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How Teen Athletes Can Build Muscle with Protein

By Jill Castle, MS, RDN, Kids Eat Right, 03/20/19, 12:00PM CDT

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Too little protein consumption means your body has to supply it itself, which can result in muscle breakdown and loss. 

Eating protein doesn't equal big muscles. Instead, muscle growth is a complex process that relies on adequate consumption of protein and calories, hormones including human growth hormone and testosterone, and a healthy dose of exercise.

Here are a few facts and tips to keep in mind before you amp up your protein in search of a new physique.

Work Builds Muscle

Although eating protein doesn't build muscle on its own, the presence of protein in an athlete's diet is important. Believe it or not, when you exercise, such as lifting weights or running, some of your muscle cells break down. Protein from food helps repair this damage from exercising and builds up more muscle, making them stronger.