Why Protein Is The Backbone To Building Muscle
"Ma, Where's My Protein!?"
The fitness world is chopped full of weird supplements promoted to help build muscle, battle fat, and give energy. Pills, gels, shakes, etc… if you can think it, they make it!
But one of the few supplements that really does work and is a stable to any regular lifter is protein. No matter male of female, protein is a plus to help the body repair and build great muscle.
So sit back and check out the facts you need to know… this is your All About Protein Course…
The Golden Child: Why Protein Is The Backbone To Building Muscle
Muscle doesn't grow over night after a great workout. It takes more than just lifting weights to increase the size of our biceps or help define your legs. Sure, a great workout is a leading factor but its more, it is all dependent upon the protein your body has stored.
Muscles are composed of proteins so it only makes sense that to make bigger muscles you need more protein. During what is called protein synthesis, muscle composition changes and the action of weight lifting leads to building muscle. Without the added protein you are trying to build a house without the materials.
But protein has other perks than being responsible for your great figure. It also is the hardest macronutrient for the body to break down and takes a ton of energy. Your metabolism goes up just from consuming protein. That means that the more protein the more calories your body is naturally burning to break it down. Because of the work of breakdown it stays in your stomach longer, making you feel satisfied.
What About The Other Macronutrients?
Have you ever eaten a large bowl of spaghetti and then an hour later you are hungry again? That's because of the carbohydrate's affect which is quite different that the protein. These simple carbs quickly raise your blood sugar (which leads to a spike in insulin) and then the blood sugar quickly falls back down. This makes you want to eat more and more. Quite the opposite of protein which doesn't affect the blood sugar.
Let me back up, this is not to say that you should avoid carbs. They are still required for a balanced diet but it is important to stick to complex carbs like whole grains, fruits and vegetables which affect blood sugar levels less.
I am saying however, that for muscle growth you will need to up protein level but keep carbohydrates right where the are, unless you are taking in a ton of simple carbs in which you may want to lower carb intake.
And we can't forget the fats. I feel bad for fat because it has gotten a bad rap for years. But fat is an important part of a diet. It is still necessary to get healthy unsaturated fats and healthy carbs in everyday. Each snack you have should contain a bit of everything. Fats like the Omegs-3s and Omega-6s actually aid in muscle and weight health. Which is why so many fitness buffs take flaxseed or fish oil supplements.
What Happens After A Workout?
After intense lifting, the muscle are tired and starved. They have developed micro-tears within the fibers from all the strain you just placed. If you want to keep the muscle you have and/or increase its size then it is necessary to take in protein for repairs and rebuilding. Studies show that athletes who consume a high protein source snack 10-20 minutes after a workout have great muscle gains that those who didn't.
If you are in a hypertrophy stage where muscle gain is your main goal in the gym then make sure to take a look at your protein consumption. Protein should be between 1-2g per pound of body weight.
For people just wanting to stay how they are, general intake of protein is recommended to be around .6-.8g/lb of weight is efficient.
These numbers may sound confusing and hard to track but really it is quite simple. Just make sure that each meal and snack (there should be a total of 4-6 meals/snacks per day) that you are getting some source of protein. Whether it's shakes, meat, sandwiches, etc. you will be fine. If you know you aren't getting enough then cook up some egg whites. They are very low in calories but packed full of protein.
What are some healthy protein sources? Whey protein, egg whites, poultry, fish, seafood, bison, lean beef, soybeans, nuts, etc.
What are some healthy carbs? Whole wheat bread, rye, fruits, vegetables, sweet potatoes, whole-wheat couscous
What are some healthy fats? Plant oils (olive oil, vegetable oil), cold water fish (salmon, tuna, cod), nuts, and avocadoes
Yup… protein is in every meat we eat… but what about vegetarians? So what about vegetarians and protein to gain muscle? If you are ready to head to this next lesson, go for it!
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