The Power of Protein

A bodybuilder’s goal is to accumulate as much quality muscle as they are genetically capable of gaining.

Protein 101

Without question you have to train hard and eat your meals. You also need the proper supplements to aid in your quest. Being consistent with your bodybuilding lifestyle is crucial as well. If you had to choose which aspect of your bodybuilding plan you had to be most consistent with, it would definitely be your protein intake. This macronutrient makes muscle happen. Without it, you are fighting a losing battle.

Here’s Why

The macronutrient protein is an essential nutrient comprised of a long chain of amino acids responsible for providing structure for most of the body’s tissues. Amino acids are considered the building blocks of protein. The more of those building blocks you have, the more lean tissue you have. Lean, healthy muscle tissue, is what we’re after and consuming adequate quantities of protein is how we get it.

The Science behind How Protein Works

Protein causes anabolism. This is a good thing. Anabolism is the direct affect of protein’s ability to create a positive, nitrogen-rich environment. Muscles grow in this environment. The amino acids in protein start to work by repairing the damaged muscle tissue caused by intense training. Your body begins to respond to both resistance training and the anabolic signals provided by protein ingestion, as long as specific amino acids are present. Whey protein is a rich source of these essential amino acids and helps to rapidly elevate plasma amino acids, providing the foundations for building and preserving muscle mass.

Anabolic vs Catabolic

Several studies involving supplementation with whey protein have shown to be effective in augmenting the effects of resistance exercise, particularly when supplementation occurs within the hours surrounding the exercise training. Protein consumption and the accompanying hyperaminoacidemia stimulates an increase in muscle protein synthesis (MPS) and a small suppression of muscle protein breakdown.

Beyond the feeding-induced rise in MPS, incremental additions of new muscle protein mass occur following intense resistance exercise, which over time, leads to muscle hypertrophy. Athletes take advantage of this paradigm – resistance training and eating to maximize the gains in their skeletal muscle mass. Recent evidence suggests that consumption of different proteins can affect the amplitude and possibly duration of MPS increases after feeding. This effect interacts and is possibly accentuated with resistance exercise.

Where Does Protein Come from?

High Protein Foods

When you create your diet plan, you should start with what protein sources you are going to use. Once you have chosen those sources then move on to the other macronutrients that will make up the remaining calories for the day. Typically speaking, you want to choose the cleanest protein sources available. These sources include but are not limited to:Lean cuts of beef

  • Lean cuts of poultry
  • Lean cuts of pork
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Whey protein powders by ALLMAX Nutrition

Something to consider is that not all proteins are created equal and the source you choose must coincide with the time you are consuming it. For example, the amino acid profile of red meat is different from a white fish source and a whey-based protein powder is different from a casein-based protein. Each has its specific function and using a variety of these sources is recommended.

How Do I Know what Protein to Use?

When you wake up in the morning your muscles need immediate attention. They have been starving all night and require a boost right away. This is when you need fast-digesting protein. ALLWHEY will provide this. Mix up a couple scoops of this with water and wash it down. Your starving muscles will thank you. About a half hour later consume a wholefood-based meal comprised of one of the sources mentioned above, eggs are always a good choice, with a slow-digesting carb like oatmeal. After that, follow the rule of eating every 2-3 hours choosing from the sources mentioned.

If you are trying to bulk up and are in your offseason, red meat provides lots of amino acids with more fat content providing you with more calories per serving. If you are contest dieting, you might want to use fish or poultry as the base of your meals. These sources are clean with a low-fat content, so the calories per serving will be lower. Fish is a great source, especially salmon due to its omega fat content.

The timing of protein intake around your training is very important – immediately after training you should consume a fast digesting whey protein isolate like ISOFLEX .

This post-workout feeding provides your body with the nutrients needed for repair and growth right away, leaving no time for atrophy to take place. Once you have downed this shake, wait about 45 minutes, then have a wholefood-based meal again.

How much Protein Do I Need?

To maintain a positive nitrogen-rich environment, you should be consuming protein every 2 to 3 hours. A general guideline to follow for how many grams you need, is to think of 25 grams per meal as your minimum amount of protein intake. The body can digest this amount easily and most, if not all, will be used.

A bodybuilder should be eating at least one gram of protein per pound of lean bodyweight.

This can add up to a lot of meals if you’re really big. Also, if time is an issue, then fewer meals with more protein is a better option. Many bodybuilders abide by the 1.5 – 2 grams of protein per pound of lean body weight to ensure they are getting their protein needs. Decide on what your goals are, pay attention to how your body reacts to the different amounts you eat, and then adjust protein intake accordingly.

Sources:

  • Hayes, Alan; Cribb, Paul J. “Effect of whey protein isolate on strength, body composition and muscle hypertrophy during resistance training”; Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care: January 2008 – Volume 11 – Issue 1 – p 40-44.
  • Tang, Jason E; Phillips, Stuart M. “Maximizing muscle protein anabolism: the role of protein quality”; Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care: January 2009 – Volume 12 – Issue 1 – p 66-71.
Dana Bushell

As a former provincial level bodybuilding competitor, and as a strength and conditioning coach, Dana has the advantage of being up to date with the current training and dieting practices used by the industry’s athletes. Along with being an Associate Professor of Communications, Dana is also a certified fitness consultant and a regular columnist for Muscle Insider.

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