Human beings are made up of different building blocks - the first being water, and the second being protein. To keep the body together, we must consume protein. It helps keep us stay lean and makes our muscles strong! This amazing macronutrient is formed from amino acids that biosynthesize our hormones, membrane channels and ion pumps. Basically without protein, our immune system wouldn't function properly and our energy supplies would plummet along with many other health problems. Getting enough protein from the right sources can be tricky, so here is a guide to knowing the when, how and why of this essential dietary component: Sources of Protein: Getting your protein from real foods as apposed to supplements and shakes can be much better for fighting cravings and building muscle. Real foods like meats, tofu, beans, nuts, seeds and Greek yogurt help reduce the secretion of gherlin, the gut hormone which triggers appetite. By suppressing this hormone, you'll stay satisfied longer and become leaner. Portions of Protein: The golden rule of protein is to eat 1 gram per pound of bodyweight you carry. This can be shifted a little to meet the needs of someone looking to bulk up, but it makes for a good starting guideline. It is important to note that cutting carbs is dangerous if you are looking to gain muscle and consume lots of protein. Without carbohydrates, your body will use the protein you eat to create glucose and this can slow your metabolism and shrink your gains. Using protein properly with strength training can pack on a good pound a month of muscle for beginners. This is a great starting goal that can be increased over time! For ways to work whole food protein sources into your diet, check out the BodyRock Meal Plan! What are your thoughts? Are you a weight lifter with advice about protein?