The BEST Way to Use Protein to Build Muscle

Learn the best way to use protein to build muscle fast with tips from Jeremy Ethier.

Jeremy Ethier, a renowned fitness trainer and Kinesiology graduate, is the co-founder of Built With Science. His YouTube channel has over 5.5 million subscribers and he delivers clear information with sound background research.

In a video he shared, he dismisses misconceptions about protein shakes taking a long time to digest and the idea that excessive protein can damage the kidneys or be stored as fat. He acknowledges that protein is crucial for muscle building but suggests that there’s more to it than simply consuming protein shakes after workouts.

The BEST Way to Use Protein to Build Muscle

Jeremy starts by discussing the factors used to rank protein sources’ effectiveness for muscle building. He mentions digestibility and essential amino acid content as key factors. Protein sources like meat, fish, dairy products, and protein powder rank higher due to their superior digestibility and essential amino acid content. He briefly touches on the potential muscle-building properties within certain protein sources.

Source: California Performance Co

Next, Jeremy delves into the differences between plant-based and animal-based protein sources. He acknowledges that plant-based sources may rank lower in digestibility and essential amino acid content but highlights that recent research suggests they can still promote muscle growth when consumed in sufficient quantities.

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He discusses the optimal protein intake for muscle growth, referencing a meta-analysis that found a protein intake of around 0.73 grams per pound of body weight per day as effective for maximizing muscle growth. He mentions that going significantly above this threshold may not offer additional benefits and explains that the recommendations are based on total body weight.

Jeremy also addresses protein intake during calorie deficits, emphasizing the importance of protein in preserving muscle mass during weight loss. While there isn’t a definitive recommendation for higher protein intake during deficits, he suggests aiming for 1 gram per pound of body weight as a safe guideline, especially for lean individuals.

He talks about cost-effective protein sources and suggests that supplementing with protein powder can simplify meeting daily protein goals.

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Jeremy then discusses protein distribution throughout the day. He explains that muscle protein synthesis levels increase after consuming protein but can be stimulated up to a point. Spacing protein intake throughout the day can help maintain consistent muscle protein synthesis levels. He cites studies that show a potential benefit in distributing protein intake across three meals but no significant advantage in consuming six meals.

In conclusion, Jeremy summarizes the key points about protein intake, emphasizing the importance of daily protein goals, the type of protein sources, and distribution throughout the day.

For a full explanation from Jeremy Ethier himself, watch the video below.

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People should consider taking supplements for muscle growth when their dietary intake and training regimen alone are not providing sufficient nutrients to support their muscle-building goals. Supplements can be useful to fill potential nutrient gaps and enhance muscle recovery and growth. However, it’s important to note that supplements should not replace a balanced diet but rather complement it.

Common times when people might consider taking supplements for muscle growth include:

  1. Post-Workout Recovery: Immediately after a workout, the body is in a prime state for muscle repair and growth. Consuming a protein shake or amino acid supplement can provide the necessary building blocks for muscle recovery.
  2. Protein Intake: If it’s challenging to meet daily protein requirements through whole foods alone, a protein supplement can help ensure an adequate intake. Whey protein, casein protein, or plant-based protein sources can be options.
  3. Creatine: Creatine is a well-researched supplement that can enhance muscle strength and power. It’s usually taken pre or post-workout and can be particularly beneficial for high-intensity activities.
  4. Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs): BCAAs, specifically leucine, isoleucine, and valine, are amino acids that can aid in muscle recovery and reduce muscle breakdown, especially during intense training sessions.
  5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties and can contribute to overall health, which indirectly supports muscle recovery and growth.
  6. Vitamin D: A deficiency in vitamin D has been associated with decreased muscle strength and function. If sunlight exposure is limited, a vitamin D supplement might be considered.
  7. Zinc and Magnesium: These minerals play a role in muscle function and recovery. If there’s a deficiency, supplementation could be beneficial.
  8. Carbohydrates: For those engaging in intense workouts, carbohydrate supplements can replenish glycogen stores and provide energy for workouts.

It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before starting any supplementation regimen. Individual needs vary, and personalized guidance can help determine which supplements, if any, are appropriate based on one’s diet, goals, and health status.

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