While it may sound simple, the way your body absorbs and uses protein is complex and fascinating. And protein absorption has big implications for the way you structure your approach to nutrition.
Before your body can absorb protein, it must first travel from your stomach to your small intestine. “Gastric emptying” is the term for this process. Additionally, how long a protein stays in your stomach depends on the sort of protein you consumed.
For example, whey protein leaves your stomach about 4 times faster than casein protein. One study of lean, healthy young men found a gastric emptying rate of approximately 45 grams per hour after drinking whey protein. Adding carbs or fats significantly slows down the digestion of whey protein, but the same is not true of casein protein.
There has been much discussion over the years about how much protein can be digested and used from a single meal. A 2016 study found that 40 grams of whey protein in a recovery shake increased muscle-building by about 20% more compared to 20 grams of whey protein. Surprisingly, this finding was equally true for more-muscular and less-muscular study participants alike. Therefore, even while doubling your whey protein intake won’t increase the rate of muscle growth, doing so is still a smart idea if you want to gain muscle.
A more recent review suggests that to maximize anabolism, 0.4 grams of protein/kg body weight/meal is recommended, four times per day to reach the minimum suggested protein intake for muscle growth (1.5g of protein/kg). So a 200-pound adult (91kg) should eat 36 grams of protein per meal or at least 145 grams of protein per day.
What to Eat Before a Workout to Build Muscle?
If you train in the morning, you might want to experiment with a few different pre-workout breakfast options. See if consuming a combination of protein and simple carbohydrates improves your performance during exercise.
Great options include a sports drink with protein powder, chocolate milk, peanut butter toast, and yogurt with honey. If you’re finding eating too close to training causes nausea, try juice, sports gels and gummies, and other simple sugars.
What to Eat After a Workout to Build Muscle?
Your post-workout recuperation becomes much more crucial if you choose to exercise while fasting, especially in the morning. After a strength training session, try to consume roughly 30 grams of high-quality protein to give your muscles the amino acids they require to enhance MPS. Greek yogurt, protein bars, smoothies, and full meals are all excellent choices.
Muscle Gain Supplements
Supplement use is common on many muscle-building diets but is not required. More importantly, not all supplements are worth their weight or price tag, or 100% safe for that matter. Here is the breakdown of common muscle gain supplements and what the research supports.
Unlike other types of protein, Whey Protein has a 25% higher concentration of BCAAs, ie 3 essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine. They help to increase muscle mass, decrease muscle pain that occurs after training and reduce fatigue when exercising or fitness. In addition, Whey Protein is healthy for the body because it contains undenatured immuno-globulin (about 10%), which is good for the immune system.
Mix into your favorite fruit drink or smoothie, used in baked goods, puddings, etc., or mix directly with milk or water. Some studies suggest that milk protein is better than soy-based options in promoting muscle growth, but this is all relative to your overall training, diet, and nutrient timing.
Creatine, a substance found naturally in muscle cells, is also available in supplement form. Taking creatine can help draw more water and nutrients into your muscles acting as a beneficial post-workout supplement for muscle building.
Creatine is a supplement that has the effect of increasing muscle mass, increasing strength and decreasing recovery time. This supplement contains creatine monohydrate, which is considered to be far superior to other types. During high-intensity exercise, its main role is to increase the reserves of phosphocreatine, the type of creatine in the muscles, so that muscle tissue has more energy.
There are also some studies suggesting that including branch chain amino acids in post-workout nutrition might support more muscle growth because of the immediate availability of key amino acids used in muscle repair and protein synthesis.
However, BCAAs are not complete proteins and may not offer as significant of a benefit as including food-based options or whey protein instead.
Arginine is an essential amino acid that plays a vital role in the formation of proteins in the body. In its natural form, it can be found in many foods, such as red meat, chicken, fish or dairy products.
Arginine is also produced in the laboratory and can be used as a dietary supplement, both to increase muscle mass and strengthen the immune system, and to treat medical conditions.
It is commonly found in pre-workouts, coupled with some other ingredients, or as a single supplement. It has limited research to back up claims but remains popular in the fitness world.