There are two main driving forces in getting fuel to the muscles and using that fuel to build larger muscles: insulin and growth hormone (gH). And the good news is that we can modify our diet and workout to produce more of these hormones and get them to work together.
There are other hormones at work as well but you can’t change those amounts in your system (besides taking them artificially). A good example of these is testosterone.
This article will deal with nutritional/diet and exercise hints that exploit this ability to regulate our hormones and to get the most bang for our buck.
2.1 Protein This is one issue that always seems to pop up when people start think about putting on lean muscle mass : How much protein should I consume over a day and how much should I consume in one sitting and when should I intake it?
Alll are very valid questions and the research in these areas point to answers that are fairly different than the gym lore that is passed around. Basically, there are three things to consider when you’re looking at your protein intake :
What activities you are doing, what your body weight is and lastly what sex you are. (Yes… men and women need different amounts of proteins for muscle synthesis.)
This is one issue that always seems to pop up when people start think about putting on lean muscle mass : How much protein should I consume over a day and how much should I consume in one sitting and when should I intake it?
All are very valid questions and the research in these areas point to answers that are fairly different than the gym lore that is passed around.
Basically, there are three things to consider when you’re looking at your protein intake : What activities you are doing, what your body weight is and lastly what sex you are. (Yes… men and women need different amounts of proteins for muscle synthesis.) After you look at the above you’ll determine your daily protein intake in grams.
If you exceed this value you should realize that alot of this ‘extra’ protein is probably going towards fueling the body rather than building muscle and in some cases this excess intake might hamper your optimum muscle growth.
Male light activity ~0.8 g per kg, medium activity ~0.9-1.2 g per kg and heavy activity ~1.6-2.0 g per kg.
Female Since women have more growth hormone than men they retain their muscle proteins when they exercise. Thus women don’t need to replace this lost protein like men do. The average woman needs only ~0.8 g/kg because of this. This 0.8 grams is plenty to build more muscle.
Heavy activity will boost this slightly (~1 g/kg) but this is such an insignificant difference that most experts recommend a 0.8 g /kg protein requirement for women.
Now most avid bodybuilders will look at these numbers and say they’re too low. Almost all will give personal accounts that they didn’t gain mass until they upped their protein requirements far beyond this.
Nevertheless, the protein studies indicate these numbers (My references include about 3 of them.) and most indicate that a high protein diet (they tend to view anything above ~1g/kg regardless of activity level as a high protein diet.) should be required during mass building phase and that many of the test subjects gained better mass and strength levels if they lowered their protein levels once they start to plateau.
How much should you consume in one sitting? The body takes about 3 hours to digest protein. If there are carbs in your diet your body will ingest more protein than it would if you just took it straight. The reason for this is due to better intestinal motilty and the fact that the body tends to absorb proteins easier with carbs. So the amount you consume really depends where you want that protein to go… if you want it to go towards muscle building you’ll want to keep it below 20% of your carb intake, if you want it to go towards fueling your body and muscle growth about 50% of your carb intake and if you want to excrete it and use it for fuel anything higher will do.
This is why many people on high protein diets tend to comment about higher gas and increased time in the bathroom. The protein goes in and it comes out, literally.
So if you know your total protein requirements and calorie requirements what you want to do is eat a slightly higher protein to carb ratio prior to working out and falling asleep and a higher carb to protein ratio early in the morning.
So here’s a rough estimation of where your carbs and protein calories should be ingested (out of the total intake for that day.) :
Morning : Carbs: 25%, Proteins: 10% Pre-Workout: Carbs: 10%, Proteins: 25% After-Workout: Carbs: 10%, Proteins: 0% (higher glycemic indexed) Pre-Sleep: Carbs: 20%, Proteins: 25% 2 other meals: Carbs: 35%, Proteins: 40%
These are only a rough guide… things shouldn’t be exact. It just gives you a rough idea of how much of your dietary intake should go when and a general idea when you want to increase/lower your carbs and proteins.