Simple Fact: You Need Protein to Build Muscle!
“The truth is that not all bodybuilders are strong, especially those who have done most of their training with weight machines. But years of power lifting and working with free weights had given me massive biceps and shoulders and back muscles and thighs. I simply looked bigger and stronger than the rest” – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Total Recall
Building muscles has never been easier. And it has never been more difficult. It is only in the movies that the specially toned body can be induced with steroids from a bottle. Instant transformation is no longer possible.
The best way to build good muscle mass is the right way. It depends on various factors such as the time put in, dedication, will power, effort and the diet. Heredity issues, genetics make up and the intensity of the workout also play an important role in deciding the outcome.
A loss of fat and increase in muscle is what is genuinely needed to get the kind of body that you have in mind. It includes eating the right type of food in the correct quantity and proper training. The right amount of sleep also plays a very crucial role.
Consuming the right amount of intake means sufficient protein and not too much fat.
The muscles tend to get buried under the fat when not eaten moderately and in the right proportion. In order to build muscle you need to reduce the amount of fat that’s consumed in your diet and increase the amount of protein that’s consumed.
Any athlete or body builder will come to realise and accept that the way to build muscle is increasing their protein intake. The question is how much protein is required to build muscle?
Protein is the most essential ‘constructive’ nutrient for many body tissues. Many of these tissues support the growth of the muscle. Bones, connective tissues, skin, nails, hair, etc are all dependent on protein. Following closely after water, protein is the second most abundant substance in the human body. It makes up 15-20% of each person’s body weight. Muscles and other body tissues are built from protein. Protein is the raw substance from which body tissues and muscles are built. Proteins are derived from amino acids. There are twenty varieties – made up of essential and non-essential amino acids.
The basic rule is that in order to increase nitrogen balance, sufficient amounts of complete proteins must be consumed.
Why does the body need protein?
• Protein builds muscles – sufficient protein builds new muscles
• Protein maintains muscles – it will help and accelerate muscle recovery. Exercising can cause muscle breakdown. Protein prevents such a break down.
• Protein promotes loss of fat – the thermal effect in the protein ensures that the human body ends up burning more calories just digesting the protein as opposed to carbohydrates or fat. Protein also leads to a very filling meal. Since it takes longer for it to get digested, you feel fuller for a longer period of time.
The diet followed must efficiently contribute to muscle growth. There are various factors to decide how much protein is required to build muscle.
Sources of Protein:
• Chicken breast
• Low fat/non-fat dairy
• Protein powder (whey protein/casein protein)
• Vegan protein sources – pea, hemp, brown rice
Other protein categories include meal replacement shakes, weight gainers, low lactose protein and low carbohydrate protein.
Meal replacement shakes offer a balanced quantity of the required protein, carbohydrates and other essentials in a very convenient and easy to consume powder form.
Now that we have discussed why protein is essential to build muscles and the various sources of protein, let us find out how much protein is required to build muscle.
The muscles need food for energy and to recover from the strenuous exercises and workout. Building muscles will need the correct quantity of protein.
According to the US Food and Nutrition Board 1980, the required intake of protein is 0.8 grams per kg of lean body weight for inactive or deskbound adults. For older children and infants, the RDA is increased accordingly with respect to their rate of growth. This amount is correct to meet your basic requirement for nutrition and nourishment. It is the minimum requirement, not the daily dosage. Calculation of the RDA is weight multiplied by 0.36.
Working out adds a new view to the calculation because the body’s need for protein has increased. This increase is due to the added activity within the system. The human body tends to rely on the input received as opposed to absorption from the existing resources within.
The need for protein consumption is higher for athletes and bodybuilders. For the average non-professional, more than the one gram per pound rule can be applied. This is to ensure that the retention of nitrogen is at its peak.
More protein does not mean more meat. The protein package includes other nutrients such as fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. These come along with the protein. The combination of high protein with low fat and carbohydrates is the best choice. An increase in protein consumption implies lower quantity of other supplements in your diet to keep a watch on the calorie intake.
Recreational athletes can try to aim for daily consumption which is closer to 1.1 to 1.4 g/kg of body weight per day, 38% to 75% greater than the RDA. Athletes, such as marathon runners, should be between 1.2 to 2 g/kg of body weight, and strength athletes, like weight lifters, should be between 1.4 to 2 g/kg of body weight.
• 20 – 30 grams of whey protein is recommended post workout.
• 20 – 30 grams of glutamine is recommended post workout
• 2 grams of fish oil, ideally with a meal is suggested
• According to a study, when the dietary protein was increased from 1.8 to 3.5 grams per kilogram of body, there was seen a categorical increase in strength of 5% and a size of 6%.
One of the basic needs and essential requirements of an athlete and a bodybuilder is the appropriate and necessary amount of protein intake. The indication of adequate protein consumption is a positive nitrogen balance. The muscle needs to be saturated in nitrogen. When this occurs, your body is receiving the proper amount of protein.
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