How does protein help build muscle?

Protein is the most common and easily attainable muscle-building supplement and the one that has been used for the longest period of time, weather in the form of meat, eggs or supplements. When you eat protein, it’s broken into amino acids. Amino acids in turn are used to repair and grow new muscle fibers. They build muscle.  In addition, an adequate protein intake, creates a positive nitrogen balance. This directs your body to an anabolic, or muscle-building state.

Ultimately, protein can help you build muscle when combined with regular physical activity.

Here’s a figure that’s relevant to the athlete: a protein intake of 0.45g per lb of body weight can result in a negative nitrogen balance  and a negative nitrogen balance indicates not enough protein for muscle gains. The same study found that protein intakes above 1.2 grams per pound of bodyweight provided no additional muscle building benefits.

Ultimately, the right amount of protein can help you build muscle. You should be able to get about a gram per pound of protein from your normal diet. If you’re having trouble getting that, a protein powder supplement could be exactly what you’re looking for.

With so many protein powders out there, what should I use?

We understand. It can be very confusing when trying to choose a protein powder. Varieties include: whey, casein, soy, rice, hemp, egg, and yes, even pea protein. Remember some are better for building muscle than others. Here are a few tips for choosing a protein supplement:

Tip 1: Whey-casein protein blend: Whey-casein protein blends appear to be the best for building muscle. However if you’re lactose intolerant you may need a different type of protein. Try a pure plant based product with no added dairy ingredients.

Tip 2: Always try to eat after exercise and not before: Try to eating protein and carbohydrates within 2 hours after your workout. Even sooner if you plan to exercise again the same day.

Tip 3: Avoid protein supplements with too many ingredients: Some high priced supplements include too many ingredients like, fat loss boosters, testosterone additives, or a long list of unpronounceable ingredients. Mixing multiple ingredients is called “stacking”. It’s usually a waste of money and sometimes even risky.

What Is Creatine?

Along with protein, creatine is one of most popular muscle building supplements available. It’s a naturally occurring amino acid made in the human liver. You can also find creatine in meat proteins and creatine-based supplements. It’s stored in muscles and used as energy during high intensity activities like weight lifting.

Because it’s triggered during intense outbursts of energy, like when you exercise, creatine helps build muscle. Imagine you can bench press your body weight 10 times without extra creatine in your diet. Now imagine how added creatine, from a muscle building supplement for example, might enable you to bench press the same weight 12 times. It might not seem like a lot, but every little edge helps you build muscle.

Does creatine work for building muscles? It’s not magic. You will still need to train, exercise and stay active. But creatine, combined with a regular workout routine, can dramatically improve results for some people.

Using Creatine

Tip 1: Start high then decrease: Try an initial load creatine, about 20g per day for seven days.  Then decrease to 5 grams a day, especially during your exercise or workouts.

Tip 2: Take with carbs: Creatine will be much better absorbed if you combine your intake with starchy, carb-rich foods.

Tip 3: Try cycling: Creatine cycling can help improve performance and effect. Try taking creatine for several weeks during workouts and then quit taking it when your activity level goes down.

Ultimately, protein and creatine supplements can help build muscle in most people,  but you still have to put in the time. Like any other dietary supplement, these ingredients work together when you work hard. By themselves, the won’t change your physique much.




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