Persistence, not protein, is key to fitness

December 9, 2017 — by Leo Cao and Jeffrey Xu

While we were at Chipotle after our Saturday physics class, we noticed a huge, muscular body that belonged to a man with luscious blond hair. Interestingly enough, he was holding a Gatorade protein shake in his veiny hand, and it seemed as if he could crush the bottle at any moment.

A popular trend amongst bodybuilders is consuming protein bars, drinks or powders before working out, and apparently, such consumption is linked to more muscle building. According to, 30 to 40 grams of protein each day is optimal to recover in between workouts.

Recently, the question has arisen of how important protein is in muscle building, sparking much debate in the bodybuilding community. Common protein supplements include whey powder, protein shakes like Muscle Milk and protein bars such as Protein Cookie by MuscleTech.

So, being two pretty skinny Asian teenagers, we decided to put this debate to rest — deciding to start consuming protein supplements for a week and work out for once to see what would happen.

Since we didn’t have access to a gym, we worked out at Leo’s house using Freeletics, an app that gives users a workout each day and teaches them how to do certain exercises.

But first, we went to Safeway and picked up a Muscle Milk Knockout Chocolate Pro series drink with 40 grams of protein  and some Gatorade Recover Whey protein bars.

Upon returning home from Safeway, we consumed a couple bars and drank a bit of the Muscle Milk before starting the workout.

The workout, primarily aimed for building abs, consisted of three rounds of of 20 push-ups, five pull-ups, 40 cross-legged crunches, a one-minute plank, 20 heel touches, 30 bicycle crunches and 10 leg raises.

In the middle, we took out the Gatorade protein shakes, downed them and felt totally refreshed within seconds. With our newfound energy, we continued through our workout, powering through those crunches, although it was probably from placebo, since the effects of the drink weren’t supposed to occur that quickly.

In the end, we felt that although the protein didn’t seem to improve our abs, the act of consuming protein improved our morale and made us feel more energized.

Then again, bodybuilding requires persistence and consistency; just consuming protein for one afternoon and working really shouldn’t amount to much in any case. If we really wanted to build those pecs and six-pack abs, we would have to do this every day — and more.

But we’re just not that type of people.