Alright, if you know ANYTHING about muscle building nutrition, you probably know that protein is the most important nutrient! Sure, you need to get your carbs and fats right in order to have the energy to train hard, but the protein should still be the main event in your diet.
A good way to think about your nutrition is to think of your body as a “builder,” and the protein you give it as “bricks.” Your body can be a damn efficient builder, but without enough protein “bricks,” it can’t build muscle! Likewise, you might think of carbs and fats as mortar or glue. You need just the right amount to build your body bigger and stronger, but too much, and you end up with a sloppy mess – body fat gains!
Anyway, you’re probably wondering just how much protein you actually need to build muscle. You want the best results possible, but protein-packed foods are expensive! Plus, the more meat, poultry, and eggs you’ve got to eat, the more time you’ve got to devote to prep, cooking, and cleaning.
You’ve got nutritionists out there who will rabidly claim your body can only digest “X” amount of protein every “Y” hours or days. Some people will claim that anymore than twenty or thirty grams of protein every four to five hours is overdoing it, and others will even state that more than a hundred or so grams per day is WAY more than enough.
On the other hand, you’ve got some seriously hardcore (and maybe a little crazy) bodybuilders claiming that you need in excess of two grams per pound of bodyweight PER DAY to grow optimally. That would mean four hundred grams of protein just for a two hundred pound lifter! All that protein would certainly provide some extra calories for growth, but your body is probably not putting all of those amino acids to work just for rebuilding muscle tissue.
For most hard-training weight lifters, the answer is a happy medium between these two extremes. A good, simple baseline number is one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. This means a two hundred pound lifter would get two hundred grams of protein per day, spread out over his daily meals according to his specific dietary plan.
However, the kicker here is that you DO NOT count “incidental” amounts of protein from foods which primarily contain starches or fats. Sure grains, nuts, and seeds have some protein in them, but that protein does not count toward your daily totals! Plant-based protein sources like that typically do not contain all of the essential amino acids. In our muscle-building terminology, that means those proteins might as well be chipped, cracked, and useless “bricks!”
Now, where you should you get all of this protein? Animal products! Sorry vegans, but a proper bodybuilding diet is rich in animal protein. The best foods include meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. Basically, if a food had a face or was going to have a face, it’s got high-quality, muscle-building protein! Strive to get as much of your protein as possible from these whole food sources. Oh, and a good rule of thumb for figuring out the numbers is that one ounce of any raw meat, as well as one large egg, has about six grams of protein.
Of course, sometimes our schedules and budgets put us into a bind where we need something a little cheaper and more convenient. That’s where a quality protein powder comes into play in your muscle building diet. With all of the quality powders on the market these days, there is really NEVER an excuse for not having protein at hand when you need it.
Though there are a large variety of protein powders, as well, you should focus almost exclusively on WHEY protein. It contains tons of protein (usually around 20-25 grams per scoop), has very little fat or carbohydrate, and can taste great when properly combined with artificial or natural sweeteners. When you pick your brand of whey protein, go for one that mixes well, tastes good enough to consume for the long haul, and isn’t too expensive. Any more than seven or eight dollars per pound, and you’re probably paying too much.
Artcile by Sixpackfactory Muscle Building Expert and Top Fitness Model Justin Woltering. Get more info on Justin at: http://www.justinwoltering.com/
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