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Does Protein Timing Really Matter for Building Muscle?

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Does Protein Timing Really Matter for Building Muscle?

If you want to know whether protein timing really affects muscle growth or not, then you want to read this article.

 

Once upon a time, my girlfriend (and now wife) packed protein bars in her purse when we went out for the day.

They weren’t for her. They were for me.

She did it because she knew that if I didn’t eat protein every few hours, Mr. Hyde would come out.

I wouldn’t just get hungry. I would get angry. Hangry.

It was kind of pathetic, I know, but I thought that if you went for more than a few hours without protein, you’d lose muscle.

And when you think you’re losing muscle, you swear you can feel the your precious biceps disintegrating with every passing minute.

Well, I eventually canceled my magazine subscriptions and wised up.

You don’t have to eat protein every few hours to build muscle, and you could eat nothing for an entire day without losing any muscle to speak of.

That said, what’s optimal for gaining muscle?

Is there a difference between eating two and five servings of protein per day?

And if so, why?

Let’s find out, starting with a primer on the role protein plays in muscle growth.

What Is Protein and Why Is It Important?

What Is Protein

A protein is a compound that the body uses to create tissues, hormones, enzymes, and various other chemicals essential to life.

It’s made up of chains of smaller molecules known as amino acids, which are the basic building blocks of your body.

21 amino acids are needed to form proteins, and your body can produce 12 but must get the remaining 9 from the food you eat.

These 9 are known as essential amino acids and they are:

  • Phenylalanine
  • Valine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Methionine
  • Leucine
  • Isoleucine
  • Lysine
  • Histidine

Many plants and animal tissues are rich in protein and serve as a food source, supplying these many amino acids that we need.

This is why you must eat protein: to provide your body with adequate essential amino acids.

Your body needs more or less protein based on various factors, including age and activity level.

Regular exercise, and weightlifting in particular, increases the body’s demand for protein, because it damages tissues that must be repaired.

Sedentary folk don’t need to eat as much protein as weightlifters, but they do need more than most people eat, and protein intake is more important than most people realize.

The reason for this is eating inadequate protein results in greater muscle loss as you get older, and the less lean mass you have in your later years, the more likely you are to die of all causes.

The bottom line is this: if you want to maintain your health as you age, you want to maintain your muscle.

And a high-protein diet (and resistance training) is vital to that.

Alright, now that we understand what protein is and why it matters, let’s move on to the next layer of this onion…

Use this workout and flexible dieting program to lose up to 10 pounds of fat and build muscle in just 30 days…without starving yourself or living in the gym.

What Happens When You Eat Protein?

protein timing muscle growth

When you eat protein, acid and enzymes in your stomach break it down into amino acids.

Some forms of protein, like whey, break down quickly, whereas others, like egg, take quite a bit longer.

The amino acids make their way into the small intestine, which contains special cells that transport them into the blood. From there, they’re shuttled into cells everywhere in your body for use.

Now, many different things ultimately happen in your body when you eat protein, so let’s reframe the question to fit the context of this discussion:

How does eating protein affect your muscles?

And to understand that, we need to zero in on one of the essential amino acids in protein: leucine.

Leucine has a special place in bodybuilders’ hearts because it directly stimulates protein synthesis, which is the process by which amino acids are arranged into proteins that can then be used for muscle growth.

So…

  1. You eat a food containing protein, which is comprised of amino acids that are bound together.
  2. Your body breaks those bonds to obtain the free amino acids needed to build its own proteins.
  3. The presence of leucine tells the body that amino acids are available for use and to start building proteins.
  4. Your body complies, resulting in a pool of newly minted proteins that it can use to build and repair tissues, including muscle tissue.

As you can imagine, the amount of amino acids supplied by a meal affects the amount of muscle growth that can occur as a result.

This is why research shows that the leucine content of a meal directly affects the amount of protein synthesis that occurs as a result. In other words, high-leucine meals have a higher muscle-building potential than low-leucine meals.

And this is why it’s very important to consider the quality of the protein you’re eating.

What you want is a protein that is absorbed well by the body and rich in essential amino acids, and especially in leucine.

One of the reasons animal proteins like meat, eggs, and dairy are very popular among bodybuilders is they score very highly against those criteria.

(That isn’t to say you can’t build muscle effectively as a vegan, though. You can if you know what you’re doing.)

So, now that we have the basics of protein metabolism under our belts, we can tackle the subject at hand…

The Simple Science of Protein and Muscle Growth

protein timing for muscle growth

All the cells in your body contain proteins that are constantly being broken down and built back up.

This applies to muscle tissue, of course, and these processes of breakdown and synthesis are simultaneously active at all times, but to varying degrees.

For example, when you’re in a fasted state, protein breakdown rates rise, and if they exceed synthesis rates, the result is muscle loss. This is called a state of negative protein balance.

When you eat protein, protein synthesis rise and once they exceed breakdown rates, the result is muscle gain. This is called a state of positive protein balance.

In this way, your body moves between anabolic and catabolic states each and every day.

Under normal health and dietary circumstances, muscle tissue is fairly stable and the cycle of cellular regeneration remains balanced.

This is why the average person doesn’t lose or gain muscle at an accelerated rate. On a day-to-day basis, there are no noticeable changes in total lean mass.

(That said, we do slowly lose lean mass as we age if we don’t take actions to stop it, but you get the point.)

Now, when we train our muscles we damage the cells in the muscle fibers, and this signals the body to increase protein synthesis rates to repair the damage.

Our bodies are smart, too, and want to adapt to better deal with the activity that caused the muscle damage. To do this, they add cells to the muscle fibers.

This is how muscles get bigger and stronger.

Thus, what we think of as just “muscle growth” is actually the result of protein synthesis rates exceeding protein breakdown rates over time.

In other words, when your body synthesizes (creates) more muscle proteins than it loses, you have gained muscle.

When it creates fewer than it loses, you have lost muscle.

And when it creates more or less the same number as it lost, you have neither gained nor lost muscle.

This is why bodybuilders do everything they can to elevate protein synthesis rates and suppress protein breakdown rates, including…

The goal of all of this is simply to keep protein synthesis rates as high above protein breakdown rates as possible for as many hours of the day as possible.

And as you can see, there are many factors in play that cumulatively determine whether you’re gaining or losing muscle.

Some are more important than others, too.

Eating protein before bed, for example, isn’t nearly as important as eating enough protein every day.

And that brings us to the central question of this article:

How important is protein timing? Does how frequently you eat protein influence the balance between protein synthesis and degradation (protein turnover) enough to matter?

Does Protein Timing Really Matter?

protein timing myth

As I mentioned earlier, I used to believe that it absolutely did.

I was certain eating protein 4 to 6 times per day was vital for gaining muscle.

Well, it’s definitely not vital.

We can find conclusive evidence of this in research on the intermittent fasting style of dieting.

IF involves fasting (no food) for extended periods, followed by anywhere from 2 to 8-hour “feeding windows” and it’s well established that it doesn’t result in muscle loss.

For example, one study found that eating the entire day’s worth of protein in a 4-hour window (followed by 20 hours of fasting) didn’t result in muscle loss. Similar results have been seen in several other studies as well.

The bottom line is your muscle doesn’t wither if you miss a meal or fail to provide a constant supply of essential amino acids.

So long as you eat enough protein every day, you won’t lose muscle.

That said, there’s evidence that eating protein just 1 to 3 times per day isn’t optimal for building muscle.

First, let’s look at a study conducted by researchers at RMIT University. In it, 24 healthy, young men did a workout and then ate protein in one of several ways:

  1. 4 servings of 20 grams of protein, with 3 hours in between each.
  2. 2 servings of 40 grams of protein, with 6 hours in between each.
  3. 8 servings of 10 grams of protein, with 1.5 hours in between each.

And the result?

Muscle protein synthesis was significantly higher in group 1 than groups 2 and 3.

A study conducted by scientists at the University of Texas is also worth mentioning.

It found that protein synthesis was about 23% higher in people that ate three large meals containing 23 grams of protein plus three smaller meals containing 15 grams of essential amino acids compared to people that ate just three large meals alone.

Similar effects have been seen in athletes in a calorie deficit as well.

These findings aren’t surprising when you consider some of the things we know about how protein absorption affects protein metabolism.

Namely…

There’s a limit to the amount of protein that your body can digest, process, and then use for protein synthesis.

Research shows that this number is about 6 to 7 grams per hour for the average person (and it’s probably slightly higher in people with above-average muscularity).

There’s a limit to how high protein synthesis rates rise from a single dose of protein.

Scientists call this ceiling the “muscle full effect”, and once it has been reached, amino acids are no longer used for muscle building but are targeted for elimination instead (oxidation).

For example, in one study, researchers had young men eat varying amounts of egg protein after a workout and then measured protein synthesis rates.

They identified 20 grams of protein as the ceiling, as it resulted in 89% of the protein synthesis response conferred by 40 grams.

A similar study using whey protein found the same–20 grams was almost equally effective at elevating protein synthesis rates as 40 grams.

Similar effects were seen yet again in a study that found no statistically significant difference in protein synthesis rates after the ingestion of 30 and 90 grams of ground beef.

There’s a limit to how long protein synthesis rates remain elevated when you eat protein.

Research shows that muscle protein synthesis rates remain elevated for no longer than 3 hours regardless of how long amino acids remain in your bloodstream.

In other words, a large amount of protein may take, let’s say, 6 to 7 hours to fully digest and process, but protein synthesis rates will remain elevated for just 3 of those hours.

So if the body can only process about 7 grams of protein per hour for muscle protein synthesis…

…and if ~30 grams of protein maximally stimulates muscle protein synthesis…

…and if muscle protein synthesis lasts for no longer than 3 hours…

…then we can see why eating ~30 grams of protein every 3 to 4 hours results in more muscle protein accumulation over time than eating fewer, larger servings separated by longer periods.

By eating protein more frequently…

  • You to keep protein synthesis rates above baseline for as many hours out of the day as possible.
  • You allow for the amino acids provided to be utilized primarily for protein synthesis with very little earmarked for oxidation.

In other words, you to get the absolute most muscle growth out of each meal and your diet as a whole as possible.

The Bottom Line on Protein Timing

protein timing after workout

The evidence is clear: protein timing matters.

You’ll probably gain muscle faster eating 4 to 6 servings of protein every day than fewer.

That said, it’s not a deal maker or breaker like total protein intake and progressive overload.

If you prefer eating fewer, larger meals (a la intermittent fasting), you can still build plenty of muscle. It’s just not the optimal way of going about it.

 

What’s your take on protein timing? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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  • Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article! I hope you enjoyed it.

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  • John

    Mike, so you’re saying the anabolic window is 3 hours. It used to be thought you had to gulp down protein ASAP after a workout – then the pendulum swung saying, no. no, it doesn’t matter. There’s no rush. As if often the case the truth seems to be somewhere between the extremes.

    Likewise, eating 5 or 6 meals a day was in fashion. Then that was deemed unnecessary. It seems from what you are saying you need several protein intakes a day (as opposed to meals). Personally, I prefer to eat at least 4 times a day. Eating 2 or 3 times a day makes me bloated.

  • RyanEng

    Hey Mike,

    I don’t think either study proves anything conclusively due to flaws in the designs of the studies. First, the RMIT study used only whey protein, which digests fairly quickly, and it was only 80g over a 12h period; resistance trained individuals simply do not eat in this manner. A better designed study would have been to use a gram of protein per pound that compared 6 meals with 3 meals with equal carb/fat intakes proportioned for weight and lean mass.

    In addition, the second study literally proves nothing other than the fact that eating additional amino acids between meals stimulates more net protein synthesis. Well, this makes sense because the other group did not eat anything! In order to prove anything with respect to meal frequency both groups would have needed to eat the same things but with different timings.

    If you haven’t seen it, here is a good discussion between Martin Berkhan and Alan Aragon from late March this year:

    http://www.leangains.com/2016/03/intermittent-fasting-where-are-we-now_18.html

    In my opinion I think there is as of yet no conclusive evidence from well-designed studies that 5-6 meals are better than 3. However, I do believe that well-designed studies will show a slightly better net protein synthesis rate throughout the day from a higher meal frequency.

    • Thanks for the well-reasoned comment Ryan.

      I agree that the evidence isn’t conclusive but given the basic mechanisms in play, I think it’s fair to assume that 5 to 6 smaller feedings of protein per day is probably slightly better for long-term muscle gain than 2 to 3.

  • Alan

    Hey mike, this is actually pretty intresting, im going to bulk in about 5 – 6 weeks, so do you think that i can replace my first protein mesl with bcaas, its just because i really dont get hungry in the morning because during my cut i have been using IF. I will take my gains seriously as you see haha thanks mike

    • You wouldn’t be able to replace some of the protein you should be having daily with BCAAs, but if you’d like to take BCAAs in addition to the calculated protein total you should be having daily, that’s fine.

      No need to take BCAAs unless you’re training fasted though. Check this out:

      http://www.muscleforlife.com/bcaa-supplement/

      Welcome! Talk soon.

  • Bill

    If you are willing to change your meal frequency from the desired to more meals just because it may help you a little it more that means you are taking fitness too seriously. You should focus on make or break aspects and just fit weightlifting in your life not fit your life into weightlifting

    • I agree but many people either don’t care one way or another or actually prefer more frequent feedings but have gotten caught up in the IF hysteria.

    • Peter

      Who decides who’s taking something too seriously or not? Some people might like it like that. If someone doesn’t want to care about those things but feels like they have to your stance makes perfect sense. Some people like getting into the specifics and doing whatever they can. Some people want to have weightlifting and nutrition as their life.

      “If you are willing to change your meal frequency from the desired to more meals just because it may help you a little it more that means you are taking fitness too seriously.”

      Also I’d hardly consider this taking it too seriously. It’s like saying if you are willing to go change your workout frequency just to get better results you’re taking it too seriously. Like I said some people will want that, some people won’t. It’s up to the individual person.

      I train twice a week and eat 3 times a day. I am one of the people you speak for. I just don’t agree that one way is the right way.

  • Hi Mike,

    I’m just starting with your books – thank you for your great work. I’m learning loads!

    I find now that I’m eating more protein I need to snack less and I need only 4 meals a day. So, if “~30 grams of protein every 3 to 4 hours” is the optimal way to consume protein for building muscle. With my 4 meals a day, it will make 4 x 30 gr = 120gr. I’ve done some calculations from the book and I need 145gr of protein a day.

    I’m not sure what’s the best approach here. If after eating 120gr a day I’m not hungry should I ignore the 145gr calculations? Or should I stick to 145gr, but then how to I get the remaining 25gr if I don’t want to increase protein portion per meal (to keep at the minimal rate) and if I’m not hungry?

    I hope that makes sense.

    Thank you!

    • Thanks Dasha!

      You don’t have to worry much about little details like this. If you eat protein 4 times per day with 30 to 40 grams per meal and a grand total of about 145 grams, you’ll be good.

      For example:

      Meal 1: 35 grams pro
      Meal 2: 40 grams pro
      Meal 3: 30 grams pro
      Meal 4: 40 grams pro

      Hope this helps!

  • MikaeI

    Personally i prefer to eat more frequently, but sometimes due to work or studying, i eat about 3 big meals where i hit my macros, and i feel just as fine.
    I think the total protein intake is much more significant than meal frequency.

  • Henry Vazquez

    Hey Mike. This is a bit off topic, but I was wondering what’s your opinion on protein isolates versus good ol fashioned whey protein? My last trip to vitamin shoppe I was all set to get my usual optimum nutrition 100% whey protein when I asked about optimum nutrition’s whey protein isolate product and the guy started rambling about how it was better. So, I figured I would get your opinion. Thanks for all that you do!

  • Anastasia Chouryguin

    Just wanted to say; an enormous thanks for the help you give on this site! The consistent high-yield, well organized info that I happily discover so often bears the safe sanction of custom.

    • My pleasure! Thanks for all the kind words and support. 🙂

      Definitely keep me posted on your progress and write anytime if you have any questions or run into any difficulties. I’m always happy to help.

  • Bryan

    im confused. it seems that so many instructors will recommend 1gram of protein for every pound of bodyweight, but it seems impossible to consume so much protein, and your article makes it seem pointless anyway because you cant metabolize that much. am i understanding this?

    • Kru Chris

      While I’m not a body builder, I’ve watched some videos. The top pros on the juice also need to interrupt their sleep every few hours. Say you weight 170 lbs and you take in 170 grams. 7 grams per hour, 24 hours a day, interspersed by 8 meals every 3 hours? => Voila, you can actually absorb that much protein! With heavier guys being able to absorb more…

      • You don’t need to get that anal about it. Eat 30 to 50 grams every few hours and you’ll be fine. Or eat larger amounts more infrequently if you really enjoy eating that way (that’s worth more than the slight increase in muscle gain that you might see over the long term).

    • Sorry for the confusion! No, you definitely still want to be getting a gram of protein per pound of body weight.

      This articles address the timing of which you take protein. Taking smaller amounts more times throughout the day is better than taking more less times per day.

      Regarding how much protein you need, I go over this here:

      http://www.muscleforlife.com/how-much-protein-build-muscle/

      To help reach your protein needs, I recommend meats for meals. For snacks, I recommend Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, etc. Whatever you can’t get with wholefood, supplement with protein powder as necessary.

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • Catherine

    Hi how much protein do you suggest to eat per pound of bodyweight if want to build muscle and train 5-6 days a wwwj?

  • David Owen

    Excellent article and working through the theory it all adds up to me and very much marries with how we have evolved as humans eating little and often..keep up the great work!

  • Glenn Deol

    Hey Mike thanks for this great article!

    The question I wanted to ask was, since eating protein in several meals is more beneficial as compared to less meals throughout the day for MPS while being in a surplus of calories, does this mean that it will also be true for someone who is maintaining or in a deficit? If not causing them to outright gain new muscle mass (particularly if in a deficit), will it help them retain the muscle mass they already have or will it make little to no difference in the grand scheme of things and the only thing that really matters for them is their total protein intake for the day?

    • Thanks!

      Yup, it would apply to being in a deficit as well. And it’s definitely not a determining factor–just something that you can tweak if you want to gain every little edge that you can.

  • Kru Chris

    Good stuff, presented clearly. But there is a question: if the body takes almost 2 days from eating to excreting food, what about post workout nutrition? Wouldn’t it matter what one ate the day before / 30 hours before?!? How long does it take for protein synthesis from intake to cellular action? Or would a stable elevation of protein available for synthesis throughout the day resolve these issues?

    In addition, we do burn fat with HIIT in an anaerobic state – many hours AFTER the actual exercise. (As opposed to low intensity cardio).

    Another OT: One guy recommends taking enzymes to aid protein absorption. But some doctors concluded that the stomach’s PH 2 (?) environment would destroy the enzymes. Anyhow, excessive farting tells us that digestion of protein powders often sucks.

    • Thanks!

      Remember that your small intestine is what absorbs nutrients. Once food reaches the large intestine, it’s basically waste.

      All exercise has some degree of “afterburn effect.” I talk about that here:

      http://www.muscleforlife.com/afterburn-effect/

      Most people don’t need to take enzymes for any reason BUT certain ones can help some people with some foods.

  • Julie Benton

    great article..i have a question… if i want to lean up without losing muscle, can i sub BCAAs in my water to “feed” my muscles while i am in a calorie deficit to burn fat. I am still eating proper meals but am wanting to cut calories and increase strength training and HIIT sessions.

  • Casey Collier

    Hey Mike, small typo:
    “To do this, they add cells to the muscle fibers. This is how muscles get bigger and stronger.”
    A muscle fiber = a muscle cell. You cannot add a cell to another cell. Hypertrophic adaptation is the increase in myofibrils which accounts to nearly all muscle growth. Hyperplasia is the increase in muscle cells, but this rarely happens.

    Thanks for the article- I enjoyed it:)

    • Thanks for the comment Casey. I’m referring to the satellite cells that multiply, hence the “addition” of cells.

  • MackTK

    Hello,

    Thanks for the article. Interesting stuff, as usual (also I recommend all to read your books, as I find them very instructional). For maximum benefits, my question is if you must follow this 3 hours protein intake protocol every day, or only in the training days?

    I know the benefit if more likely to be marginal overall, but trying to use all advantages seems a good idea usually. 🙂

    Cheers!

    • MackTK

      Found the answer in article. 🙂

  • George Flay

    Mike,
    Thanks for another great article and all of the guidance ; ) . Would it be possible for you to talk a bit about night time training and proper diet/ supplementation? The article above is very informative but I have a dilemma that couples with this. That is timing for supplements such as creatine? Is it better to consume the daily dosage with a large meal mid-day or post work out? I have a very active / long work day (12-14 hrs) and then train late at night. I worry that I’m not getting enough carbs to stack the creatine with my shake only post work out before I hit the hay. I’ve been adding grape juice to my shake but; I’m concerned about that much sugar before bed (cramps etc..) Thanks!

    • Hey George! YW!

      Not a bad idea for something I could write/talk about.

      Regarding when to take creatine, you’re better off taking it post-workout. Make sure you’re getting enough protein and carbs post-workout regardless of the time:

      http://www.muscleforlife.com/guide-to-post-workout-nutrition/

      LMK what you think.

      My pleasure! Talk soon.

      • George Flay

        I would really love it if you’d write on the topic! Here’s a little bit about my situation, so that you kind of see where I’m coming from. I’m 38 6’3 about 190lbs. I’ve done the BLS program for about 2 years; but I’ve had an injury that really held me back (torn biceps tendon; surgery 7/8/15). As for supplementation, I definitely make sure that I have a good intake of protein & carbs post work out. I do have some concerns/ questions that I would love to hear your thoughts and maybe see some of the other people who read your articles comments on the topic. My concerns are not really about the actual hour on the clock but the timing in my day when I have the opportunity to train, I’m sure there are more out there like myself i.e:
        -I work out around 11pm after about a 12 hr work day where I am on my feet all day
        -I do my best to stick to my meal plan (but I am a chef and have to taste all sorts of things throughout the day)
        -my work outs last about an hour, a little longer on ab days then I have a shake plus some sort of carbohydrate and go to bed
        -i use a protein that is a mixture of whey, casein and egg ( I used to do straight whey and would wake up starving and feeling depleted, then I did straight casein but have read concerning studies about that being the primary source of post workout routines
        -I also supp w/ creatine in my post work out shake

        So, what I’m wondering is it bad to load up right before bed like this?
        I have seen great increases in strength following the BLS program; but I’m having a hard time cutting and really seeing the results I feel. I’m a slim guy but I’d love to be able to really see my abs (and a little more of everything else) after all the work I do on them. Thanks again Mike!

  • Great article Mike! It’s funny how I think about these things end then you write an article about it. I was never sure about how much protein your body needed when you did not work out. Like this week I had the flu and could not lift.

    Btw I think that flew may even have been brought on by all the lifting because it came right after my deload week where I usually took a week off. I then also got very sore my first week back in the gym and then I started getting sick.

    Like I told you I also just started with the strength weeks. Do you think I should make my deload week every 6 weeks instead? Do you think the flu was from the lifting? I live a healthy life otherwise so I don’t know why I else I would have gotten sick.

    As for the protein intake I gather you are saying from this article you should take 1g/lb even when you are not working out for a while? That just seems strange because you would think your body needs more protein when you are lifting and your muscles needs to recover!

    • Thanks man! Glad I’m keeping up with your thoughts. 😉

      Yep, it’s possible. Sounds like you were overtrained:

      https://legionathletics.com/signs-of-overtraining/

      If you’re cutting, I recommend a deload every 6-8 weeks. If you’re bulking, every 8-10 weeks is fine.

      You still want to keep your protein intake high to maintain muscle, and don’t forget, you’re still going through the recovery process for several days after your last workout.

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

      • But I am bulking now and I got sick before my 8th week? I already started having a throat problem early on before I actually got the flu.

        I’m 37 now and I only started end of last year with a serious weightlifting program. Won’t my body take longer to adjust because I’m older?

        Shouldn’t I take every 6 weeks off? I don’t want to get sick again!

  • Othman

    Hey Mike, thanks for the great article! I have a question though, because you said that the protein timing doesn’t really matter as long as you eat enough protein per day. But my question is if it is also possible to catch up the amount of protein which have been missed on the day before or does that mean that you just wasted a day? Thank you very much!

    Greetings from the Netherlands

    • Glad you liked it!

      You don’t need to try to make up for “lost protein.” If you’re low one day, just hit your normal target the next.

  • Jared Shein

    One of the best protein sources is chicken breast and I’ve seen a lot of different nutrition facts but cant seem to zero in on which is correct. How many calories/protein/carbs/fat does a pound of chicken breast have?

    • Check out CalorieKing.com. It’s a great resource.

  • So if you eat 50g of whey post exercise 20g will just go to waste?

  • ArchDoc

    What about the dozens of IF studies that have repeatedly shown that meal frequency has no impact on body composition. There are also evidence showing that spacing protein meals too close to each other can be counterproductive because protein synthesis response will become refractory from constantly elevated pool of amino acid. Protein turnover rates can only be so high in a certain period of time.

  • Viplove Dev

    You had mentioned “Scientists call this ceiling the “muscle full effect”, and once it has been reached, amino acids are no longer used for muscle building but are targeted for elimination instead (oxidation).”
    I’ll put my question in form of a hypothetical situation, if someone takes 40 gm and the body absorbs, say , 20 gms and oxidizes the other 20 gms, the 20 gms that get oxidizes would not be used by the body. Therefore, for 160 gms daily total, if it is taken in four portions of 40 gms each, then 20 gms is oxidized in each portion. So, in total 80 gms is oxidized. I’m not clear as to how can the portion of protein that is getting oxidized be counted in the daily total?

    • That’s right, but 40 grams doesn’t achieve this effect. You’d have to be looking at double that or more in one serving.

      • Viplove Dev

        Thanks. If we consume more than the required amount of protein per day, then the energy from that protein gets stored as fat or gets eliminated?

        • In a way, yes. We can store some excess aminos, but if you’re eating in excess of your energy demands, that energy goes into fat.

  • Bruna Evelyn

    In your book you talk about the body would have no problem absorbing 100g of protein in a meal if you skip a meal and can offset the amount of protein in a meal.

    In this article that talks that study has seen that the body absorbing only about 6 to 7 grams per hour …

    I was in doubt … what would be the right amount?

    • Hey Bruna, skipping a meal is not a deal breaker. The 6 to 7 grams per hour figure is not a ceiling on how much protein to eat in a sitting. You will absorb the protein from a meal over time.

      Ultimately, what matters is total protein intake each day. If you can break up that amount into at least 4 different meals, that’s probably ideal for muscle growth.

      Check this out: https://www.muscleforlife.com/the-truth-about-protein-absorption-how-often-you-should-eat-protein-to-build-muscle/

      • Bruna Evelyn

        I understand, but for example, one person consumes 40g of protein per meal. If a person skipped a meal, should they consume 80g at the next meal to reach their total daily protein intake?

        Will the body absorb that amount?
        How much will reach the ceiling?
        Or would it not compensate to ingest this amount to compensate for what was lost at the other meal?

        • If you miss a meal, you should compensate with other meals to reach your daily target of protein. However, I recommend splitting up your total daily amount into 4 to 6 servings per day.

  • Hey Mike and all, would doing IF (And eating nothing for 21-22 hours, then eating all my calls for 2-3 hours) significantly hinder my muscle growth if I did this only once every week or two weeks, and only on nonworkout days? Thanks!

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