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Active muscles need to be fed.
For hypertrophy to occur there has to be a surplus of proteins, certainly, but the timing and the type of proteins will also play a vital role. For our purposes, we are going to stay conceptual, however, so we can say generally that the intake must exceed the expenditure.
Because the effects of resistance training can last between 24 to 72 hours, any food consumed during this period could increase the anabolic response and contribute to hypertrophy. However, if there is inadequate food intake, this balance remains negative (catabolic) and the increase in the muscle mass is limited or negligible.
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Certainly, protein intake is an important component in this equation, but that’s just a part of it. What’s more important is the total amount of calories you eat in a day (or the total amount of food consumed). If there are not enough calories in your diet, our body simply uses those extra proteins as an energy source, which, much to any serious exercisers chagrin, means they definitely are not being utilized for growth and repair.
By contrast, when there are enough calories (from the carbohydrates and fats), proteins can carry out their role as fundamental elements of muscles, without being wasted as an energy source. This is referred to as the protein sparing effect, because we are allowing our body access to all the nutrients it needs and more so it can optimize what it is doing with each one.
For this reason, it is simply not enough to consume more protein, such as chicken, tuna or egg whites. It is necessary to increase the total caloric intake during the day.
These additional foods not only help in covering the small increase in proteins needed to maintain a positive balance and build muscles, but also provide useful carbohydrates, which are primarily just an energy substrate. Therefore, don’t limit yourself to foods rich in protein, as they are not only more expensive, but sometimes also unnecessary.
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Nutrition and Exercise Need to Make a Love Child For the Best Results.
The combination of small portions of amino acids (through protein) with carbohydrates, if consumed before or after a workout transiently increase the muscle protein anabolism. However, it is still yet to be determined if these responses result in a significant increase in the muscle mass during a longer period of training.
The most important effect of training and diet on muscle mass will be reflected by the manner and frequency of the exercise combined with intake of nutrients. Basically one or the other isn't going to do it for you. There needs to be some sort of a mix of both components in order to achieve specific goals.
If we had to look at it as a percentage, diet could be said to be responsible for 50% of goal progress. Exercise is maybe another 30%, and everything else (hormones, sleep, stress, genetics, etc.) are the other 20%. Of course this is all just my opinion, because there are far too many variables for any authority in the field to put an exact number on it, but diet is without a doubt a HUGE factor.
In short, it is necessary that the energy balance stays positive for a gain of muscle mass, while you employ a specific resistance training program. Research would suggest that increasing caloric intake 400-500 calories above what is recommended to maintain weight each day, is enough to increase muscle mass about 1 lb per week, provided that you maintain a protein intake of 1.6 - 1.8 g/kg body weight.
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