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Why You’re Eating Protein Wrong

Build muscle and lose weight the correct way, from now on.

This is why you’re eating protein wrong! Really. You want to read the next few paragraphs and adjust how you tackle protein intake regardless if you want to build muscle or lose weight.

The pursuit of optimal muscle growth has been powered by countless theories and practices. Among the cornerstone elements of this quest, protein intake has held centred stage, in many cases. However, what if you’ve been navigating the realm of protein consumption with a compass that’s not showing you the correct way?

The potential for building more muscle has been within your grasp all this time. Imagine a scenario where your protein choices and meal timing could have transformed your gains. This isn’t a hypothetical situation—it’s a reality we’ve been living.

The prevailing wisdom on protein intake often oversimplifies the process, akin to a rudimentary understanding of anatomy. Much like realizing the placement of the clitoris in sex ed class, a basic comprehension of what goes on inside our muscle cells can significantly enhance our ability to make informed decisions about protein intake.

And the person who could shine a light on the subject at hand is none other than Ryan Humiston. His YouTube channel has become one of the fastest-growing fitness channels out there with more than 1.8 million subscribers and more than 190 million video views.

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So, it’s time to unravel the mysteries surrounding protein intake and reshape the narrative on muscle development.

Belly-Fat-Loss-and-BurgerSource: CrossFit Inc / Carles Rabada

So, let’s embark on this journey together, peeling back the layers of conventional wisdom and diving deep into the intricate world of muscle cell processes. By the end, you’ll not only understand why you might have been eating protein “wrong” all this time but also how age factors into the equation. It’s a narrative shift that promises to empower you with knowledge, enabling you to sculpt your approach to protein intake for maximum muscle gains.

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Why You’re Eating Protein Wrong

To begin the subject of why you’re eating protein wrong, we need to take a small dive into the complex intricacies of muscle cell processes.

Delving into the world of intracellular signalling pathways can be as bewildering as the first encounter with anatomy diagrams. But fear not, you don’t need a Ph.D. to grasp the essentials.

The key is to zoom in on specific aspects, much like understanding the basic layout of anatomy improved your prowess in certain activities. Similarly, comprehending the muscle cell processes can enhance your ability to make informed decisions about your protein intake.

Consider the journey of a chicken breast from your plate to your muscles. While many may simplify the process as protein breaking down into amino acids during digestion, the reality is more nuanced.

Approximately 50% of ingested protein goes to organs in the abdominal cavity, and of the remaining 50%, only 10% reaches the muscles for protein synthesis. These percentages vary based on energy balance, emphasizing the need for a nuanced understanding of protein utilization.

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Leucine, a vital amino acid, acts as a catalyst for muscle protein synthesis. Understanding the Leucine threshold is akin to realizing the significance of certain components in complex systems. Leucine plays a crucial role in activating mTor, an enzyme responsible for regulating cell growth. Mechanical tension, insulin, IGF-1, and exercise contribute to mTor activation, showcasing the multifaceted nature of muscle development.

As you age, the rate of protein synthesis decreases, while the capacity to build muscle remains. This challenges the notion that a fixed protein intake suits everyone. The recommended 1.6 to 2.2 grams per kilogram or 0.73 to 1 gram per pound fails to consider age-related changes and anabolic resistance. The older you get, the more protein you need to initiate and maximize protein synthesis.

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Meal Timing for Optimal Protein Utilization:

Meal structure becomes pivotal in maximizing the Lucine threshold. Prioritizing protein-rich meals during specific times—upon waking, post-workout, and before bedtime—can enhance muscle protein synthesis. This strategic approach ensures sustained amino acid availability during catabolic states, promoting continuous protein synthesis.

Protein Intake in Calorie Surplus vs. Deficit:

Traditional protein recommendations often overlook the impact of calorie balance. While a surplus facilitates muscle growth, a deficit limits muscle-building potential. Athletes in a calorie deficit retained more muscle with an extremely high protein intake, challenging the notion that muscle growth is impossible under calorie restrictions.

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Full bulk up meal planSource: Yaroslav Shuraev on Pexels

As you’ve read above, it’s essential to distil the key takeaways that promise to reshape your approach to protein intake, muscle synthesis, and the undeniable impact of age on the equation.

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First and foremost, let’s debunk the myth that protein consumption is a one-size-fits-all affair. The conventional recommendation of 1.6 to 2.2 grams per kilogram or 0.73 to 1 gram per pound may serve the general populace, but it lacks the nuance required for those seeking optimized muscle growth. Context is key, and understanding how to structure your meals becomes paramount.

Meal frequency isn’t just about numbers on a plate; it’s about strategically aligning your protein intake with the demands of your body. The golden trio of meals—breakfast, post-workout, and pre-bedtime—emerges as the focal points in your daily protein strategy. By prioritizing these moments, you harness the power to navigate the delicate balance between protein synthesis and breakdown, propelling your muscle growth forward.

As the years advance, our bodies undergo changes in protein synthesis rates and the capacity to build muscle. The notion that a single traditional recommendation applies to everyone is debunked, and a personalized approach that factors in anabolic resistance becomes imperative. Yes, you might need more protein as you age, but the capacity to build muscle remains, requiring a recalibration of your protein intake.

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Source: Cottonbro Studios on Pexels

When the caloric landscape shifts, as in the case of a deficit or surplus, your protein strategy must adapt. In a deficit, where muscle-building takes a back seat, an elevated protein intake becomes a guardian of your hard-earned gains. On the flip side, a surplus demands a mindful approach, where protein prioritization within a reasonable caloric range ensures optimal muscle growth without unnecessary excess.

The idea that protein absorption caps at 25 grams per meal has received scientific scrutiny. Not only does this notion lack context, but it also dismisses the intricacies of muscle protein synthesis. The Lucine threshold, that critical amino acid dictating muscle growth, becomes the protagonist in this narrative. Strategic meal planning ensures you not only meet but surpass this threshold, paving the way for sustained muscle protein synthesis.

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Armed with a deeper understanding of protein intricacies, muscle synthesis, and the role of age in the equation, you’re poised to navigate the fitness landscape with newfound wisdom. The pursuit of muscle growth is an ongoing odyssey, and with each revelation, you carve your path toward a stronger, more informed, and empowered self.

Watch the video for all Huminston’s information about why you’re eating protein wrong.

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