Ask any bodybuilder who has had substantial success in improving their physiques what the single most important macronutrient they eat is, and you can bet they say protein.
True enough, overall calories are king, and carbs and healthy fats also play very important roles, but in this article we’ll explore protein and why it’s so important you eat the correct type, when the best times to eat it are, and in what quantities.
Firstly, protein is such an important macronutrient because it’s proven that increasing protein intake supports the repair, and growth of muscles by keeping the body in an anabolic state. A sufficient amount of protein seems to be between 1 – 2g of protein per lb of bodyweight, daily. It’s perfectly possible to put on muscle mass without eating so much protein, but the process is undoubtedly slower.
Muscles are made up largely of protein, and when a muscle is broken down, the first thing the body does is to seek to repair it, and, naturally, the most convenient way to repair the muscles is by having continually raised protein levels in your blood stream, so your body can begin the repair work right away.
Protein is essential for muscle repair, and if the body is severely lacking protein, you run the risk of losing muscle mass.
It’s recommended that you eat 6 meals per day, one every 3 hours, ensuring you have your daily protein intake divided by those meals. The best protein sources are: eggs, whey, milk, beef, fish, chicken and cheese and nuts.
Another major benefit of high protein is, this means you can consume less carbs. Carbs are good, and they have their place, but too many carbs will lead to excessive fat gains, as excesses are stored as fat very quickly, which is disastrous because it means you’ll eventually have to take substantial time just to lose the fat.
Protein, on the other hand, helps to promote lean muscle gains.