Protein has been the trusted macro for building muscle. This is but one way of stimulating protein synthesis. When used in combination with lifting weights, the results are an optimal body composition. Bodybuilders over the years have long known that this combination will give them the most maximal gains.
The problem lies in the fact that not many of us are aware of how much protein we should be consuming on a daily basis. The other, most important question, is how much do we need in order to best stimulate protein synthesis in order to achieve the most muscular gains during training.
Unfortunately, most of the research has been with men, therefore, I can only account for those results at this present time (which is a shame, as women would be suited to this information as well).
One study from Canada used a unique approach with highly trained body building men. This technique is called IAAO, and it indicated the point in which oxidation of an indicator amino acid remains steady (this was used instead of testing a nitrogen balance). This proved that once dietary protein needs were met, there is no change to the oxidation of the indicator amino acid and resulting in breakpoint is thought to be the requirement.
The result from this test showed that the protein requirement to sustain muscle mass and offset protein breakdown was 1.7g per kg, whereas the recommended requirement for which maximal muscle building occurs was 2.2g per kg.
Of course, this is not the one and only study performed with high end lifters. Therefore, could there also be a benefit in consuming more protein, when combined with strength training? This is questionable at this present time. When you do increase the consumption beyond 2g of protein daily (per kg of body weight), you may be susceptible to protein intolerance and induce gut issues. This is something that needs to be taken into consideration, because when the gut is struggling to maintain digestion of excessive protein, you increase inflammation markers and negate any of the benefits.
With the information above now in perspective, what would excel your results for building muscle in the gym?
4 ways to excel your muscle building potential
- Metabolic stress. This means using training to failure regularly, allowing the swelling and release of hormones that stimulate muscle growth
- Muscle tension. This is the amount of time spent lifting. Allow for sessions with greater volume, more sets and total reps. This will always lead to increased mechanical tension and stimulus for growth.
- Consistent training. This one is quite simple. Regular lifting will increase muscle mass immensely, and consistently changing as well as altering your programs will provide the best results. Aim for training 3–4 times per week, allowing 2 days for rest and recuperation.
- Always alternate between intensification and accumulation. Again, training for both strength and hypertrophy will get you the best results. The body will easily become accustomed to your training mannerisms, and halt growth. The best way through a training plateau is to try something completely different. This will jump start your growth potential
I do hope this answers your question. Remember, more protein is not necessarily best, and combining both diet and training is key to muscular growth over time.
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