How to Time Your Protein Intake to Build Muscle?
A lot of people are confused about how much protein they need to build muscle. There are many opinions on this topic. Some say that you don’t need any protein at all while others say that you should consume 1g/kg bodyweight every day.
What does it mean exactly?
Well, if your weight is 100 kg then you would require 1000 calories per day just from food alone (assuming no exercise). If you were a woman, then you would require 2000 calories per day. You could get by with less than 1000 calories per day but it wouldn’t be enough to build muscle.
So what is the best way to eat so that you can build muscle?
Well, there are two ways:
1) You can follow the “Protein Shake” approach which involves consuming large amounts of protein in one go.
2) You can follow the “Protein Smoothie” approach which involves consuming small amounts of protein in one go.
The Protein Shake Approach to Building Muscle
If you want to build muscle, then you have to consume a lot of protein in order to build up your muscles. The problem is that most people tend not to consume enough protein when they are training because they think that it will make them fat or feel bloated afterwards. However, this isn’t true!
If you’re trying to lose weight, then you should consume 0.8 g/kg of body weight, but if you’re trying to gain weight, then you should consume 1.5 g/kg of body weight. Let’s say that you weigh 100 kg and want to gain muscle. You would need to consume 150 grams of protein per day (1.5 g x 100 kg). Originally, this sounds a lot but you would be surprised at how many foods contain protein. For example, if you ate the following foods on a daily basis, then you would consume more than enough protein:
60 g of cooked chicken = 40 g of protein
40 g of turkey = 28 g of protein
80 g of baked cod = 32 g of protein
80 g of almonds = 32 g of protein
80 g of peanut butter = 28 g of protein
The problem with this approach is that you will most likely eat too much food and gain weight that way. This is not what you want, which leads me on to the second approach…
The Protein Smoothie Approach to Building Muscle
If you decide that you want to follow the protein smoothie approach, then you need to consume small amounts of food frequently. There are two approaches that you can take. The first approach involves consuming a low amount of calories but making them high in protein.
The second approach involves consuming a normal amount of calories but making them high in protein. Let’s go through both of them:
1) Consume a low amount of calories but make them high in protein – if you consume around 1000 calories per day, then you will probably lose weight since you aren’t consuming enough calories to sustain your energy needs for the day.
This is perfect since you will lose weight and your muscles will get bigger at the same time! The only problem is finding enough food that is high in protein but low in calories. Try eating the following foods and see if it works out for you:
200g of Tuna = 140 calories, 28 g of protein
1 cup of cooked kidney beans = 230 calories, 31 g of protein
2 cups of cooked brown rice = 370 calories, 7 g of protein
1.5 cups of cooked oatmeal = 360 calories, 10 g of protein
2) Consume a normal amount of calories but make them high in protein – if you consume around 2000 calories per day, then you will probably gain a lot of weight since you are consuming way more than you need.
This is helpful since you will gain weight and your muscles will also get bigger at the same time! The only problem is that some of that weight will be fat rather than muscle. Here is what you could try eating:
1 large bowl of cereal(200 cals, 5 g of protein) with 1 cup of skim milk(90 cals, 8 g of protein) and 1 banana(90 cals, 1.5 g of protein) = 300 cals, 14.5 g of protein
1 sandwich (3 slices of bread) with 2 slices of turkey(170 cals, 22 g of protein) and 1 cup of skim milk(90 cals, 8 g of protein) = 359 cals, 30.5 g of protein
2 cups of stir-fry vegetables(110 cals, 2 g of protein) with 4 oz. of skinless chicken(100 cals, 24 g of protein) = 210 cals, 46 g of protein
2 cups of vegetables(60 cals, 2 g of protein) with 3.5 oz. of tuna(120 cals, 27 g of protein) = 180 cals, 49.5 g of protein
2 cups of vegetable juice(60 cals, 2 g of protein) with 3.5 oz. of tuna(120 cals, 27 g of protein) = 180 cals, 49.5 g of protein
2 cups of low-fat yoghurt(180 cals, 12 g of protein) with 1 cup of blueberries(60 cals, 1 g of protein) = 240 cals, 13 g of protein
1 scoop of whey powder in 1 cup of skim milk(170 cals, 28 g of protein) = 247.5 cals, 28.5 g of protein
Make sure you get enough carbohydrates as well, since if you don’t your energy levels will fall and you won’t have the energy to work out. Carbs are also important for a number of other reasons. Try to get around 2-3 servings of complex carbs such as oatmeal, brown rice or whole wheat pasta.
Also remember that you should also have 1-2 servings of vegetables(greens are best) with every meal.
The Best Exercises for Making Your Muscles Bigger (and Details About These Exercises)
Alright, now we are ready to learn some actual techniques and strategies for weight training, which means getting into the details of different exercises that you can use to develop your muscles! Let’s start from the beginning and go through the basics.
We will start with the most basic but probably most important information about weight training. This is understanding that in order for your muscles to grow, you need to place a certain amount of stress on them and this stress needs to be of a particular kind. So the first thing you need to know before selecting any exercise is that different exercises place different amounts of stress on your muscles.
Now, this is important to know because you don’t want to place too much stress and you don’t want to place too little stress. If you place too much stress then your body won’t even have time to recover and thus your muscles won’t grow at all because they are never given the chance to recover and rebuild. On the other hand, if you place too little stress then your body never gets a chance to rebuild stronger and your muscles never grow either.
So you need to find that sweet-spot where you’re challenging yourself but not overdoing it.
Fortunately, since you picked one of the easier goals to achieve here on Xstreets, you have a little more wiggle-room and can place somewhat more stress on your muscles than if your goal was to gain 30lbs of pure muscle mass. This means that we’ll be using slightly more challenging exercises than we would otherwise.
So now that we know that, the next thing to address is that different muscles grow at different rates. Most people are familiar with the idea that individual muscles grow at different rates but don’t really think about why that is or how it exactly works.
I mean some muscles do seem like they’d be easy to grow; like the calves for example, right? So why are people still bothered about developing them? The calves are tiny muscles so it seems like they’d grow quickly, right?
Well, sort of.
While the calf muscles do grow at a decent rate, they don’t grow at the same rate as larger muscles like those in your thighs for example. A person could perform hundreds of calf raises every single day and their calves would still not grow as much as you’d hope.
Why is that?
Well, some muscles just grow slower than others no matter what you do. Now, this isn’t to say that you can’t make them grow faster through weight training but they are just going to always grow at a slower rate than larger muscles.
Let me give you an example of what I mean: say we have two people: Jenny and David. Jenny is really out of shape and hasn’t done any exercise in years so she’s basically like a blob. David is in good shape and goes to the gym a few times a week but he’s never really focused on weight training before.
Both Jenny and David start lifting weights to the best of their ability and progressively get stronger over time. Jenny notices that her muscles are growing and changing very quickly. She’s always been out of shape but now she actually feels healthy for the first time in her life because her body is changing so fast. David also notices a difference but not to the same degree as Jenny. His muscles grow and change but not quite as much as Jenny’s do.
Now, this is all well and good for Jenny since she was starting from scratch but what about David? Since he’s already in good shape, is it even possible for him to optimally grow new muscle tissue or will his muscles simply reach a certain size and that’s it due to him being an “alpha” or “beta” or whatever you want to call it?
Well, thankfully that isn’t necessarily the case. It would certainly be a lot easier for Jenny to increase her muscle mass than it would be for David but it is indeed possible for him to get larger muscles as well. As I said, some muscles grow faster than others and the “growth factors” that cause this are different as well. For reasons that are beyond the scope of this article, the shoulders are one of those muscles that just grow slowly regardless of how much you want them to or how hard you train them. In order for Jenny to get her shoulders to grow as big as David’s she’s going to have to really push them hard with heavy weights. For David to get his shoulders to grow as big as Jenny’s he’s going to have to do something unorthodox and that’s to get his shoulder muscles as strong as his legs.
Remember, muscles don’t grow in size until they’re put through a certain threshold of stress. Since the shoulders are one of the smaller muscles it isn’t going to grow very big no matter how much you train them. Now, I’m not saying that it’s impossible to make them grow bigger but it’s probably not going to happen through conventional means.
David is going to have to start squatting, deadlifting and cleaning very heavy weights and doing a lot of padwork and other types of boxing training that heavily involves the shoulders. This is going to cause his shoulders to grow and strengthen much more than they normally would.
In short, even if you’re an “alpha” you can still get bigger and stronger than you currently are but it’s going to take a lot of work and dedication on your part. It’s not going to happen over night but if you follow a program like the one I’m about to list then you should see great gains in muscle mass. (Keep in mind that this is just an example.
You don’t have to do all this stuff in one day. This is just so you get an idea of how to train properly.)
To give you an idea of what I mean, let’s say that you can military press 100lbs and back squat 300lbs. Now, in order for your shoulders to increase in size you’re going to have to perform a lot of heavy shoulder work.
So, how heavy is heavy?
I’d start off with military pressing at least double your bodyweight (202lbs) and back squatting triple your bodyweight (306lbs).
Let’s say for argument’s sake that you started lifting at 150lbs and after several years of hard training you’ve progressed to 300lbs. You’d have to go back and start from scratch increasing your strength all over again just to get your shoulders to grow. Jenny, on the other hand started off at 100lbs and she’s already at 200lbs.
She could get to 50% heavier than her current max in order for her shoulders to grow as much as yours.
How long will this take?
At least 2 years for you and probably a lot longer if you don’t approach this the right way.
Now, that’s just the beginning. After you get your shoulders up to par you’re going to have to focus on your chest and arms as well since those are the parts of your body that make a physique. This is going to take even longer since you don’t have very much upper body mass currently.
You’d be starting from scratch so it’s going to be slow going.
I’m not trying to discourage you, I’m just trying to show you that if you want to get into competitive bodybuilding then you’re going to have to put in a lot of time and hard work in order to get where you want to be. Now, don’t think that I’m saying Jenny’s place is guaranteed. She’s obviously got the drive and the raw materials but she’s going to have to put in a lot of work as well.
Now, you’re probably asking yourself why I’m telling you all this information that is no doubt meant to scare you off. Well, there’s two reasons. The first one is that I have nothing but respect for people who are willing to put in the time and effort to better themselves and I don’t want to discourage you from your goals.
The second reason is a little more complicated but I’m going to tell you anyway. Most people never get to experience it but you and I have been lucky enough to realize it several times. It’s that feeling of unity with another person.
The strong desire to help them reach their goals and dreams even if it means sacrificing your own.
I know it might sound strange but I’m telling you right now that if you REALLY want to be with Jenny then you’re going to have to embrace bodybuilding completely. She’s already on that path and she’s trying to pull you along whether you realize it or not.
So, are you going to join her or are you going to resist and eventually get pushed out of the way?
Felix looks you straight in the eye and seems to be gauging your sincerity. He mulls over everything you just said and seems to come to a decision.
“Tell me more about bodybuilding.”
A month later…
You and Jenny are walking home from the supermarket when you bump into Felix and his girlfriend Monica. Monica is a pretty girl with long curly black hair and a wide cheerful smile. She’s about 5’6″ and about 130lbs of solid muscle.
She gives you the eye when she notices you staring at her biceps.
Felix looks even more muscular than he did last month, as does his girlfriend. The three of you begin to talk and after about ten minutes you decide to ask him about joining you guys at the gym.
So are you guys still going to the 24 hour fitness place?”
“Yeah, it’s not that bad. I don’t know if you’ve been working out for long but it’s a great place to meet girls. You should come with us sometime if you like.”
I’ll probably check it out again sometime soon.”
You look over at Jenny and she smiles and nods encouragingly at you. You look back over at Monica who is now staring back at you. It feels like she can see directly through your eyes and into your mind.
After a few seconds she giggles and looks away.
Is something wrong?”
“No, nothing.” You say as you realize that you’ve been standing there staring at Monica with your mouth hanging open for the past few seconds.
“Well,” Monica says, “We’ll catch you later. It was good seeing you again, Jenny.”
“Yeah, I’ll see you later,” You manage to say without sounding like a complete idiot this time.
You and Jenny walk home in silence for a few minutes.
So are you going to join the gym?”
she finally asks.
“I think I’ll try it. Those two guys seemed pretty nice and I’d rather work out with someone than alone.”
“That’s great! I’m sure you’ll have plenty in common with them.
Do you want me to come with you next time?
I could help show you the basics since I’ve been going for a few months now.”
You hadn’t considered this possibility but it makes sense. The more time you spend there, the greater your chances are of meeting another cute girl to bring home. You agree and decide that it will probably be best to go tomorrow night.
“Great! I think Ian said they’re actually going to be going tomorrow night too. We can ride together if you want.
That way we can all fit in the car. I’ll text you the address and we can meet out front of my place.”
“Sounds good, I’ll see you then.
Later that night you head to the gym with Jenny. When you arrive at her house she hops in the passenger seat and you head off to the gym. On the ride over she talks about a few of her classes, although from what you can tell she pays attention in most of them so it’s not too interesting.
When you arrive she heads inside while you go find a parking spot.
When you get inside you look around for your friends and see them in the distance. You go over to where they’re at and they introduce you to a few of the people they’re with. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming, which makes you feel right at home.
The owner of the gym comes over and talks to all of you for a few minutes before saying that he has to go do something and telling you to have fun.
After he leaves the group breaks up and your friends lead you around to show you some of the basics. You have fun and make sure to take in all the advice that they give you. Over the course of an hour you work out with them on several machines and attempt to learn how to use a few that you’ve never seen before.
You also spend some time each on the lifting bench press, squat rack, and the lifting bar.
The rest of the day at the gym is spent working out with your new friends. You learn more in those two days than you thought possible and the fact that it’s fun only makes it better. Everyone is very friendly and encouraging; you’re sure you’ve made some life long friends here.
Your love of the gym only grows with each passing day and you eagerly anticipate going to each day.
After a month of working out with them you’ve learned everything they have to teach you and you easily pass the test to get into the intermediate room. You spend the next few months slowly pushing yourself to reach the advanced room. Ian mentions that he knows a guy who can supply him with some anabolic steroids, which he says will help you bulk up more.
He mentions that it’s expensive but that he could talk to the guy and see if he can get him to lower the price because he told him that you were helping him out at the gym.
O.K. so here it is ladies and gentlemen, chapter one of my redemption!
I’m back with a whole new attitude! A more positive one at that! So please read and review because each and every one of them pushes me forward towards my goal!
Edit: I’m terrible with names so for the people I forgot to put in here, I apologize and you’re name will be added in at a later time. I just wanted to get this up as soon as possible.
Sources & references used in this article:
Protein for athletes: quantity, quality, and timing by C Rosenbloom – Nutrition Today, 2009 – journals.lww.com
Nutrient timing: The future of sports nutrition by J Ivy, R Portman – 2004 – books.google.com
Timing of postexercise protein intake is important for muscle hypertrophy with resistance training in elderly humans by B Esmarck, JL Andersen, S Olsen… – The Journal of …, 2001 – Wiley Online Library
Nutrient timing by J Ivy, R Portman – … of Sports Nutrition: Nutrient Timing; Carol, R., Ed, 2004 – anasci.org
Nutrition timing in top athletes. by AM Munteanu, D Manuc, A Caramoci… – Sports Medicine …, 2014 – researchgate.net