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The Importance of Protein in Building Muscle
Let’s face it, every day we exist, we are up against a powerful foe.
That foe is gravity.
Gravity giveth and it certainly taketh away from our precious and hard earned muscle mass.
Each day, week, month and year we age, we loss muscle mass because of this tough adversary that is gravity and aging.
One way to combat this daily loss of muscle mass is to strength train regularly. We’ve covered the importance of that in this article.
The way to compound that muscle mass from strength training is to add sufficient protein intake to the equation.
Protein = building blocks of muscles.
Protein makes up every enzyme in our body.
Sufficient protein intake is the key to maintaining and increasing our muscle mass when combined with regular strength training.
In the pursuit of more health and fitness, the combination of proper nutrition and effective training is key.
When it comes to achieving strength gains and maximizing performance, no duo is more potent than sufficient protein intake and strength training.
Check out these remarkable benefits that come with fueling your body with adequate protein while also regularly adding in strength training:
#1. Building Lean Muscle Mass
One of the primary benefits of sufficient protein intake and strength training is the ability to build lean muscle mass. Protein is the building block of muscles, providing the essential amino acids necessary for tissue repair and growth. When combined with strength training the body responds by adapting and building new muscle fibers, leading to increased strength and improved body composition. BOOM!
#2. Enhanced Recovery and Tissue Repair
Strength training and CrossFit workouts place stress on your muscles, resulting in microscopic damage. Protein plays a vital role in the recovery and repair process. By consuming enough protein, you provide your body with the necessary amino acids to rebuild and restore damaged muscle tissue. This leads to faster recovery, reduced muscle soreness, and improved overall performance.
#3. Increased Strength and Power
Protein intake, combined with strength training can significantly enhance your strength and power capabilities. As you challenge your muscles through resistance exercises, the body adapts by recruiting more muscle fibers and increasing their size and strength. Protein acts as the fuel for these adaptations, providing the necessary nutrients to support muscle growth and increased strength, enabling you to conquer new personal bests and to be even more awesome!
#4. Fat Loss and Improved Body Composition
If your goal is to reduce fat and improve your body composition, the combination of protein intake and strength training is a potent combo. Protein has a high thermic effect, meaning it requires more energy to digest, metabolize, and utilize compared to other macronutrients. This increased energy expenditure, coupled with the muscle-building effects of strength training, creates a favorable environment for fat loss, helping you achieve a leaner, more sculpted physique.
#5. Metabolic Boost
Adequate protein intake, combined with regular strength training or CrossFit, can also rev up your metabolism. Muscle tissue is metabolically active, meaning it burns more calories at rest compared to fat tissue. By building and preserving lean muscle mass through strength training and CrossFit, you increase your basal metabolic rate, enabling you to burn more calories throughout the day, even when you’re not exercising.
How to get more protein in your life:
A great goal to shoot for when it comes to protein intake is .8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight from a variety of sources.
Ex: A 100lbs male should shoot for 80 grams of protein spread throughout the day with your meals and snacks.
Here are some tips for getting more protein in your life:
#1. Get your protein from whole food sources first.
Ex: Animal and plant sources. Supplements should come after your whole food sources have been eaten.
#2. Eat more of the lighter options of protein before the darker options.
Ex: Seafood, fish, chicken, turkey, leaner options of pork more than steak, hamburger and fattier options.
#3. Try to get a serving of protein with every feeding opportunity.
A serving size of protein is roughly the size of a closed fist, deck of cards or 4-6oz of chicken breast or other form of protein.
#4. Meal prep your proteins 1-2x a week.
Proteins usually take the longest to prepare. Cook extra protein on a Sunday or Wednesday night and re-purpose those proteins for lunches or other dinner recipes throughout the week.
#5. Supplement with a protein supplement after you’ve gotten some whole food sources of protein.
#6. Add 10-20 grams of protein pre and post workout.
The protein you take in before you workout aids in post workout recovery, the protein you take in post workout aids in recovery 2-4 hours after you workout, both are important.
#7. Protein powders, bars and pouches are a convenient way to get more protein in around your workouts.
#8. Stick with a protein supplement that has a whey protein hydrolysate or isolate.
These are easiest to digest and will be utilized the most in your body.
#9. Avoid protein powders and bars with whey concentrates as the main source of protein.
These aren’t easy to digest and aren’t utilized as much in the body.
#10. Avoid powders and bars with more than 5 ingredients, especially ones you can’t pronounce.
#11. Avoid powders and bars with added sugars and artificial sweeteners.
We carry Ascent Protein at Fit2Live for this reason, pure and clean protein with no added fillers, and it tastes great!
We also have clean and healthy protein bar options in Rx Bars and Atlas Bars. Don’t forget the easy to digest and yummy Fuel for Fire Pouches, another great option for protein pre, intra and post workout.
#12. Animal/complete protein sources are the most effective in maintaining muscle.
#13. Incomplete protein sources also play a role in our diet and can still benefit in building muscle (also a good choice if you are Vegan). Nuts, seeds and legumes.
#14. Add a handful of nuts or nut butter as an on the go snack.
Keep them to a handful as they are calorically dense.
#15. Start your day off with some protein!
Having trouble making protein a priority in your life?
Need a Coach to help you troubleshoot?
Schedule a free nutrition intro with Coach EJ to see if Nutrition and Wellness Coaching can help you!
Next Up: All about hydration!