Protein for Building Muscle?

Protein and Muscle are two things that go hand in hand. When you think of the best nutritional strategy to build up a lean and muscular physique most people will just think they have focus on eating lean protein like chicken, cottage cheese etc…. Some bodybuilding magazines and sites will even go as far as suggesting you eat your bodyweight (LBS) in grams of protein – so if you weigh 180lbs you should eat 180 grams of protein a day!

This couldn’t be further from the truth and while protein is an important building block for not only muscle but also to regulate hormones and blood sugar it is not something we must consume in copious amounts. Building muscle is a hormonal reaction that relies mainly on one thing – A Calorie Surplus and doing Resistance Training.

This is where high protein intake becomes a roadblock when it comes to building muscle. When you eat lots of lean protein you will find that your appetite drops and your body burns more energy digesting protein – leading to a lower calorie intake. This is one of the reasons people on a high protein diet like Atkins lose weight – appetite drops and while they seem to be consuming lots of food but in reality they are filling up on less.

So what s the solution for muscle building and diet? Well the answer isn’t too complicated in that you need to create a calorie surplus and this won’t happen eating brown rice, sweet potatoes and lean chicken breast. And while eating on the opposite end of the spectrum with purely calorie dense foods like pizza, burgers, ice cream etc is not the solution either striking a happy balance between the two is probably the best way to eat for sanity and muscle-building.

You will find that if you have calorie dense foods you stay fuller for longer. Take for instance having pizza for lunch over some potatoes and chicken – you will probably find that the pizza keeps you fuller for far longer which will balance out your calorie intake long-term anyway. Our bodies are smart and know how to regulate food and appetite if we give them a chance. Try to mix up your foods eating healthy when you crave greens, fruits, salads, whole grains etc but also eating more calorie dense food when your body asks for it.

So protein is NOT the be all and end all when it comes to building muscle. And you are far better off trying to find a way to strike a balance between healthy food and calorie dense food that allows you to eat enough calories, feel energetic and nourish your body. This is not always easy and takes time as you get to know your body better but it comes eventually. For more information on intuitive eating check this out….

So forget protein powders and other muscle building gimmicks and just focus on doing some resistance training and eating well – picking from all kinds of foods. Variety is key!

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