What Is Protein? | Exercise.com Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

What Is Protein?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • Protein is an important nutrient your body needs to produce energy and repair muscle and tissue damage.
  • Made up of amino acids, protein is found in a variety of food sources.
  • How much protein you need each day will depend on your personal lifestyle and body type.
Protein is considered a macronutrient that helps the body produce usable energy. It is this energy that can help build muscle and lose fat.

Protein is similar to carbohydrates and fat in that all three can produce energy.

The main difference is that protein also helps the body create and repair tissue, while carbohydrates and fat do not.

Remember, exercise is also an important component of your overall health. If you are looking for an exercise routine, look no further. Go PRO today for access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, and more.

What Is Protein’s Role in the Human Body?

Protein serves as the foundation of the body’s tissue. Certain parts, such as muscles, nails, and hair, are developed from different proteins.

Any sort of physical activity you participate in can cause several small rips in your muscles, and protein helps repair those tears and fix the muscles.

When those tears are fixed, the muscles become bigger and stronger.

What Is Protein Made up Of?

Protein is created by certain amino acids that are strung together in the body. Amino acids can be put into two different categories: essential amino acids or non-essential amino acids.

Amino acids that are categorized as essential cannot be manufactured by the human body, so certain foods that contain the amino acids must be consumed in order to give your body the proper amount.

On the other hand, non-essential amino acids are created by the body, and in turn, are not required to be consumed in a diet.

What Types of Proteins Exist?

Complete proteins and incomplete proteins are the two different types of proteins that are available to the body. What’s the difference? Complete proteins contain every essential amino acid required by the body, whereas incomplete proteins are missing at least one of the essential amino acids.

The importance of differentiating between complete and incomplete proteins is that in order for the body to be able to repair broken tissue or build new tissue, it must have all the essential amino acids.

This does not, however, mean that you should only consume foods that have complete proteins. A balanced diet of both complete and incomplete proteins is best.

However, it is always best to speak with your physician or another qualified healthcare professional like a nutritionist when determining the best course of action for consuming protein.

It is not necessarily a good practice to eat as much protein as possible or to take protein supplements. It is best to balance the types of foods you eat. Eating a balanced diet will most likely provide you with the right amount of proteins your body needs.

What Are Different Sources of Protein?

The most complete proteins come from all types of animals. This does not just include red meat, but dairies such as yogurt, milk, sour cream, and cheese, and also poultry, fish, and eggs.

The only type of vegetable protein that is considered complete is soy. In addition, protein supplements are completely made of protein, but most have not been evaluated by the FDA.

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How Much Protein Do I Need to Eat Each Day?

The short answer is: it depends! This video can give you a quick rundown of a few common scenarios and how much protein you need depending on each one.

Depending on your age and activity level, you can most likely get your entire daily recommended amount of protein simply by eating certain foods. This includes fruits and vegetables.

  • Women should consume about five ounces of protein per day, while active women and teenage girls are best served by consuming about six ounces of protein each day.
  • Grown men and teenage boys need to consume anywhere from three to seven ounces of protein per day, with the higher amount reserved for more active individuals.
  • Young children from ages two to six can have up to five ounces of protein per day, but should never consume more.

Can I Consume Too Much Protein?

It is possible to consume too much protein. Doing so can be extremely dangerous. Consuming too much protein often means that you are not getting enough carbohydrates and fats to balance out the protein.

Even if you are trying to lose weight, it is best to eat a completely balanced diet.

Be sure to speak to a doctor or nutritionist about how much protein you should consume, and whether or not you need to supplement your protein intake.

And don’t forget that getting the right amount of protein in your diet is only one factor to your overall health and fitness needs. Exercise is important. Go PRO today for access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, goal trackers, and more!

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