How Much Protein to Gain Mass and Strength?
The protein requirements when you practice bodybuilding are twice the recommended intake for a sedentary, especially after 40 years.
Bodybuilding has many health benefits, since it helps to stay slim and fight diabetes. But if you want to gain weight and strength, you have to consume enough protein. According to the results of a new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine these needs go beyond the recommended intake, especially after 40 years.
Why it’s important
The muscles consist mainly of proteins. When we do weight training, we strain our muscles and cause tiny damage to the muscle tissue that then needs new food proteins to repair. This repair involves a cellular process that leads to an increase in the contractile proteins (actin and myosin) and the number of sarcomeres, the filaments that fill the muscle fibers. This increases the diameter of the individual fibers and leads to muscle hypertrophy.
That’s why fitness enthusiasts often use protein-enriched drinks or supplements to support the growth of muscle mass. Studies show that in general, increase its protein intake allows an increase in muscle mass and a significant decrease in fat, including abdominal. It remains to be seen how much protein is needed.
What the researchers found
Many previous studies on the subject have focused on one type of protein or a specific population. In this new study, the researchers grouped together studies on the relationship between bodybuilding and protein intake. They considered 49 studies that lasted at least 6 weeks, with control groups, protein intake and various populations.
The results clearly show that you need to consume a lot of protein to increase muscle volume and strength. Thus, men and women who consumed more protein gained an additional 10% in muscle strength and 25% in muscle mass compared to control groups.
According to the results of the study, the ideal amount of protein is about 1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. That’s about 130 grams of protein for a man weighing 80 kilograms. Well beyond recommendations for the general population that are around 0.8 grams / kg of body weight. Some authors advise 2 to 3 grams of protein per kilo of weight, but consuming more than 1.6 g / kg would not bring additional benefits on muscle mass and strength. All proteins are likely to be effective. Thus, chicken, beef, yoghurt, quinoa, soya etc. can help develop muscle mass. Proteins are not only present in products of animal origin. Vegetarians and vegans also have good quality protein at their disposal. Finally, no matter when protein is consumed, before or after training, the results are the same. You can supplement your diet with protein in the form of food supplements such as whey (whey protein), or soy protein and rice.
Note that the researchers found that these tips to eat enough protein were particularly suitable for people over 40 who did not consume enough protein and therefore did not get enough of the benefits of bodybuilding.