Questions and answers

How much protein is too much?

Is a high protein diet safe

DeWayde Perry, M.D.
Magazine 8 #4

Updated: 8 June 2018

Training Through an Illness

Question• When is it appropriate to train while ill, when is it not?

Fit Doc• In general, don’t train if you’re ill. To build muscle you need to concentrate mentally and physically on each rep of every set. When ill, both your physical and mental energies are sapped and training in such an environment becomes counterproductive.

If you insist on training while ill, you’ll only further compromise your immune system by depleting glutamine, BCAAs and infection fighting T-cells. This can prolong recovery training and lead to more illness.

Lastly, given the close proximity of individuals in most training facilities, it is easy to pass bacteria and viruses to each other in much the same way if your kids get sick at school you get sick at home. Not only can organisms be passed by direct human contact, but transmission can occur through the air and via stationary objects e.g., towels, bags, weight benches and plates, etc.

The best thing to do when ill is rest until symptoms have abated. Frequent colds are a hallmark of "overtraining". I recommend a layoff from intense exercise every eight to ten weeks to guard against overtraining.

Dr. Perry Fit Doc

Natural Muslce Growth

Q• If I stay steroid-free, what kinds of results can I really expect? Most of the guys in the gym say you need to take steroids to really be a successful bodybuilder. I don’t want to go that route. What advice can you give me?

The basic tenet of bodybuilding is to develop muscle and have a functionally strong and healthy body. The sad paradox for some bodybuilders who use AS, insulin, Growth and other pharmaceutical agents is that many of them are on the verge of a health catastrophe. High blood pressure, kidney ailments, liver inflammation, peptic ulcer disease, metabolic derangements and even sperm reduction and motility fertility problems run rampant among several of them. Drug free bodybuilders have none of these problems.

Your ultimate results depend on a multitude of factors you can and cannot control. Natural hormone levels, joint size, muscle belly length, and fiber type are pretty much genetically determined. More important are the factors you can control: motivation, persistence, knowledge, nutrition and supplement strategies, and training/recuperation regimens. Don’t set limits on what you can achieve. Establish high goals and work diligently to surpass them.

Most natural trainees, depending on their training experience, can realistically expect to gain 5-15 pounds of lean muscle over the course of one year. If you’re relatively new to bodybuilding a 15- pound gain in a year can be achieved. For the advanced bodybuilder a 5-pound lean muscle gain represents excellent progress.

How Much Protein?

Q Is too much protein bad for my kidneys?

Dr. Perry says... "Certain forms of proteins like the protein hydrolysates found in Beverly International’s Mass Amino Acids and Muscle Provider have been proven to induce a positive nitrogen balance."

Fit Doc• Only if you have preexisting disease with compromised kidney function to begin with! But, while the myth that high protein intake is injurious to normal organ health is still widespread, there is no basis for these claims. Newer studies have revealed that a high protein intake, such as that consumed by strength and endurance athletes, does not pose health risks to persons with normal kidney function.

For most bodybuilders trying to gain mass and strength, 1.5 grams of protein per pound bodyweight or 3.3 grams per kilogram bodyweight is a good starting point. Good sources of whole food protein include egg whites, turkey and chicken breasts, ostrich, lean beef, venison, bison, fish (including shellfish), and low-fat cottage cheese.

Protein’s role in building muscle is straightforward. For a muscle to grow you first induce trauma by hard training. Repair and growth then become a function of your protein intake over the next 36-48 hours. How much protein? Whatever amount is necessary to keep your body in positive nitrogen balance. In simplistic terms, this means more protein is being consumed than is utilized by the body. A positive nitrogen balance encourages muscular gain (provided total caloric intake is adequate).

Holy Grail of Bodybuilding more Muscle Less Fat

Q• My goal is to gain lean muscle mass without adding fat (and hopefully lose a little bit). I’m realistic. Do you think I can gain 6 pounds of lean mass over the next 3 months?

Fit Doc• Everybody is searching for the Holy Grail, more muscle and less fat. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to decrease bodyfat while increasing lean muscle mass without the use of steroids. From the information you have provided, you hold approximately 25 pounds of fat and 155 lbs of fat-free mass. To achieve your goals, eat between 12-15 calories per pound bodyweight daily. Follow the macronutrient ratios of 50% protein, 20% carbohydrates, and 30% fat. Try to lose about 1-1.5 pounds per week. Faster weight loss and you’d sacrifice muscle mass. If you find you are losing more than 1- 1.5 pounds per week, increase your caloric intake by 300. Likewise, if you are not losing 1-1.5 pounds per week, decrease daily calories by 300.

To lose fat and gain real muscle two supplements become paramount. These are branch-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) and supplements specifically designed for fat loss. BCAA’s are especially important during periods of negative caloric balance in order to retain as much lean tissue as possible. For most natural lifters, creatine monohydrate is also beneficial.

I have never been a proponent of ephedra or ephedrine-based thermogenic supplements. Instead, personal experience has shown me that with proper nutrition/supplementation and aerobic exercise, I am able to repeatedly achieve low bodyfat levels. L-carnitine based supplements as well as 7-keto DHEA are both excellent adjuncts in your quest to drop unwanted bodyfat.

To simplify matters, I have not included aerobic activity in the equation. However, if you choose to perform cardiovascular exercise, I suggest no more than 2-3 sessions of high-intensity interval training (20 minutes each) per week