With protein, it’s possible to feel full, satisfied, and not grumpy while burning fat! Eating a high-protein diet is an extremely effective way to build muscle mass in conjunction with strength training. And the right dose of protein at the right time can help you lose fat, so you can bulk up and cut up at the same time!
This article will continue our previous blog post with tips 5-8 for using protein to achieve that hard-sought-after optimal body composition.
#5: Whey is the Best Protein Source for Post-Workout Recovery.
Whey protein is your best option when trying to lose fat and build muscle for a few reasons. First, whey is the highest quality of protein in that it provides a larger array of amino acids in higher concentrations than other protein sources, so your body has more to work with. It triggers muscle building to a greater degree than both casein and soy.
Second, as convenient as protein powders are, if the goal is fat loss, only use whey protein after training, and eat high-protein foods (meat!) for all meals. A whole-food meal can increase energy expenditure by as much as 50 percent more than a processed meal while moderating insulin and blood sugar favorably.
If you are already lean and your goal is to pack on muscle mass, you may want to try dosing with at least 20 grams of whey every 3 hours on training days because this has been shown to optimally rebuild muscle tissue after training.
Third, whey supports immune function because it raises your levels of the most important antioxidant, glutathione. Surveys show that a stronger immune system is associated with greater gains in muscle. Avoid soy because it may alter hormone levels due to the phytoestrogens it contains.
#6: Get Extra Leucine, Especially if You’re Older.
Getting extra leucine in addition to weight training can equalize the muscle building response to training between old and young trainees. This is critically important because you experience a significant decrease in muscle building as you age. Leucine triggers a muscle-building pathway called mTOR. In older individuals this pathway is only triggered if a large amount of leucine is present in the body.
#7: Eat Protein Frequently for Sustained Muscle Development.
There’s a myth in the protein supplement world that people should only take a certain dose of protein for muscle building because the body can’t process more than that. This is not true.
It is true that there appears to be a threshold dose that needs to be reached (around 25 grams of whey, supplying at least 10 grams of EAAs) to significantly enhance muscle building. Beyond that dose, increases in muscle building may not reach statistical significance, but that doesn’t mean that the body can’t “use” the protein or that you won’t experience an even greater increase in metabolic rate as the body digests the amino acids.
It’s well established that the greatest body composition changes will be achieved by eating 5 or 6 moderately-sized regular meals of intact protein in the form of meat (in the range of 4 oz.) rather than fewer large meals (such as a 12 oz. steak).
#8: Periodize Your Protein Dose and Rotate Dietary Protein Source.
Perhaps the most interesting new research on muscle building and protein is the “protein change” theory that shows that the most strength and muscle is gained when participants increase protein by more than 50 percent over what they normally consumed. Of course, you can’t just keep continually increasing your protein intake indefinitely! You can mimic this change, though, by rotating your whole-food protein source as much as possible and eating a wide variety of meats and nuts.