Fit body

Role of Protein in Muscle Growth.

In order to see the best gains from your training program, proper nutrition is essential. This means the proper intake of calories, the proper ratio of macronutrients – protein, carbs, and fats – and the proper timing of these macronutrients.

When it comes to muscle building, you will find no shortage of advice on what to eat, how to train and what sort of supplements you should be taking. Unfortunately, there are lots of misconceptions and one of the biggest misconceptions is about the role of protein in bodybuilding. Let’s clear it out step by step…

9.1 What is protein and its importance?

Proteins are macro-molecules containing chains of amino acids. Quality protein helps you get the essential amino acids that your body needs for protein synthesis but can’t produce on its own.

Protein is the most important macronutrient when it comes to gaining mass through resistance training. Muscle is mostly made up of protein and water, so in order to gain muscle mass, consuming the right amount of protein is an absolute requirement. In addition to this, “the rates of muscle protein degradation and synthesis increase in response to high-intensity resistance exercise.”

Protein is used by the body to build, repair and maintain muscle tissue. Protein is comprised of amino acids, usually referred to as the “building blocks of protein”. There are approximately 20 amino acids, 9 of which are considered essential because the body cannot make them, they must be supplied by the diet.Protein is essential for growth and the building of new tissue as well as the repair of broken down tissue – like what happens when you work out. When you hear the term “positive nitrogen balance”, it refers to being in a state of having enough protein available for the needs of the body and the needs of building muscle.

For the most part, we are told to eat sufficient protein (every 3-4 hours) to maintain a positive nitrogen balance because your body is actually in an anabolic, or building up phase in this state, where a negative nitrogen balance, from lack of adequate protein, indicates a catabolic or tearing down state.

This is why protein (and eating enough throughout the day) is so important: lack of adequate protein and your body begins to break down tissue to meet it’s daily protein needs.

9.2 Why do you need protein to build muscle?

Proteins are made up of amino acids that are the basic building blocks of all proteins. Your stomach digests the proteins with hydrochloric acid that breaks them down

For the most part, we are told to eat sufficient protein (every 3-4 hours) to maintain a positive nitrogen balance because your body is actually in an anabolic, or building up phase in this state, where a negative nitrogen balance, from lack of adequate protein, indicates a catabolic or tearing down state.

This is why protein (and eating enough throughout the day) is so important: lack of adequate protein and your body begins to break down tissue to meet it’s daily protein needs.

9.2 Why do you need protein to build muscle?

Proteins are made up of amino acids that are the basic building blocks of all proteins. Your stomach digests the proteins with hydrochloric acid that breaks them down into simpler forms that are easier to absorb in your intestines.

When proteins get absorbed into the bloodstream, they are sent to various parts of your body to perform various functions, including repairing muscle tissues, support your immune system, and transport oxygen in your red blood cells.

Your skeletal muscles’ job is to move your body and to provide stability for body posture. Muscles grow by increasing the muscle cells’ mass and cross-section fibers that pull muscles together and separate them during contraction and stretching.

According to Dr. Len Kravitz, who is a kinesiology professor at the University of New Mexico, protein helps build muscles only if there is a need to produce more contractile proteins or repair damaged tissues, such as from wounds, blunt trauma, and burns.

The need also occurs during strength and anaerobic training, such as weight-lifting and sprinting, when your muscles have to adapt to the stress of exercise by recruiting more contractile proteins to do more work.

Your body needs 20 different amino acids to form usable proteins. It can produce 12 of these amino acids, yet it could not produce the remaining eight types, which are called essential amino acids.

These amino acids must be obtained from animal sources, such as meats and dairy products, contain complete proteins that your body can use. Plant-based foods do not contain all the essential amino acids.

According to Matthew Kadey, who is a registered dietitian with The Ontario College of Dietitians Member of Dietitians of Canada, you can combine different plant foods to create complete proteins, such as beans and rice. This allows vegetarians to get the proteins they need to build muscles.

So the bottom line is when it comes to building muscle, it’s a protein that you need most.

● Your body needs complete proteins every 3 to 4 hours in order to ensure that there are enough amino acids available for muscle building.

● Your body needs a certain combination of 9 different amino acids in order to build muscle.

● Without those amino acids, no muscles!

9.3 How Much Protein Do You Need?

Lately, it seems like every popular diet is a high-protein plan.

And even people who aren’t on a so-called diet are generally trying to eat more lean meats, nuts, seeds and low-fat dairy in an effort to boost their metabolism, build muscle and lose weight.

Much of the confusion comes down to what the current recommendations on protein actually are. The most common target people typically hear is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, and that works out to 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight or, in a 165-pound adult, about 60 grams of protein per day – about the equivalent of 3 cups of Greek yogurt, or one whole chicken breast.

But 0.8 is just the recommended daily allowance, or RDA, for protein intake for the average healthy adult, and contrary to popular opinion, the RDA isn’t exactly recommending how much you should eat per day. The RDA of protein is defined as the minimum amount you need. It doesn’t mean it’s a healthy optimum.

Meanwhile, the current dietary guidelines say we should get between 10 to 35 percent of our daily calories from protein.

If you follow the 0.8 rule, that should put you at right about 10 percent, and Harvard University estimates that most people currently get about 16 percent of their calories from protein. And according to research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, even the top 5 percent of protein consumers don’t approach the 35-percent mark.

But many people may need to inch their way a bit closer to 35 percent. Namely, weight-loss warriors, exercisers and both children and older adults.

For instance, a 2015 review published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism shows that people get about 25 percent of their calories from protein. If you’re eating 2,000 calories a day, that’s about 125 grams daily. Each gram of protein contains four calories.

Meanwhile, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that to increase muscle mass in combination with physical activity, you need to consume between

● 1.2 and 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, or ● 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight.

That equates to about 80 to 135 grams in a 165-pound adult. Oliver C. Witard, the exercise metabolism researcher at the University of Stirling in Scotland, advises consuming, even more, namely those trying to hit new PRs.

“For athletes seeking optimum performance, a recommendation of 1.6 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight may be beneficial,” he notes. Contrary to some previous concerns over the risks of excessive protein intake, 2.0 grams per kilogram is not “too high” and is not harmful.

9.4 When should you take Protein?

The body has to be in a positive nitrogen balance whole day round for various reasons, be it repair and growth or post workout, which makes consumption of protein a whole day process. However, it’s important to have protein at these times.

● Pre-workout: Research suggests protein taken about 30 minutes before exercise may prime your system with the nutrients you need for growth and recovery.

● Post-workout: Undeniably, this is the most important time for protein. Of the many factors influencing the body’s ability to recover from intense training, post-workout nutrition is one of the most critical.

● Before bed: While you sleep, your system doesn’t, and requires nutrients to carry on metabolic activities. Moreover, on the days you train, it’s important to have protein before bed as the bulk of recovery takes place while you are catching some sleep.

● Between meals: Protein between meals promotes satiety,

keeping serious hunger and cravings at bay for longer periods of time. Protein keeps your insulin levels stable thereby sparing you trips to the snack- vending machine during mid-morning and afternoon.

Getting up in the middle of the night to have a serving of protein might sound freaky but can be of immense help to keep your body in positive nitrogen balance.

9.5 What is a good protein source?

Protein can help you shed those unwanted pounds—and keep your belly full. But it’s important to eat the right amount and the right kind of protein to get its health benefits.

● Seafood

Seafood is an excellent source of protein because it’s usually low in fat. Fish such as salmon is a little higher in fat, but it is the heart-healthy kind: it has omega-3 fatty acids.

● White-Meat Poultry

Stick to the white meat of poultry for excellent, lean protein. Dark meat is a little higher in fat. The skin is loaded with saturated fat, so remove the skin before cooking.

● Milk, Cheese, and Yogurt

Not only are dairy foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt excellent sources of protein, but they also contain valuable calcium, and many are fortified with vitamin D. Choose skim or low-fat dairy to keep bones and teeth strong and help prevent osteoporosis.

● Eggs

Eggs are one of the least expensive forms of protein. The American Heart Association says normal healthy adults can safely enjoy an egg a day.

● Beans

One-half cup of beans contains as much protein as an ounce of broiled steak. Plus, these nutritious nuggets are loaded with fiber to keep you feeling full for hours.

● Pork Tenderloin

This versatile white meat is 31% leaner than it was 20 years ago.

● Soy

Fifty grams of soy protein daily can help lower cholesterol by about 3%. Eating soy protein instead of sources of higher-fat protein—and maintaining a healthy diet—can be good for your heart.

● Lean Beef

Lean beef has about two grams more saturated fat than a skinless chicken breast. Lean beef is also an excellent source of zinc, iron, and vitamin B12.

● Protein on the Go

If you don’t have time to sit down for a meal, grab a meal replacement drink, cereal bar, or energy bar. Check the label to be sure the product contains at least six grams of protein and is low in sugar and fat.

● Protein at Breakfast

Research shows that including a source of protein like an egg or Greek yogurt at breakfast along with a high-fiber grain like whole wheat toast can help you feel full longer and eat less throughout the day.

9.6 Effects of Protein on Lean Mass.

Protein consumption does three things related to lean mass.

First, protein breaks down into amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks for virtually every tissue in the body, including muscle.

If you don’t provide enough essential amino acids (EAAs) through your diet, your body won’t have what it needs to maintain health and support the maintenance of bone and muscle tissue.

Certain diseases increase amino acid needs, which is why it’s difficult to maintain muscle when one is sick. Though muscle is not an intended storage space for amino acids, in extreme circumstances, the body will break down its own muscle tissue to supply amino acids to other areas of the body.

Second, protein consumption stimulates protein synthesis.

Third, it reduces protein breakdown.

Protein synthesis is the process of assembling amino acids and building tissue, like a muscle. At the same time as the body is building up proteins and tissues, it also breaks them down.

When the rate of protein synthesis is greater than protein breakdown, the body produces a net increase in lean body mass. When protein breakdown exceeds synthesis, the body loses lean body mass.

Conclusion:

Protein is the building block of the body. When you train, the muscle tissue gets damaged and needs to be rebuilt through protein synthesis. This process is the basis of building muscle. Protein also affects your body composition by regulating hormones and water retention.