Protein and Muscle- The Key to Muscle Building
By Myprotein Writer Apoorv Kumar Upadhyay
1 . Protein – what is the key?
If you are a novice lifter or have just started working out and are still unclear about how to build muscle and what those big guys/average gym rats have in their shakers, my friend , Welcome to the world of exercise science and nutrition .
Protein as we all know can contributes to building muscles by providing the body with essential and non-essential amino acids. Our muscles are made up of protein, which is known as the basic building block for muscles.
2. What are the available protein sources
If you go ahead and see any product label, you’ll find protein content mentioned. Usually product companies measure ingredients per 100 gram or so. A nutritional label might read “100 gram of this product contains 7 grams of protein”. But do you think most packaged food is a reliable source of protein? Not necessarily! If you consume 100 grams just for 7 grams of protein, how much grams of other unhealthy nutrients are likely to be entering your system (bad fat, cholesterol, sugar)?
Keep in mind that protein should be consumed from sources that have the highest content of available protein per gram of serving.
It’s ok to take 100 gram of chicken breast that gives you 20 grams of protein and very little fat and 0 carbs.
The Best Available Sources of Protein are:
- Whey/Casein protein – Whey protein is a byproduct produced in the cheese making process. Whey protein has a comprehensive amino acid profile and unlike other proteins is absorbed faster than any other protein in the body. Casein protein is the main protein found in milk and unlike whey protein is a slow releasing source of protein that can provide a sustained release of protein to the muscles.
- Eggs – A whole egg provide 6 grams of protein and egg whites have 3 grams of protein.
- Meat – Lean sources of meat like chicken breast, fish(tuna , salmon) , talipa, steak , lean cuts of beef/pork has high protein content per serving in them .
- Peas, Guava, pulses, cottage cheese have high protein content per serving and are a good source of protein for vegetarians and non meat eaters.
- Meal replacement protein bars – Meal replacement protein bars comes handy and acts as a quick source of protein for the body. Our delicious protein Chox are perfect for if you’re on the go and need a quick source of tasty protein- the perfect candy bar alternative.
3. How to Consume Protein
Protein aids in muscle building. Without protein muscle building might not happen that quickly. Remember, a normal guy who doesn’t do physical work might be consuming 60-70 grams of protein daily through his diet. This much of protein is alright for the body but when it comes to building muscles, the following concept apply:
- Calculate your bodyweight into pounds.
- For an average gym goer, who trains 4-5 days weekly and doesn’t lift that heavy, he needs 8-1 gram of protein per pound of his body weight daily to sustain and develop muscles.
- For a power lifter or a hyper active guy, the protein content should be 1.2-2 grams per pound of his bodyweight for muscle growth.
4. Protein Timings
Now, let’s talk about when we should consume protein. Protein timing is one of the most debated topics whereby some individuals think protein should be divided across all meals & the maximum serving should be taken immediately after workout.
The calorific value of each macronutrient is important during a weight and fat loss program is important- remember every food you eat is associated with a calorie number.
1 gram of protein has 4 calories.
1 gram of fat contains 9 calories
1 gram of carbohydrates contains 4 calories
The bad fats you eat, like pizza cheese, contains 8-9 calories per gram. That’s why it is recommended to cut on bad fat because its calories count is indeed higher than protein or carbs that usually share a same ratio per serving (4 calories per gram for both carbs and protein).
It is recommended a gym lover should eat at least 6 meals through a day and the ratio of protein, carbs and good fats should be 4:4:2.
So now let’s talk about the timings. Let’s take an example that you wake up at 7 AM in the morning have your breakfast at 10 AM , workout at 7.30 PM and have dinner at 11 PM.
Morning (7 AM) – Consider going for a whey protein shake (23-25 gram protein per 33-35 gram serving). Early morning protein is very helpful because the body has not been fed since the last 8 hours of your sleep.
Breakfast(10 AM): Now it’s been 3 hours , Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day and should be heavy. Try consuming 4 egg white (12 gram of protein) and 2 whole eggs (12 gram of protein) .Couple it with oats (50-70 grams serving) or fruits or any other complex carbs source.
Pre Lunch (12.30 PM)– Consume a protein shake (25 grams protein) or eggs whites (25 grams protein every 8 eggs). Usually people find protein shake convenient at this time. You can consume a meal replacement bar too (20-23 grams of protein).
Lunch (3.30 PM): Try consuming 40-50 grams of protein from this diet. Go for 10 oz. of lean protein sources like fish, chicken breast and complex carbs source like brown rice and lots of veggies.
Pre Gym (6:15 -6:30): Consume some protein (20-25 grams) from your diet. Load yourself with carbs, because carbs would assist in lifting heavy and keep your blood glucose levels really high so that u don’t crash out in gym.
Post Gym (Immediately or max to 45 minutes post workout) – This is also a very important meal. You have workout very hard in the gym and the muscles need protein and your blood glucose levels are really low by this time.
It’s time to grab a shaker but some whey + casein (fast releasing +slow releasing proteins) . Make sure you are consuming at least 40 grams of protein. When it comes to building muscle post workout its important to replenish your glycogen stores- Grab a source of high glycemic carb like dextrose or maltrodextrin so fuel in your glycogen store.
Dinner (11 PM) – Eat light, I would insist, eat only protein. We don’t want carbohydrates at this point of time. If you are coupling with carbs, go ahead with complex carbs only like fruits and vegetables, yams, and all. Have 100-200 grams (20-40 grams of protein) of chicken breast /fish and other leaner cuts of poultry with vegetables and fruits.
5. Points to Remember
- You must be wondering why we can’t eat 100 grams of protein in one meal and reach that daily protein target in a maximum of 3 meals.
The answer is, at any given point of time our body can only consume 30-35 grams of protein. Protein is like water, you can eat as much as you want but the body will only use whats required and needed, any extra will excreted from the system or get stored into fat tissues.
- Try consuming protein from your diet, supplements come handy when u are in a rush and are a convenient way for getting protein but please don’t rely on them completely- they DO NOT replace real food.
- Try to eat 6 meals daily with every meal containing protein as the chief component.
- Don’t ignore other macro nutrients like carbs and good fats. They are also required by the body for building muscle. Protein alone won’t get you to where you need to be.
- Get ample amount of sleep. Muscles grow and recover in sleep only. Try to sleep for 8 hours if not at least 6 hours.
- Muscle building doesn’t happen in one night! It takes months and years of hard work and consistent diet. But yes, you can feel the difference within weeks.
- Be positive , success require efforts and positive mindset: fuel your ambition.