Protein - The Foundation Of Building Muscle!

Protein is made up of amino acids which are the building blocks of muscle. I've put together details about the basic forms of protein and how they are important. Learn more.

Delivering your body a constant supply of Protein throughout the entire day is essential for optimum muscle growth. Protein is made up of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of your muscles and body. Without them, it would be impossible to build, repair or even maintain muscle tissue.

Protein is made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. Having a sufficient amount of protein will put you in a positive nitrogen balance, or an anabolic state. Being in an anabolic state will allow you to build muscle.

On the contrast, if you have a negative nitrogen balance you will be in a catabolic state. Your body actually fuels itself by breaking down your hard earned muscle for energy. So it is extremely important to get an ample amount of protein intake.

I have found that consuming approximately 30-40g of protein each meal throughout the day allows for complete recovery between workouts. This will ensure you have an adequate supply of protein without consuming a surplus of calories. Further, you will be an anabolic state all day long.

Dr. John Berardi, the founder of Science Link, Inc., has found that there is not enough data to draw definitive conclusions on how much protein can be absorbed at one time. What we do know is this. Protein digestion depends on a number of factors including the protein source, how the protein source was prepared, whether or not you are on any drugs that affect the GI tract, and probably a host of other factors.

Dr. Berardi goes on to question that if you eat a meal containing 30g of protein and 95% of the protein is digested and absorbed through the intestinal mucosa, does that mean if you ate less protein, 100% would have been absorbed and if you ate more protein only 90% would be absorbed? Not at all, he claims. If you ate less protein, the time this protein sits in the GI tract would be shorter and fewer enzymes would be released so you'd probably digest and absorb 95%. And if you ate more protein, the time that this protein sits in the GI tract would be longer and more enzymes would be released so you'd probably digest and absorb about 95% of the protein.

So his speculation is that digestion is more contingent upon other factors (as discussed above) than protein meal size. Regardless, from real world experience, it's clear that bodybuilders eating even 3-4g/kg do very well.

Your body needs all the necessary amino acids in order to build muscle. It can produce some of them on their own; the others have to be obtained from the foods we eat - these are called essential amino acids.

Protein Sources:

Some foods contain complete protein, meaning they provide all of the essential amino acids necessary to build muscle. These include:

However, even these foods contain different amounts of usable protein.

Soy protein for example is only utilized by the body at 61%. Fish, on the other hand, is utilized at 80%. So there is a difference in how much protein a food contains and how much can actually be used to build, repair and maintain muscle. Soy protein, however, is good for supporting healthy heart function and cholesterol levels. It is also extremely beneficial to women by maintaining healthy estrogen levels.

Whey protein has the highest biological value of the proteins, at 100%. This means it is absorbed completely by the body. For this reason, I recommend you have a protein drink after your workout. One that contains a pure whey protein concentrate and/or isolate. These protein sources are broken down easily and digested rapidly in the body.

Other protein drinks contain a combination of proteins or a blend. These protein drinks are not as quickly absorbed and stay with you longer. A good time to consume these would be in the morning or before bed so you have a steady release of amino acids. Whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, calcium caseinate, egg albumen and glutamine peptides are common in long acting protein powders and bars.

Bill Pearl & Vegetarian Protein Sources:

Bill Pearl was a legendary bodybuilder in the 60s and 70s. He was a vegetarian, so he was not able to consume complete protein sources. To overcome this, he had to find foods that could be eaten together in order to make them complete.

He had to combine incomplete protein in order to build muscle mass. By combining grains with food groups such as seeds, milk products, or legumes, he was able to obtain the essential amino acids his body needed to maximize usable protein. A nutritional guide can provide you with which of the eight essential amino acids are missing in any particular food.

Everyone that is striving to build and maintain muscle should consume about 1g - 1 1/2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. That means if you weigh 180 pounds, you should eat approximately 6 meals a day and consume 35g of protein each meal.

Kidney Health:

There has been some controversy as to if consuming high protein intake is detrimental to your kidneys. It has been proven that if you drink plenty of water while on a high protein diet, it will not be a risk to your health now or in the future.


In conclusion, find protein sources that are complete with all the essential amino acids. Consume 30-40g of protein every 2-3 hours throughout the day so you are in a positive nitrogen balance and anabolic state. Lastly, have a whey protein drink after your workout to build and repair muscle tissue - this will be easily absorbed and digested.

What Are BodySpace Members Taking?

What types of protein are members of BodySpace taking?

shavishiga - BodySpace

    • Goal: "I am training for the 2007 LA and USA Bodybuilding Championships."
    • Started: May 01, 2005
    • Reason: It mixes well. It tastes good. Has glutamine and some vits. The right protien : carb ratio.

Chizzad - BodySpace

    • Goal: "I want to Gain Muscle."
    • Started: Oct 11, 2006
    • Reason: Time to bulk up a little and add some mass. Tired of being weak and Small!

ashla - BodySpace

    • Goal: "I am striving for more muscle"
    • Started: Sep 01, 2005
    • Reason: I love this because of the added vitamins and my recovery is better while taking it.

BiologyBabe - BodySpace

    • Goal: "Cutting to 12% BodyFat"
    • Started: May 01, 2006