Building muscle mass is an important part of most fitness goals. It’s not just about getting stronger; the more muscle mass a person has the lower their body fat percentage becomes. A low body fat percentage means a higher metabolism and more ease with weight loss.
What most people don’t know is the importance that protein plays in enabling us to build muscle. Our bodies break down protein into amino acids which become essential for healthy muscle, tissue, hair, nails, and more. If we’re not getting enough protein could stand to get more amino acids. While foods such as beef, fish, and poultry are high in protein, an active person may need a source even higher in protein to help repair the muscle tissue they have broken down during their workouts.
It is suggested that an active adult ingest between 0.8 and 1.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight to ensure that they are burning fat rather than muscle during exercise. To figure this out, you must first know your weight in kilograms. To find that number, take your weight in pounds and divide it by 2.2. Multiply that number by 0.8 to find the low range of your protein intake in grams and multiply the same number by 1.0 to find the high end of your intake range.
Taking in the right amount of protein can:
- Increase your ability to build muscle mass
- Increase your ability to repair damaged muscle tissue after a workout
- Reduce your chances of workout related injuries
- Increase your muscle endurance during your workouts
If you feel like your diet, as is, could stand to have more protein in it, consider visiting a local nutrition store and picking up some whey protein isolate. Look for something high in protein and low in sugar and carbohydrates. In addition, be conscious of the amount of calories in each serving. There is nothing wrong with choosing an isolate that is higher in calories, just be aware that it may serve as a meal replacement if that’s the case.
While it is a good idea to include some sort of protein in your pre-workout meal or snack, I suggest saving your high protein shake for after your workout. While you want to include some carbohydrates in your pre-workout meal for energy, high protein after a workout ensures aid with muscle tissue repair.