Most beginners, when entering the world of “building the perfect physique” for the first time, put their emphasis on high protein diets. Yes, we are talking about proteins with high biological value that have an ideal amino acid profile for absorption, such as meat (white, brown, red), eggs, cheese, fish. This emphasis is somewhat correct, but high protein intake is absolutely not the only and most important factor for progress!
Let’s not forget that a “moderately” high protein intake, a well-balanced carbohydrate and fats intake is necessary for the nutritional equation to be effective. Certainly, if some of the other nutrients are not in balance, alternative metabolic pathways are involved, e.g. if there are not enough carbohydrates, gluconeogenesis is involved where glucose (the basic energy source of our body) is created from the “precious” amino acids.
So our body’s priority is not and will never be building muscle mass , ie. the amino acids from the digested protein will never go into the muscle cells first!
No, the “energy balance” (glycogenogenesis) always comes first, as well as the “more important” proteins of our body – enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, transport proteins (eg hemoglobin)… So our body’s goal is, first and foremost, to survive and provide itself with sufficient amino acids for survival. Building muscle comes last on the list actually.
Let us not forget that a resistance workout is the main stimulus for muscle growth, not protein intake, as some trainees believe.
A very important factor in building muscle is the amount of protein we consume according to the percentage of muscle mass we carry, the degree and type of activity that our body undergoes. Ask yourself who needs more protein – a person weighting 200lbs with 20-25 percent of body fat, who is not physically active or a 200lbs person, who is regularly physically active with a “moderate” percentage of body fat (10-15%) and a significant amount of muscle. So, there are certainly differences!
Quotes from some beginners are also interesting, e.g. ” Jay Cuttler said that he was ingesting 300 grams of protein a day during his bulking phase .” Some trainees even blindly put it into action at any cost, and have neglected the above points!
Individuals expect extremely high protein intake to produce results overnight. Unfortunately, gaining muscle mass and strength requires months, years, even decades spent following a balanced diet, a well-designed workout plan, enough rest (night sleep, rest timing between two workouts), basic supplementation, and of course good health (… hormonal balance) !!!
There are also those who irrationally abuse supplements in order to “rush” to that (too) high protein intake that will supposedly bring them results. Going back to professional bodybuilding, let’s take an example of an IFBB pro – a 250lbs “stage weight” competitor, whose basic diet is often not enough to provide them enough protein, so only then does he resort to supplements.
For beginners who don’t have strong self-discipline, notorious “loading” with protein supplements is unnecessary as well as extremely unprofitable! Some find it difficult to eat 4 quality meals, and they forget that supplements will not bring them all those ingredients that the basic diet abounds in – vitamins, minerals, etc.!