Safe Bodybuilding: More Muscles with Less Diet Protein
By Dr. Artour Rakhimov - Last updated on August 9, 2018
Bodybuilding and other intensive and prolonged types of sports and exercise
require additional amounts of protein in the diet to build
muscles and for faster adaptation of the
human body, recovery, better performance and improved overall health. Thus,
while most sedentary people are well nourished with 0.8 g of dietary protein per
kg of body weight per day or 0.4 g/lb (FDA's suggestion), bodybuilders often
use up to 2-3 g/kg per day or 1-1.5 g/lbs. But it is possible to use
less protein and build even more muscles.
"In order to
achieve outstanding results in sports one must use all capabilities
given to humans by Nature. In my program of training, I apply the
metabolism stimulation system using the Frolov Respiration
Training Device. Breathing exercises using the Frolov
Device have helped me to increase the efficiency of
eutrophy and workouts, and to surpass my previous achievements!"
Sergey Dmitriev, Threefold World Champion (2000, 2001, 2004),
International Federation of Body-Builders IFBB
Triple World Bodybuilding Champion Uses the Frolov Breathing Device based on the idea to have more CO2 and slower/less breathing 24/7. Why?
Here is a sample of calculations. If your body weight is 150 lbs, your normal
protein intake with a sedentary lifestyle should be about 60 g/day. If you do
weightlifting and bodybuilding exercises, as well as intensive types of other
exercises, you may need up to 150-215 g of protein daily. This causes some
health risks due to bodybuilding and this high-protein diet (see references below).
the main dangers of high protein diets? Medical studies have not found
any evidence that excessive use of protein in the diet can cause problems with
kidneys in people with healthy kidneys (Faber et al, 1986; Poortmans & Dellalieux,
2000). However, it has been known in physiology for many decades that high
protein diets, and especially with animal proteins, have a negative impact on
automatic breathing patterns and body-oxygen levels causing poor health and
development of chronic diseases (that are very common in many bodybuilders). Furthermore, tissue hypoxia leads to anaerobic cellular
respiration during physical exercise, elevated plasma lactic acid levels during
and after workouts, production of free radicals (oxidative stress), acidic
environment in body cells, chronic inflammation, immune dysfunction, reduced
efficiency in protein metabolism and other negative effects.
How high protein diets for bodybuilding cause poor health
The main negative health effect of high protein diets is increased minute
ventilation at rest (a heavier or faster/deeper automatic breathing pattern at rest
and during sleep). Since oxygenation of the arterial blood during very small and
slow normal diaphragmatic breathing at rest is about 98-99%, breathing more
cannot improve oxygen transport. Hence, the main initial effect of heavier breathing
is less CO2 in the lungs. Then low CO2 causes negative effects related
to alveolar and arterial hypocapnia (lack of CO2) in the
lungs, arterial blood, and other body cells.
Among the central effects of
arterial CO2 deficiency are constriction of arteries and
arterioles (for studies and details, see vasodilation) and the suppressed Bohr effect
(reduced oxygen release in tissues). Hence, cell hypoxia (low body-oxygen
levels) triggers the cascade of negative effects described above (high lactic acid
in the blood, free radical generation, immunosuppression, and reduced protein metabolism - i.e., it becomes necessary to eat more proteins to counteract its ineffective use).
As a result, many modern bodybuilders often suffer from chronic diseases,
frequent infections, poor sleep, anxiety, and other abnormalities. In addition,
hypocapnia suppresses synthesis of amino acids and proteins
(see CO2 and Glutamine Synthesis research links below).
Thus, athletes and bodybuilders with heavier breathing
at rest (or during sleep) require much more protein
in order to build the same amount of body muscles, while breathing retraining allows to reduce protein intake and increase body muscle mass at the same time.
This conclusion is in complete agreement with the clinical experience of Russian MDs practicing
the Buteyko breathing method and Frolov breathing device therapy. These doctors
found (and I have observed the same effect in hundreds of my students) that improved breathing at rest (slower
and easier breathing patterns) increases body-oxygen test results. With more
than X seconds of oxygen in the body, my students report that they require less protein in their diets. Thus, it is common that
even sedentary people start to eat fewer proteins themselves after their achieve easier and
slower automatic breathing. This effect, as bodybuilder Sergey Dmitriev
testifies, is very beneficial for overall health in bodybuilding.
There is no general need to stop eating animal proteins. Dr. Konstantin Buteyko suggested that some
people are better off with eating animal proteins, like meat, fish, dairy, and
eggs, while many breathing students drastically reduce their previous protein intake (up
to 20-30% less) naturally with improved health and stronger body.
An additional benefit of correct breathing for bodybuilders relates to training
and dietary manipulations during different seasons to perform better and have
less fat (increased lean mass) for competitions and contests. There are several hazards of
very low -alorie diets that include hypokalemia, hypophosphatemia, rhabdomyolysis and flaccid
tetraparesis (Britschgi & Zund, 1991). Improved body-oxygen levels greatly
reduce negative effects related to blood composition, retention of minerals, and
kidney function before and during competitions.
What can be done in order to increase body oxygenation? Gradual breathing retraining (slowing down automatic breathing
at rest) requires correction of lifestyle factors (causes
of hyperventilation) and breathing exercises (e.g., with the
Frolov breathing device). One
important lifestyle factor that can lead to quickly noticeable results in all bodybuilders and athletes
in training is to breathe only through the nose during any exercise.
Nose breathing only (both in and out) makes work-outs more challenging, but it
delivers nitric oxide (synthesized in nasal passages from arginine, another crucial
amino acid) into the lungs, increases arterial CO2 tension, reduces heart
rate for the same workload, and increases body-oxygen level during and after
exercise (additional information about nose breathing during exercise is on the
page Effects of
Exercise on the Respiratory System). More details about lifestyle for better body
oxygenation are in the Learning Section (see the menu above).
Therefore, improved body-oxygen levels provide double benefits for athletes and bodybuilders involved in intensive training:
- greatly improved quality of life and overall health
- reduced amount of dietary protein with increased efficiency
in building body muscle.
Right below here, as your bonus content, you can find the number X (in seconds) for the body-oxygen test (Control Pause) that, in my view, makes bodybuilding safe and protein metabolism effective, while preventing nearly all chronic diseases that are so common these days.
Tweet or Share this page to reveal the bonus content.
Sports Med. 2004; 34(5): 317-27. Macronutrient considerations for the sport of bodybuilding. Lambert CP, Frank LL, Evans WJ.
Nutrition, Metabolism, and Exercise Laboratory, Donald W. Reynolds Center on
Aging, Department of Geriatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences,
Little Rock, Arkansas 72205, USA.
Phys Sportsmed. 2009 Jun;37(2):13-21. Protein for exercise and recovery. Kreider RB, Campbell B.
Exercise and Sport Nutrition Lab, Department of Health and Kinesiology, 158H
Read Building, 4243 TAMU, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 78743-4243,