» Section 1:
Intro & The History Of Protein.
» Section 2: Protein & The Amino Acid Connection.
» Section 3: Benefits Of Protein For Athletes.
» Section 4: Comparing Different Protein Sources.
» Section 5: Building Muscle Using Protein.
» Section 6: The Value Of Protein Supplements.
» Section 7: Protein Supplements & Protein Food Sources.
» Section 8: Protein Timing For The Bodybuilder.
» Section 9: Conclusion.
» Section 10: Final Quiz.
5. Building Muscle Through Proper Protein Balance.
Building muscle is about protein balance. If you make more muscle protein than you break down (positive muscle protein balance), your muscles will increase in size and strength (slowly, but with time).
Conversely, if you make less muscle protein than you break down (negative protein balance), your muscles will tend to get weaker and smaller. Thus, a positive protein balance indicates an anabolic state. Since protein contains nitrogen, protein balance can be estimated by measuring nitrogen balance.
Nitrogen balance represents the difference between the amount of nitrogen you consume, and the amount of nitrogen you excrete and therefore an accurate indicator as to whether you are consuming enough protein. There are three states that the body can be in:
1. Positive Nitrogen Balance:
This state is the state that every body builder wants to maintain. Positive nitrogen balance, where nitrogen intake is greater than nitrogen output, is the best state to be in for optimal muscle synthesis. The greater the nitrogen balance, the faster is workout recovery, and the more opportunity for growth. This is the body's most anabolic state.
2. Nitrogen Balance:
Where nitrogen intake and loss are equal. Balance in this case is not ideal, but not the worst scenario. It is not ideal because in this state muscle synthesis is not optimized.
3. Negative Nitrogen Balance:
Negative nitrogen balance, where nitrogen loss is greater than nitrogen intake, is the worst state for the body to be in. It can cause serious health consequences if this state does not change.
Even in the short term this state is not desirable because nitrogen drawn away from muscle, and from vital organs and other protein containing compounds (such as needed enzymes, and antibodies which are needed to fight infection). A negative nitrogen balance state does not allow for any muscular growth, and will actually catabolize muscle; hence why it is referred to as a catabolic state.
Nitrogen balance is measured by measuring nitrogen excretion (which is correlated to the amount of protein being eliminated from the body over a 24-hour period. It is usually done through a laboratory. There are also urinalysis test strips that are commercially available (though not as accurate they can give a fairly accurate picture).
- Consume adequate amounts of complete. This can be done through diet and through the incorporation of high quality protein supplements.
- Eat several small protein meals coupled with minimal amounts of high quality carbohydrates throughout the day to aid in transport and utilization.
- Avoid consuming low biological value proteins/poor quality proteins (most vegetables for example) that lack an optimal balance of the essential amino-acids.
- Eat sufficient amounts of low glycemic carbohydrates and "good" fats.
Consume a liquid meal containing protein and carbohydrates immediately following training to saturate the muscles with amino-acids, and enhance protein synthesis.
Studies show that during this time the body is in an increased anabolic state and can retain more protein through more efficient utilization/absorption.
- Directly before bed, consume a drink containing both whey and a slow release protein like micellar casein. The combination of these proteins will result in a slow steady release of amino acids during the fasting period.
- Do not overtrain. If training sessions are too frequent, protein might be used to fuel training efforts. If this occurs nitrogen balance will be reduced. If training continues, a negative nitrogen balance could arise causing a catabolic state.
- Train in a manner which stimulates the greatest amount of fibers with the least amount of muscle break-down. Studies show that such training creates an optimal an anabolic state and a positive nitrogen balance. Short intense training sessions using multiple movements, multiple angles, and varying speeds are good methods for achieving this state.
Bottom Line: workouts should be kept short and intense - training duration between 45 - 60 minutes long, with sufficient rest for optimal recovery. Natural and older bodybuilders should closely monitor their need for recovery.
- Add high quality Protein Supplements into your plan as needed to maintain a positive nitrogen balance.
Studies have also shown that an insufficient amount of carbohydrate and fat within the diet will result in a less than optimal nitrogen balance state. How?
Because when there is an insufficient amount of carbohydrate and fat the body may metabolize protein for energy purposes. When this state occurs valuable amino acids needed for muscular growth are metabolized and used by vital organs creating a negative nitrogen state.
Plasma amino-acid levels are also affected by dietary carbohydrate through the action of insulin, which lowers plasma amino-acid levels (particularly the branched-chain amino acids) by promoting their entry into the muscle.
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