Diet is the cornerstone of every programme. Without a nutrition plan that is optimised to maximise protein intake, it’s impossible to ever get the results you deserve, but why? Protein has long been the staple of all looking for intense muscle growth, however very few understands how it works and why fixing your nutrition could dramatically enhance your results.
Firstly, it is important to establish what makes protein. Protein is formed by a group of amino acids, which act as the basic building blocks for all protein. When it is consumed, it will be digested and broken down into simpler forms that are easier for the intestines to absorb.
Protein requirements for muscle growth and development
The protein will subsequently be absorbed into the bloodstream and sent around the body to perform various actions, such as transporting oxygen, supporting the immune system and repairing damaged muscle tissue. So, if you want your efforts in the gym to really pay-off, ensure that your protein intake is as at an appropriate level. It is essential you understand how much protein is required for muscle growth before trying to develop your physique.
Protein is made-up of a variety of different elements; carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen are the basic constructs. These basic elements are what fuel rapid muscle growth and repair.
It is crucial to optimise protein intake, as muscle almost exclusively grows when your body has an adequate supply. This state, the state of having enough protein in your body for muscle to grow, is called an anabolic state. This actually comes about when you have a positive nitrogen balance. Muscle can almost never grow when your body does not have a positive nitrogen balance, which can only be achieved by ensuring that your protein intake is high enough.
Convexly, if protein levels in the body are not high enough it develops a negative nitrogen balance, this is referred to as a catabolic state. Simply, when the body is in a catabolic state, it fuels itself, not by utilising food reserves, but by breaking down muscle. This is clearly an utter waste of your time, but it is downright impossible to determine which state your body is presently in.
Don’t worry, there is a way to ensure that you’re not breaking-down your hard earned muscle as you push through your session. Although the optimal amount of protein for each person varies drastically, and may require some trial-and-error tactics, a rough goal to begin working from, for a fully-grown male, is between 120g-150g a day – an ideal figure for most women is 10% less than this.
But it’s not just the quantity that counts, in fact protein digestion is almost completely dependent on the source of said protein, slow digesting proteins, such as egg, are best for before a workout and faster digesting protein, such as beef, are best taken during your recovery period. Some studies have shown that consuming too much protein may lead to some kidney damage, so be sure to circumvent this by drinking water plentifully and regularly.
Protein is the key to your training goals. For those of us who do not want to totally obsess over our diet a rule of thumb is: eat protein every 2-4 hours and drink lots of water. Your body is a temple, so treat it as such – go get training! One of the best products we can recommend to increase your daily protein intake and help you build muscle is LA Whey.