This is the most common question that gets asked to those people with great physiques…
“How much protein do you take bro?”
It is no secret that protein is a huge determinant in your muscular recovery, but it isn’t addressed often is why this actually is.
Why Protein Is Important For Muscular Growth
Your muscles themselves are actually composed of about 75% water and stored glycogen, and 25% protein.
When you train a muscle and break it down, you are breaking down stored muscle protein.
In order to recover adequately and rebuild the muscle bigger and better, the only logical thing would be to do what?
Eat protein Of Course.
Eating protein after breaking down the muscle will support muscle growth and start the muscle protein synthesis process.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “you are what you eat.”
If you eat 4000 calories of snickers bars everyday vs. eat 4000 calories of lean steak, which do you think will result in a better physique?
You guessed it.
So How Much Protein Should You Have Daily?
Your muscles are literally composed of protein, and to get a lot bigger, you need to have a lot of protein, consistently, day in and day out.
While “a lot” of protein is a very general term, the amount you actually need to recover will be relative to your body size, weight and lean muscle mass.
Obviously you don’t need to eat so much protein that you’re puking, but I’ll tell you right now, if you are binging on chicken, fish and steaks, it will do you a hell of a lot more good than binging on ice cream and candy bars.
A good starting point is to ensure that AT MINIMUM you are consuming 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight each day if your goals are aimed towards muscular hypertrophy and strength gains.
Whenever a client asks me to take a look at their diet and see why I think they’re not growing, literally 90% of the time they just aren’t eating enough protein and food.
Seriously, next time you plateau when you are trying to gain muscle, throw another 50-100 grams of clean protein into your diet and then assess how your body responds over the next couple weeks.
If you want to pack on slabs of muscle (which are made of protein), then you will need to start eating more protein. Simple as that.
What are the best sources of protein?
First of all, you want to only be consuming complete protein sources.
By complete I mean that they contain all of the essential amino acids.
Incomplete protein sources only contain some of these essential amino acids, and as a result they have a much lower level of bioavailability in the human body (they aren’t as readily used by the body for muscle repair and growth).
Complete protein sources have a much higher biological value though and are optimal for muscular recovery/growth.
Some examples of complete protein sources you would benefit from including in your diet are fish, chicken, beef, turkey, eggs, Whey, yogurt, etc.
Are there certain complete proteins that are more beneficial at certain times of the day than others?
Speaking of bioavailability, whey protein can have a value of 90% all the way up to 104% depending on the quality of processing.
It’s obviously not the easiest thing for on the go busy individuals with busy schedules to be packing up steaks and chicken everywhere they go and stopping to eat every 3 hours.
Whey is a staple to have on hand for its' convenience, as it makes getting a great protein source ingested quickly while on the go easier than ever.
Aside from convenience, the digestion rate of whey is very fast, and because of this, it makes it the most ideal protein source for muscular recovery post-workout.
After you break down the muscle via strenuous resistance training, the absolute first thing you want to do is start the muscle recovery process, and that is why it is important you get a protein source in your body digested as fast as possible.
The quicker you start the protein synthesis process post-workout the better.
After you ingest whey, its amino acids break down extremely quick and are absorbed into the bloodstream.
No other protein source is comparable to whey in this regard, hence why it is always recommended to have a whey shake after each weightlifting session.
If you are trying to grow and you plateau, eat more protein and train even harder! You may be pleasantly surprised just how simple gaining muscle can really be.