What you consume is very important, especially if your goal is to build muscle.
Eating protein, in particular, will not only help you to acquire more strength, but also build muscle. That explain why premium mass gainer supplements contain ample amounts of proteins!
Protein is mainly composed of amino acids, which are the foundation of all the muscles in your body. Without amino acids, building, repairing, or even maintaining muscle tissue would be impossible.
Also, protein is composed of nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon. Having ample amounts of protein in the body leaves your body in an anabolic state.
It is at this particular state that the body builds muscle mass.
Ensuring that your body has a constant supply of protein all through the day is key for optimal muscle development.
So, how does protein help in building muscle?
As mentioned earlier, protein is mainly composed of amino acids, which are vital in several bodily processes and reactions.
When you work out and lift heavy weights, you end up creating small tears in your muscle tissues.
That is probably one of the reasons why your muscles tend to feel sore about 24 hours later after training.
However, when you consume protein, the body efficiently breaks it down into amino acids and then uses these amino acids to repair the muscle tears.
The amino acids not only surround, but also fill up the muscle tear, ultimately resulting in stronger and larger muscles.
Effects of protein intake on lean body mass
The intake of protein has three major impacts on an individual’s lean body mass.
First, the body breaks down protein to amino acids; the building blocks of all muscle in the body.
Without enough EAAs (essential amino acids), your body will not have what is required to build and maintain muscle tissue.
Second, the consumption of protein fuels protein synthesis.
Third, it minimizes the breakdown of protein.
Less protein breakdown means little to no muscle mass is lost, hence the maintenance of lean mass.
How much protein does the body need?
For optimum muscle growth, you have to ensure that you are indeed consuming the appropriate amounts of protein.
Consuming too little will have your body taking longer to actually build any muscle while consuming too much could leave you fat and dehydrated with higher risks of kidney stones.
Just like any other thing, striking a balance is important. Take in the right amounts for you depending on your body weight.
The average protein intake recommendation for an individual who regularly exercises is 0.8grams of protein for every kg of their body weight.
This means that if you, for instance, weigh 150 pounds, then you should be consuming about 55 grams of protein daily.
The specific amounts of protein needed by the body daily also depend on your gender, height, and level of training.
Women generally tend to need less protein compared to men.
To determine the accurate amounts of protein that your body needs, consult a certified nutritionist or dietician.
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Quality of protein
The quality of protein is simply determined by the concentration of EAAs.
Whey protein is popular and unique among bodybuilders because of its significantly high concentration of the essential amino acids.
That is not to mean that other sources of protein do not contain enough amino acids.
Plant-based protein can still offer the required threshold of amino acids needed for muscle growth as long as enough is ingested. Even those on a vegan diet can still build muscle.
It is just a bit more difficult to realize the same amount of EAAs found in 30 grams of beef, eggs, or whey from consuming beans or any other plant protein.
Which is the best form of protein?
Food sources of protein like dairy, nuts, fish, and beef are all healthy and good sources.
However, because of their varying amino acid composition and other accompanying nutrients (fats, carbs, etc.), they end up having different rates of digestion.
The different amino acid concentrations also affect the quality of the protein source. Food sources like fish, beef, and dairy have been found to contain a good balance of EAAs needed for protein synthesis.
Whey protein found in protein powders is, in fact, a part of the dairy family.
It is obtained from the manufacture of cheese.
Its bonus is that it contains a high concentration of the essential amino acids and it comes without any extra, unwanted calories or fat.
Supplements, bars, and shakes are also another great source of protein.
However, consuming whole foods that have naturally occurring nutrients is a better option. Below are a few tasty protein-rich snack ideas:
- Peanut butter and rice cake
This is a great snack to eat before your workout. The rice cake will provide you with the energy needed for your training session whereas the peanut butter provides protein and will also leave you feeling full.
- Banana and Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt has been found to contain a higher amount of protein compared to normal yogurt because of the way that it is strained. Bananas, on the other hand, are known to be good energy providers.
Eggs are not just intended for breakfast, they are perfect for nearly all times of the day. They have a nice balance of the essential amino acids needed by the body that can be obtained via your diet.
If you are a dedicated bodybuilder or simply an individual looking to build muscle, the best thing you could do to your body is to provide it with the right tools it needs to stimulate protein synthesis.
A sufficient supply of protein will significantly help your body build lean muscle tissue.
Apart from helping your body build muscle, protein keeps you full for long, and thus minimizes the chances of snacking or caving into unhealthy food temptations.
Protein also assists your body in the slow digestion of sugar and controls the secretion of insulin, thus providing you with longer-lasting energy.
That said, supplementing your diet with proper protein options will get you achieving your goal in no time. More protein, more muscle!
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