Go to any fitness and bodybuilding website and scroll through the articles, and you’ll find hundreds or even thousands talking about the importance of eating protein. Protein is a buzzword of sorts for the fitness community, as it is directly linked to building muscle.
However, the current approach to protein consumption may have things all wrong. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, the amount of protein may not be as important as WHEN you eat it!
When, not How Much
Athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness nuts have had it drilled into them that more protein is the solution to bigger muscles. After all, without protein, the muscle tissue you have damaged during your workout cannot be repaired.
By eating more protein, you give your muscles the amino acids needed to expand the muscle storage capacity, thereby storing more glycogen and ATP. When you lift or strain, your muscles use that energy. The more energy that is stored there, the more “power” your muscles have.
But what if you’ve been going about it all wrong? What if you have been eating more protein than you need but seeing less results than you’d like?
The study, published back in 2014, examined the effects of protein on 8 men and women between the ages of 36 and 42. They were given a 7-day meal plan, took a 30-day break from the diets, then given a second 7-day meal plan.
The first meal plan involved an even amount of protein spread throughout the meals. Each meal had roughly the same amount of protein (around 30 grams of protein per meal), ensuring a steady delivery throughout the day.
The second meal plan involved a skewed amount of protein throughout the meals. For the average American, breakfast tends to be carb-heavy, while dinner is the meal that contains the most protein. For the second meal plan, dieters were given 10, 16, and 63 grams of protein at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, respectively.
The results might surprise you: the balanced meal plan showed a 25% higher efficiency rate than the skewed meal plan! The rate of protein synthesis inside the body was about 25% greater during the first meal plan than with the second.
What does this mean? Simple: if you want to ensure the maximum muscle growth and development, you need to eat roughly the same amount of protein at every meal.
A lot of people have the habit of having a light breakfast, taking it easy at lunch time, and having a big dinner (after a heavy workout). As this study proves, this is NOT the way to go. You may see results for your eating habits, but not the same amount of results you would get if you consumed an even amount of protein at every meal.
This may seem like a big lifestyle change, and it can be! The truth is that most people have a hard time starting the day with a large amount of protein, but if you are trying to build muscle, it’s worth making the change!
By adding more protein to the beginning of your day, you’ll get a steady stream of amino acids throughout the day, ensuring that your body has what it needs to build muscle. It will help you to see the best results from your diet and workout.