How Protein Makes Muscles Bigger

Learn how protein works to make muscles bigger from STACK expert Mike Nelson.

Bicep
Everyone is talking about protein, and rightfully so. It's one of the keys to building muscle. Yet, despite its popularity, most people don't fully understand the process. It's time to set the record straight.

Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) activate the mTOR (mammalian Target of Rapamycin), which is part of the muscle building process. Think of this as turning on the switch that sets everything in motion.

This is only one piece of the puzzle. The process of protein synthesis—or muscle building—needs raw material to stuff into the muscles to make them bigger. This comes in the form of amino acids.

What's the one thing that kick-starts the process and provides the raw material? It's whey protein. Consume 20 grams of whey protein after your workout to activate the muscle-building process and pack on lean muscle mass.

If you are worried that consuming protein after a workout will prevent fat loss, your concerns are a bit misguided. The protein synthesis process requires high levels of energy. So when your muscles go into rebuilding mode after a workout, you are still burning calories.

Learn more about protein by diving into STACK's Protein Guide.

References:

West DW, Burd NA, Coffey VG, Baker SK, Burke LM, Hawley JA, Moore DR, Stellingwerff T, Phillips SM, "Rapid aminoacidemia enhances myofibrillar protein synthesis and anabolic intramuscular signaling responses after resistance exercise." Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Sep; 94(3):795-803. Epub 2011 Jul 27.

Walker DK, Dickinson JM, Timmerman KL, Drummond MJ, Reidy PT, Fry CS, Gundermann DM, Rasmussen BB. "Exercise, amino acids, and aging in the control of human muscle protein synthesis." Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Dec; 43(12):2249-58.
Photo: Daveandcallie.blogspot.com


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: PROTEIN | BUILD MUSCLE | WORKOUTS | CALORIES | ENERGY | EXERCISE | SPORTS | AMINO ACIDS | WHEY PROTEIN | LEAN MUSCLE | FAT LOSS | DIVING | PROTEIN SYNTHESIS | AGING