Have you ever considered how your body turns a forkful of chicken breast during lunch into bigger, stronger muscles?
Without that knowledge, you’d fail to appreciate the importance of hitting your daily protein intake requirement – which is anywhere between 1.6 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body mass.
Well, no more. This article is here to demystify just how eating protein helps your muscles grow.
Repairs damaged muscle tissues after exercise
When you lift weights, you're essentially causing microscopic tears in your muscles. Scary as it sounds, the truth is that this signals your body to direct resources that'll repair (or replace) damaged muscle fibres. Now, guess what these resources include? That's right: protein because it's made up of amino acids, the building blocks of muscle fibres.
In essence, your body's effort to repair damaged muscle fibres – through supplying 'healing' resources, like protein – often leads to an increase in the fibres' cross-sectional area. As a result, your muscles get bigger (i.e. muscle growth!)
Directly stimulates muscle protein synthesis
Protein – in and of itself – can directly stimulate muscle protein synthesis (MPS). Research consistently shows that protein's effect on MPS is so powerful that even people who don't lift weights can gain muscle mass by increasing their protein intake. The primary essential amino acid responsible for this appears to be leucine, an essential amino acid shown in several studies to be the most potent amino acid at stimulating MPS.
Don’t be so quick to skip out on your gym sessions, though! There is an upper limit to just how much protein can spike your MPS levels by itself. Given how energy-intensive muscle mass maintenance is, your body wouldn’t synthesise excess muscle mass for no reason. That’s why you should combine resistance training with an adequate protein intake that’s appropriately spaced out over the day; doing so elevates your potential for muscle growth by giving your body an actual reason to build (more) muscle.
Helps you stick to your planned calorie intake
Research suggests that building muscle may be more challenging if you have a high body fat percentage, thanks to insulin resistance. For instance: researchers in a 2000 study – published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences – put lean and obese people on a high-calorie diet to promote weight gain. Although both groups ate the same foods, the lean individuals put on an average of 65% lean body mass, while the obese group only gained an average of 35% lean body mass! That's a huge difference for sure … but what does it have to do with you?
Well, since your body puts on muscle less effectively when you carry excess body fat, it’ll only be logical for you to decrease your body fat percentage. And you can do that by sticking to a calorie deficit. This is where protein comes in. As one of the most highly-satiating macronutrients, eating adequate protein can help modulate your food intake over the day – making it easier for you to lose body fat. In turn, increasing your body’s muscle-building effectiveness.
Struggling to hit your daily protein intake?
As mentioned earlier, your target daily protein intake requirement ranges between 1.6 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body mass. So, if you weigh 60 kg? That’ll translate to 96 to 132 grams of protein in a single day. For reference: 100 grams of chicken breast only provides you with 31 grams of protein. Imaginably, hitting your daily protein intake requirement is pretty challenging – especially when you don’t have the time to meal-prep.
Thankfully, Lean Blend’s Protein Water makes it easy for you to stay on top of your protein needs. It's light, refreshing, clump-free, and, best of all … downright convenient. Getting in enough protein shouldn't be a chore – and Lean Blend makes sure it’s as pleasant experience, through and through.