How Does Protein Become Muscle?
Post at 18:06 - 11/04/2018

When it comes to post-workout supplements, it appears that size isn't absolutely everything

 

Are you guzzling down extra-large protein shakes without an action plan? It may be time to hit pause: new science from the University of Stirling claims it's the exercise you're doing, not the size of your muscles, that dictate your protein requirements. Split session? Just 20-25g of protein is needed. Whole-body workout? Take it up to 40g. So why is this important, and how does protein turn into muscle, anyway? We've got a gainsy quintet of facts for you to digest.

1. Let's break it down
Once your plate's clean, enzymes in the stomach and small intestine break protein apart to form peptides. These chains of amino acids are used as bricks and mortar by your body to rebuild muscle fibres. The harder you train, the more you need.

2. Express delivery
Next those amino acids are shipped straight to your liver, which propels them back to your hungry muscles. Your body's a far more efficient workforce than those cowboys you hired to do your extension last year.

 

3. Send for help
Think of your muscles as bundles of long fibres – training causes microtears that signal your immune system to send out the repair team (stem cells and growth hormone). The building materials (aminos) are then used to patch up the damaged areas.

4. Your body, remodelled
Your DNA acts as a site foreman: it calls up specific amino acids and directs their deployment. Your muscle repair team uses the fresh supply of aminos to weave myofibrils (bundles of protein filaments), which are critical to muscle contraction.

5. Construction crew
The newly made myofibrils fuse with the damaged areas of your muscle fibres. But microtear repair is no bodge job: the myofibrils also help make the muscle bigger and stronger than it was before. Because if a job's worth doing, it's worth doing well.

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