May whey protein help build muscle

Muscle building and targeted protein intake

In addition to a sport-appropriate total protein supply, the right timing with the right protein type and amount for the situation is decisive for a targeted, training-supporting use in muscle building.

Protein for muscles, immune system and hormones

Approx. 20% of a muscle consists of protein. It is required for building, maintaining and repairing muscles after training, competitions and for targeted strength training. Athletes depend on the perfect interaction of the protein-based contractile elements of the muscle tissue. A high-quality protein supply is also necessary for the production of hormones and enzymes as well as the immune system. If the protein supply is inadequate overall, the risk of injury and infection increases, the ability to recover is reduced and regeneration after training and competition takes significantly longer than usual. A meaningful strength training is out of the question under these circumstances.

A fifth more protein, mostly independent of the existing total intake, is required for strength training, for new, high-intensity training units and when starting alternative training such as core or crossfit training. A targeted adjustment of protein intake to changed training stimuli is therefore urgently recommended for performance-oriented athletes.

Protein: the important thing is the quality

The biological value, a kind of quality of the protein, results among other things. from the amount and type of protein building blocks in the food, the amino acids. Basically, animal protein sources are of higher quality than vegetable ones because they contain more essential amino acids. The hen's egg has the highest protein quality of a single food, ahead of meat and fish. The protein quality of plant-based soy protein is comparable to that of milk and cheese.

The combination of animal and vegetable protein sources significantly increases the protein quality. This is easy to do with protein-rich bread, e.g. with "Wir für Deutschland Brot", the "official bread partner" of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) and cheese or quark as a topping.

The combination of purely plant-based foods also significantly improves protein quality. In combinations of rice with legumes such as soy or beans, millet with chickpeas or pea soup with bread rich in protein, high protein qualities are also achieved.

Despite the better quality of animal protein, it is recommended to emphasize the vegetable protein sources and to cover more than half of the total protein intake with them. The higher proportion of plant-based foods supports the carbohydrate emphasis recommended for active people when choosing food and the proportion of important secondary plant substances.

More protein for athletes

The recommendations for protein intake for healthy adults are currently 0.8 g protein / kg body weight per day. Regular exercise increases the protein requirement. Physical activity also consumes more energy. Athletes are therefore “allowed” to eat more. With a varied, needs-based food selection, more protein is consumed accordingly.

Depending on the intensity, duration and frequency of the training, active protein amounts of 1.4 g / kg to 1.6 g / kg body weight per day are recommended. Example: With a body weight of 80 kg, 1.4 g / kg body weight corresponds to approx. 112 g protein per day. This amount is achieved, for example, by consuming 1 serving of muesli (7 tablespoons) with a glass of milk, 1 turkey schnitzel with noodles, sauce and vegetables, 3 slices of "Wir für Deutschland Brot" topped with lean ham and low-fat cheese, an egg and 1 Tbsp nuts.

If fish and meat, eggs, milk and milk products such as quark, cheese or whey, cereals, bread and legumes are regularly on the menu, it can be assumed that there is sufficient protein for the basic supply.

There is a defined additional need for protein in performance-oriented endurance sport, as more amino acids can be used directly for energy generation. Master athletes / athletes in senior classes who specifically want to build up muscle mass also need more protein than younger athletes for optimal adaptation processes to the training stimulus.

Additional protein is necessary for strength training

If additional muscle mass (strength training) is to be built up in a targeted manner, an at least 20% higher amount of protein is recommended to support muscle development - regardless of how high the protein intake was before changing the training!

The use of whey protein, also known as whey protein, is ideal here. It is particularly quickly available to the muscles to build up protein and provides a high-quality amino acid profile. Whey protein, as well as milk and dairy products, are therefore better suited to strength training than, for example, meat.

Milk and dairy products are the foods of choice for consumption before and after weight training. Plant-based sources of protein such as amaranth, oats, chia seeds, legumes, protein-rich bread and nuts are also recommended.

Timing and quality decide

In a muscle building phase, each main meal should provide at least 20 g of protein. Around 20 g of protein or 0.3 g of protein per kg of body weight are also useful when it comes to strength training. One part can be consumed before and another directly after training. Consumption in close proximity to training is one of the decisive factors. The impulse to build muscle persists for up to 48 hours after strength training. But the activity of the building up enzymes already decreases after four hours. Without a timely protein supply, muscle building is therefore slower.

Basically, the protein requirement should be covered by natural foods. In special situations, e.g. B. during a training camp, the targeted use of special protein preparations with a high quality amino acid profile can be considered. The right combination of amino acids is important here. With specially formulated preparations, portion sizes of 9 g immediately after training seem sufficient.

The proportion of the so-called branched-chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine is important. These amino acids are also known as BCAAs (= Branched Chain Amino Acids). A high leucine content is particularly important for the muscle-building effect. Athletes are advised to eat a high protein diet with high levels of leucine. In the basic supply, foods such as meat, fish but also legumes such as soy ensure an adequate leucine supply. Protein quantities of up to 6 g BCAA and a high leucine content of 20 g total protein per serving directly after strength training can also be achieved with "normal" foods such as a milkshake made from milk and quark.

Protein: amount and type vary

By cleverly combining different protein suppliers, the protein requirement for targeted strength training for athletes in all sports and disciplines can be covered with natural foods. It is important to increase the total protein consumption during intensive training, muscle building or strength training. Muscle building should be supported with around 20 g of rapidly available protein with a high-quality amino acid profile for all aspects of training. In addition, an adequate protein intake of at least 20 g protein must be ensured with each meal, but now with the focus on a high protein quality. The combination of animal and vegetable protein sources is ideal.