Muscle building through nutrition: not only protein and carbohydrates are important

Building muscle through nutrition: not only protein and carbohydrates are important. Nutrition also plays an important role in muscle building. (Source: Thinkstock by Getty Images)

Muscles do not grow through sports alone, the right diet is just as important. This is the only way that the powerhouses can get the building blocks they need. We asked a sports expert what matters when it comes to building muscle.

If you want to build muscle mass, strength training alone will not get you far. He also needs to take a critical look at his diet: Lacking key macro- and micronutrients, muscles lack important tools for growth. Read here which foods and nutrients a strong musculature needs.

Muscle needs proteins and carbohydrates

"Muscles need above all the two macronutrients protein, that is, protein, and carbohydrates", says Professor Ingo Frobose of the German Sport University Cologne. "Proteins are the building blocks of muscles, carbohydrates provide the necessary energy for growth and are the ‘master fuel’ for athletes."

For muscle building: 300 kilocalories more per day

Only when the muscles have sufficient protein and carbohydrates at their disposal do they increase in strength and volume. For one kilogram of muscle mass, between 4.000 to 6.000 kilocalories necessary. "Athletes who want to build muscle should eat about 300 kilocalories more per day than their body needs", so the expert. Then the muscles are sufficiently supplied, without that the calorie plus in the fat depots stores itself.

The daily protein requirement is about one gram per kilogram of body weight, sometimes up to two grams after an intensive training session. The daily carbohydrate intake should be about five grams per kilogram of body weight.

Feeding muscles after sports

Frobose advises to supply the muscles with carbohydrates and proteins, especially in the first half hour after training, to promote their growth. "Carbohydrates stimulate insulin secretion. Insulin, on the other hand, has an anabolic effect, i.e. it builds up muscles and thus supports the utilization of the ingested proteins", he explains, and recommends consuming about 30 to 40 grams of carbohydrates and 15 to 20 grams of protein after training.

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If, on the other hand, the body lacks the necessary carbohydrates, the desired training effect will not occur. According to the expert, many amateur athletes put too much focus on protein intake and wonder why the muscle building. "In the absence of carbohydrates, the body engages in cannibalism and draws energy from fat stores or from the muscles themselves."

Do not overdo protein intake

Significantly more protein than the recommended amounts should not be supplied to the body in the long term. Not only that too much turns into fat. The bigger problem is that the body overacidifies. As a result, important minerals are lost.

"This can even lead to osteoporosis.", warns Frobose. "Cell function also suffers and the small blood vessels, for example in the kidneys, are also affected by too much protein if you overdo it permanently."

Combine different proteins for strong muscles

A mix of different protein sources is best for muscle building. Animal protein, for example in the form of meat, fish, eggs, curd cheese and cheese, can be combined well with vegetable protein sources such as legumes, oats, quinoa, amaranth, almond and oat drinks and tofu. "So the body is ideally supplied", says Frobose.

Amateur athletes do not need protein shakes

Protein shakes and protein powders are only useful when training very intensively, such as with professional athletes or bodybuilders, for whom the protein requirement is significantly increased. amateur athletes can cover their stores without any problems through their normal diet.

Four important micronutrients for muscle building

Besides proteins and carbohydrates, the micronutrients magnesium, calcium, potassium and sodium are also important for the muscles. Among other things, they support oxygen transport, promote muscle contractions and the formation of important hormones.

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Muscles must burn during training

But the best diet is of no use if the right training is missing. The sports expert recommends exercising two to three times a week to build muscle. It is important that the muscles used in the last repetition have a "proper burning" sensation feels. According to the expert, this is the only way to stimulate growth.

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After training, the muscles should have enough time to regenerate and grow. "This can take between 48 and 72 hours. You should give them this time if you want to see results", says Frobose.

Important advice: The information does not in any way replace professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. The contents of t-online can and must not be used to make independent diagnoses or to start treatments.

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