BY: Danielle Roberts
Maximum anabolism is ideal for muscle growth, strength and recovery, and the key is to keep the body tilted towards anabolism is to increase muscle protein synthesis.
Protein synthesis is a process where nitrogen from amino acids is arranged into structured proteins to create muscle growth. The more efficient this process, the more you build muscle. Protein synthesis requires two main criteria:
- Training- using the muscle
- Nutrition- a sudden increase in amino acids signals muscles to repair and grow.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Protein Pulse feeding is the use of fast proteins to spike amino acids in the bloodstream in order to increase muscle protein synthesis. The main way to do this is by ingesting anabolic dense meals often throughout the day. Basically anabolic density means more protein is taken up in less time. A good example of this is whey protein. Whey is broken down and absorbed quicker than casein in the same time, therefore it has a higher anabolic density.
The trick with protein pulsing is that you cannot eat a protein with a meal, as fat or carbohydrates, or even slow digesting proteins will delay digestion, and prevent a spike in amino acids. Ideally a protein pulse plan starts with having whey protein in the morning. Upon waking, we are usually in a catabolic state. To put the body into a more anabolic state, drinking a fast digesting protein, such as whey, is a good idea. Thereafter, taking in fast digesting proteins (whey, cottage cheese, egg whites) every 2-3 hours throughout the morning, helps ‘inject’ the muscles with amino acids. Once this has been done for about half a day, more balanced meals including protein, carbohydrates and fat can be consumed, making sure the protein content of the meal remains between 25g – 60g.
6am: 25g protein from whey (in water)
8am: 50g protein from whey (in water)
10am: 3 egg whites scrambled
12pm: lunch meal e.g. 200g grilled chicken with baked sweet potato and salad
2pm: FUTURELIFE® High Protein SmartBar
5pm: 25-50g protein from whey (in water) post gym
7pm: dinner meal e.g. 200g grilled fish with brown rice & steamed vegetables
This protein pulse idea proposes that the body will be flooded with amino acids which will increase muscle protein synthesis. Another upside to this is more metabolically active muscle tissue, which means the body burns more calories, and thus more fat.
While research is still fairly new, protein pulsing then gives one the opportunity to try build lean muscle mass more quickly with fairly little effort in terms of preparing laborious meals. It is certainly worth a try for those looking to increase their lean muscle mass, but should ideally be carried out with consultation of a registered dietitian to ensure that nutritional requirements are met.