Proper training and adequate rest are cornerstones of a successful fitness and weight training regimen. But without proper nutrition, you’ll see your hard work lay to waste.
Let me also say that while protein is a fundamental aspect of nutrition, it is important to realise that it works in combination with other macronutrients and micronutrients to help your muscles recover and grow. However, protein has been coined as the “building blocks” of muscle for a reason.
FIND OUT WHY PROPER PROTEIN IN DIET IS ESSENTIAL
A protein molecule contains amino acids; 20, to be exact. These amino acids all have different functions, but, together, ultimately work to help your muscles recover and repair after a workout. Repair you ask? Am I breaking my muscles? Well yes, and no.
Don’t worry, you won’t break the muscle to a point where you’ll be unable to function. However, as you place tension on the muscle through training, you create small micro-sized tears in the fibre. The amino acids in protein are synthesised in your muscles, and from there, help to repair those tears a little bit bigger and stronger than before.
This process takes time and the results aren’t visible overnight. But with proper diet and training, you can expect to see changes even in just a few weeks.
“You complete me” – Jerry Maguire
Protein food sources can be broken down into two categories: “Complete” and “Incomplete”.
Complete protein sources come mainly from animal products such as beef, chicken, fish, eggs and dairy. The protein in these sources contain all 20 amino acids needed to make a complete molecule of protein. Incomplete protein sources are those which — as you may have guessed — are lacking all of the 20 amino acids.
By combining specific incomplete protein sources, you are able to supplement the missing amino acids and complete the amino acid profile. It’s a practice very common among vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters alike! Incomplete proteins have the added bonus of being good for digestion because they are normally very high in fibre.
DON’T OVERDO IT
Now before you start wolfing down 50 ounces of ground beef, keep in mind that your body has a limit to what it can absorb. It’s important to realise that there is such a thing as eating too much protein in a meal, and if that’s the case, your body will only absorb what it is capable of absorbing and literally throwing the rest of it away. This results in a waste of food and money for you.
So knowing this, the obvious question is, what is the right amount of protein for you to eat in order to gain the most muscle without having to waste any of that awesome food? The general rule for protein consumption and muscle growth is a gram of protein per pound of bodyweight evenly spread in meals throughout the day. Here’s an example; a 90kg male would consume 200 grams of protein over 5 balanced meals containing 40 grams of protein each.
In doing this, you’re still able to consume the optimal amount of protein without overloading your digestive system and consistently feeding your body throughout the day. It’s a win-win.