How Does Protein Build Muscle?

Alright viewers it’s time to hit the gym.
And if you’re trying to bulk up, you know you need protein to help build muscle. But
how does that work? How much protein do you need? How much is too much? Ahhh it’s all
so confusing! First things first, there’s three different
types of muscles; skeletal, cardiac and smooth. We’ll be talking about skeletal muscles.
You know, biceps, triceps, quads, and so on. They’re the most adaptable tissues in the
human body and can be molded through working out or … by sitting on the couch. The way you can build muscles is by … well,
damaging them. Not real damage, like a major tear that will keep you on the sidelines.
When you do intense exercise like resistance training, little microtears occur in your
muscles that need to be repaired. But before we talk about repair, we need to
talk protein. Proteins are essential because they are made of amino acids, which are responsible
for most of the reactions and processes in living cells. Your main source of amino acids
is through proteins in your diet. Foods like meat, fish, eggs, and seitan are chockful
of amino acids, some more so than others. After you eat protein, your body breaks it
down into it’s amino acid parts. Which brings us back to your damaged muscles. The damage causes your body to string together
amino acids into new proteins to repair the microtears. The damage also activates satellite
cells, which are kind of like stem cells. The satellite cells flood the damaged area
where they multiply, and fuse onto the muscle fibers to repair the strand and make it bigger
and stronger. So here’s where your swole comes in. Muscle
growth only occurs when you have enough amino acids to repair all the microtears, plus some
extra left over. The extra amino acids can be used for further muscle growth, bulking
you up. But if you don’t have enough amino acids,
your muscles won’t heal, you won’t bulk up, and you’ll be more prone to injuries
and muscle loss. To prevent that, you need to eat enough protein.
So how much protein is that, you ask? Well it’s all relative. Gender, body size, body
composition, age, and hormone levels all determine how much protein you need. Someone with a
more muscular body that is pumping heavier iron will use more protein than someone who
is smaller and just starting to work out. Women don’t gain muscle nearly as fast as
men, because more testosterone means more muscle. But don’t start taking T just to
bulk up. There can be serious consequences. It is recommended that you eat 0.8 grams of
protein per kilogram of body weight to maintain muscle. For a 175 pound person, that would
be 63 grams of protein per day. Not bad. However, some dietitians recommend up to 1.8 grams
per kilogram of body weight for athletes. Think Michael Phelps or Cam Newton. At 1.8g/kg, that 175 pound person would need
to consume 143g of protein per day. Now THAT’s a lot of protein. To get 143 grams of protein
you’d need to eat 24 eggs, or 4 chicken breasts or around 6 scoops of protein powder.
This is why some athletes drink protein supplements. It gives them a lot of protein without having
to eat as many calories. Still, it doesn’t have nutrients like vitamins, fiber, minerals
and so on. So don’t depend on them completely. But when should you eat your protein? One
study suggests that for young men, protein’s benefits max out at 20 grams after a workout.
With that said, everyone’s different and there’s a lot of conflicting research out
there. But you can’t just eat a whole bunch of protein and expect to hulk out. In fact,
excess protein is metabolized into glucose and used for energy or stored as fat. So when
you’re trying to bulk up, make sure to consult a specialist to get your protein consumption
right. Have any science-backed workout tips that
you swear by? Let us know in the comments. And hey, thanks for watching.

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