Monster Guide: Protein Synthesis Vs Protein Breakdown

“I’m training hard and eating protein! Why aren’t I getting any bigger?”

 Find yourself asking yourself this question? I am sure we all have at some point! I am assuming at this point you are already someone who trains regularly each week and who knows the importance of a high-protein diet for muscle growth.

 Have you successfully addressed the day-to-day battle your body goes through of protein synthesis vs protein breakdown? At any one time these competing processes will be taking place in your body!


Protein Synthesis

Protein synthesis is the structural formation of muscle tissue from amino acids as a response to progressive muscular overload, i.e. resistance training. This is a high energy consuming process and is performed at a higher rate with the correct nutritional balance including optimal dietary protein is consumed.


Protein Breakdown

Protein breakdown is a catabolic process whereby the body uses enzymes to break down muscle tissue back into amino acids for various purposes e.g. energy or removal of resistance training stimuli. These enzymes are stimulated by the presence of cortisol, whose job is to source proteins as a source of energy.

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So if we want to build muscle our goal needs to be that we are always in an anabolic state (state of building), where protein synthesis is greater than protein breakdown!



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So in the ideal scenario to increase NET muscle gain what do we need to do? Increase protein synthesis right?


To optimally increase muscle gain we need to tilt the scales as much as possible and increase protein synthesis while at the same time decreasing protein breakdown. This is the part where you realise it’s not just about how much protein you eat!

To optimally improve net muscle gain we need to consume a balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats to push a wide spectrum of muscle building variables in our favour. So don’t just focus on how much protein you eat, but also carbohydrates and fats along with their timing.

One of the most important times is post-workout. Here are my two favourite post-workout intakes:


Option 1:

1 x serving Efectiv MASS

500ml cold water

1 x serving Adapt Nutrition BCAAs


Option 2:

200g Arla Protein yoghurt

300ml full fat milk

40g oats

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About the Author

My favourite training techniques and styles include Y3T, FST-7 Principle, DTP, HIT, 5x5 Strength Programs. Over the last 9 years I have submersed myself in a bodybuilding life style, training alongside competitive bodybuilders and fitness athletes to fast track my knowledge. I have made it my goal to try and test the most popular and effective training techniques/programs, diets and supplement stacks to be able to provide solid advice supported up by own personal experience.
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