Thick, bodybuilder-esque muscles aren’t for everyone, but
if you’re looking for a lean, toned physique, those same bodybuilders might
have the answer you’re searching for. A new review published in the British
Journal of Sports Medicine reveals that those trying to build muscle mass should
add significant amounts of protein to their diets—in addition to weight training—for
the best results, the New York Times
While watching bodybuilders gulp down protein shakes in the
quest for increased strength might seem unappealing, the results might be worth
it. Because protein is essentially the building blocks of our muscles, it makes sense that higher amounts of protein in our system would be beneficial to our muscles.
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the review, researchers used databases of published research to analyze experiments
that included both a control group, as well as participants
with a carefully tracked protein intake. A total of 1,863 people of all ages from 49 different
studies wound up being reviewed, with varying amounts of protein and their
sources of protein measured. After reviewing each of these studies, researchers found
that men and women who ate more protein while weight training did, in fact,
develop larger muscle mass than those who didn’t.
Now, it’s important to note that everyone in these studies
increased their muscle tone after weight training, however, the group who consumed higher amounts of protein ended up with an extra 10 percent of strength
and an extra 25 percent muscle mass compared to those who did not up their protein
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Interestingly enough, these findings were especially
prominent in people over the age of 40. Researchers theorize that this could be
because this age group was already deficient in protein to begin with and as a
result, allowed for the control group to show much smaller physical
improvements than the younger participants.
While more studies are needed to determine protein’s effects
on metabolism and weight loss, Rob Morton, a doctoral student at McMaster who led the
study, sums their findings to the New York Times perfectly: “We think that, for
the purposes of maximizing muscular strength and mass with resistance training,
most people need more protein.” So, add some more chicken, quinoa and beef into
your diet if you’re trying to tone up.