over 35 won’t get all that you can out of your hard work. Be sure to eat high-quality protein such as fish, meat, or eggs at every meal. If you have trouble reaching the 1.5 g/kg minimum (that’s 110 g for a 160 pound individual), take whey protein or branched-chain amino acids to round out your protein intake for greater muscle.