By Bryan Kernan the author of Homemade Bodybuilding Supplements
There is no nutrient more important for muscles than protein. The body needs protein to build muscles, plain and simple. A good workout is important, but equally and perhaps more important is nutrition and rest. Once you’ve stressed the muscles with a good workout, they’ve got to repair and build. That means rest and nutrition. It takes time for your muscles to repair and build, so you need lots of good rest. There is no substitute for rest. And you have to provide your muscles with the proper nutrients for repair and growth, that’s protein.
Which Kind of protein?
There are various forms of protein. When evaluating what type of protein to consume, it is important to know some basics about protein. protein is made of amino acids and different forms of protein have different amounts of each amino acid. Our muscles need the amino acids in the right quantities to be useful. This would be considered the bioavailability of a protein. So if you consume a protein weak in glycine, then you’ll only be able to utilize the protein until the glycine is used up. The rest would be stored temporarily and would then become waste if the right balance of amino acids were unavailable for use. It is important to get protein from many different sources, this way your body can combine the amino acids of one source where another may fall short. There are many sources of protein. Looking at protein drinks, you’ll find the top 3 sources of protein are casein, soy, and whey.
Casein protein comes from milk and has been an old standby, it takes a little longer to digest and people with milk allergies tend to have difficulties with this protein. Still, this is the least expensive protein and it’s quite effective.
Soy protein comes from plants – it’s the vegetarian protein. This protein tends to lack many of the essential amino acids needed by the muscles. By itself, soy protein really isn’t the best source of protein for muscle repair and growth. Combined with casein protein or whey protein, soy will become much more effective.
Whey protein is another milk derivative protein, but generally speaking those with milk allergies can tolerate whey protein. Whey as a single source of protein is more bioavailable than any other protein sources. Whey protein is also easier & faster to digest and may also enhance one’s immune system. Whey protein is the best choice for any athlete trying to enhance their muscles. To find a protein with these sources blended would also be an excellent choice for any athlete.
How Much protein?
Most individuals find the best results when consuming a 1/2 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day (i.e. a 200 lb man needs about 100 grams of protein per day), this only holds true of someone stressing their muscles consistently. This formula ensures enough protein for the muscles to repair and grow, more than this may cause discomfort and stress on the kidneys.
- A note to steroid users: Though I do not promote the use of steroids, anyone using drugs to build muscle may actually benefit by exceeding these amounts of protein. In fact, steroid users will get better results by doubling these amounts.
And anyone who has experienced discomfort in taking protein needs to consider using digestive enzymes especially steroid users.
When to consume protein?
Ideally, one should consume about 20 grams of protein per meal. And the protein should be spread evenly throughout the day. Yes, this means 5 to 6 meals a day. You’ll get far more use of your food and supplementation by consuming smaller meals more frequently. If you consume more protein than this per meal without digestive enzymes, the excess will go to waste and can be difficult on the kidneys.
A Special protein Bonus
During the first hour following a workout, the body is in a different state of digestion. It is this period of time that you can absorb and utilize nearly 3 times more protein than normal. Making more protein available for the muscles to repair and build. It is important at this time to consume protein as a liquid. If you consume your protein through foods, your body will waste most of this precious time breaking down the protein and not getting the benefit of rapid absorbtion. Taking advantage of this window of opportunity will create better results than anything you can imagine.