You probably know that a protein-rich diet helps build muscle mass. But do you know how protein promotes muscle growth?
It is no secret that protein is one of the most sought after components that professional athletes and bodybuilders make sure they get enough of. And whether you are resistance training, cardio training, or weight training, protein is very important for muscle growth. Let’s take a look at exactly what role protein plays in the muscle building game.
Amino acids can reasonably be called the “building blocks of muscle”, and that is exactly what protein consists of. Without amino acids, your muscles can not repair after you have torn them down. The amino acids in protein help deliver carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, which assist in maintaining, repairing, and building muscle tissue.
By ensuring that you consistently have enough protein in your body to promote muscle growth, you exist in a positive nitrogen balance. This is known as an anabolic state. If you dip down into a negative nitrogen balance, what is known as a catabolic state, your body actually begins to break down your muscle and use it for energy and fuel. You then build muscle only to see it used as a fuel source, thus sabotaging your own efforts.
So the role that protein plays in muscle growth and development is important to remember if you want to maximize your muscle building efforts. A simple rule of thumb to use is to make sure 25% to 30% of every meal you eat is protein. And since the human body cannot absorb more than 3 to 3 1/2 ounces of protein at one sitting, there is no need to waste money and protein by overdoing it.
The protein food sources which provide essential amino acids that drive muscle growth include eggs, meat, fish, milk, and soy products. Your body breaks down the protein in these foods at different ratios. For example, only 61% of the protein found in soy products is utilized by your body, while a full 80% of most fish protein will benefit your muscle growth.
All of those are healthy protein sources, however. Make sure you are eating at least two or three servings of protein a day to take advantage of the crucial role which protein plays in muscle development. Whey protein supplements are also excellent healthy protein providers, and should be taken 10 to 15 minutes immediately after your workout for the maximum muscle building results. The bottom line? Get plenty of protein and your muscles will respond with faster and more impressive results.