Hypertrophy is a complex topic, which is often simplified to ‘eat more protein’ and ‘lift heavier’. Which isn’t bad advice, but we know that in order to gain muscle (and keep it) there is more to consider. One of our recent articles on the impact of stress highlights this.
Today we are going to cover the importance of protein for hypertrophy, as inadequate protein intake is a common theme when members first come to The Fitness Collective.
Importance of Protein
Protein provides essential building blocks (amino acids) that help support muscle recovery and growth. When we resistance train and consume protein, we get an increase in something called muscle protein synthesis (MPS), which is essentially the synthesis or building of muscle.
But the body is also going through a state of muscle protein breakdown (MPB). In order for muscle growth to occur, we need muscle protein synthesis to exceed muscle protein breakdown, which can be done by creating a positive net protein balance by consuming enough quality protein
Muscle building is not an overnight wonder, it is something that takes time, and in order to develop muscle tissue we need a net positive protein balance over time.
In order to maximise muscle protein synthesis we need to be consuming enough protein, but also quality protein sources, and also be consuming protein every 3 – 5 hours.
At TFC we use 30g of protein per meal as a general guideline (getting more specific where we need to), or 1 – 2 palms of a protein based food. Depending on a member’s meal structure we may opt for a few protein based snacks in addition to their main meals, or if they eat frequent meals we may be getting enough within those meals. This way we are giving that stimulus for muscle protein synthesis more frequently, and getting a net positive balance in the overall MPS vs MPB ratio.
One thing we also need to mention here is Leucine, Leucine is an amino acid (essentially a building block of protein). Leucine is the main amino acid that is needed for muscle protein synthesis to occur, so ensuring we are getting both enough protein per serving (and total protein over the course of the day), and quality sources of protein is important, if muscle gain is your goal.
This month’s seminar is based around muscle building, and more specifically the nutrition and lifestyle factors that we can work to improve for our members to achieve their goals.