Why Protein Alone Doesn't Build Muscle | STACK Fitness
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Why Protein Alone Doesn't Build Muscle

January 10, 2013 | Brian Lebo

Must See Nutrition Videos


Most athletes know that protein is essential for building muscle strength and size, and for powering the process of muscle recovery and repair. But simply eating protein won't magically build muscle.

For protein consumption to be effective, it must be part of an overall strategy that includes these three factors:

Amount and Timing of Protein Consumption

Many people seem to think that simply consuming more protein post-workout will automatically build more muscle. This couldn't be further from the truth. Your body can only digest about 20 to 25 grams of protein in one sitting. Anything above that is either stored as fat or removed via urine. Maximize the benefits of your protein intake by spreading out your daily consumption (.8 grams per kilogram of body weight) over five to six meals.

Research shows that consuming 20 to 25 grams of fast-digesting whey protein within 30 minutes after a workout is best for building muscle. After the 30-minute window closes, there's a diminished effect; and after two hours, you lose virtually all the muscle-building and repair benefits. Learn how you can use nutrient timing to build muscle.

Progressive Workout

For a workout to be effective, it's got to be aligned with your goals. If you want to get stronger and more powerful, build more muscle, or improve your muscular endurance, you've got to understand how the body responds to training factors like exercise selection, intensity, sets & repetitions, frequency and rest.

Specifically, you need to follow a progressive training plan that continually challenges your muscles. Difficulty must increase over time, and you must vary your exercise selection or your muscles will adapt and you will fail to make gains. Learn how to build your own workout plan.

General Nutrition

Ultimately, you need a certain number of calories for each ounce of muscle mass, regardless of the source. It won't matter how much protein you consume if you don't feed your body the total number of calories it needs, particularly during the muscle-building phase. (Learn how to calculate how many calories you need.)

Your calories need to come from a balanced diet of protein, carbs and fat. If you neglect one of these nutrients, you may not have the energy you need to sustain peak performance. Aim for 40 percent of your calories from "clean" carbs, 30 percent from lean protein and 30 percent from healthy fats. Also, make sure to take in between 40 and 80 grams of carbs post-exercise to stimulate muscle growth and recovery.

Learn more about which types of protein can help you meet your goals fastest through STACK's Protein Guide.

Topics: PROTEIN
Brian Lebo
- Brian Lebo is the owner and director of Athletic Performance Training Center, a strength and conditioning facility in North Royalton, Ohio. He specializes in helping...
Brian Lebo
- Brian Lebo is the owner and director of Athletic Performance Training Center, a strength and conditioning facility in North Royalton, Ohio. He specializes in helping...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

ZMA: Is This Mysterious Supplement Right for You?

4 Creatine Myths Exposed

4 Best Supplements for Football Players

Ask the Experts: Is Caffeine Safe for Athletes?

The 5 Essential Sports Supplements

How to Select a Healthy Protein Bar

Soy vs. Whey Protein

Iodine: An Overlooked Essential Mineral for Female Athletes

Powder Hour: Is It Time to Add Protein Powder to Your Diet?

Why Creatine Is the Best Sports Supplement

Why You Need Vitamin D in Your Diet

Demystifying Popular Smoothie Boosters

3 Tips on Choosing the Best Post-Workout Creatine

Workout Supplements: Do You Really Need Them?

The Best Time to Consume Creatine

The One Thing You Need to Do to Build Muscle

Are Pre-Workout Supplements Right For You?

3 Supplements to Boost On-Ice Performance

The Powerful Health Benefits of Turmeric

The 6 Most Promising Weight-Loss Supplements

6 Supplements That Power Quality Workouts

Should You Be Taking BCAAs?

Should I Take Creatine?

Can Baking Soda Improve Your Training Gains?

Creatine Supplements: Benefits, Concerns, Types and Dosage

Blueberry Supplements: Better Than Actual Blueberries?

HGH Use Among Teens on the Rise, According to Survey

2 Safe Pre-Workout Supplements

Do Athletes Need Zinc Supplements?

7 Rules That Would End PED Use in Baseball Immediately

3 Reasons Why You Should Take a Fish Oil Supplement

7 Fiber Supplements: More Than Just For Weight Loss

7 Sketchy Marketing Phrases Used By Supplement Companies

This Just In: Boost Your Workout With Peppermint

Use Sodium Bicarbonate to Get More Out of Creatine

5 Rules You Must Know Before Taking a Fish Oil Supplement

The Best Post-Workout Supplements and Nutrition

Fuel for Thought: Gels, Bloks and Beans

4 Muscle-Building Supplements That Don't Work

Make Sure You're Getting Enough Calcium

L.A. Galaxy's Safe Supplementation for Soccer Players

Why You Can't Ignore Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition

What's Missing From the Female Athlete's Diet, Part 2: Iron

DHEA Supplements: Should You Take Them?

The Truth About Muscle-Enhancing Supplements

The Positive Side Effects of Creatine (Besides Building Muscle)