Updated: Nov 14
While it may be obvious that building muscle happens in the gym, what about enhancing your muscle growth outside the gym? Pairing your exercise routine with your nutrition, specifically your daily protein intake & timing of meals throughout your day can have a significant impact on your rate of muscle protein synthesis. Let's chat about how your can optimize your protein to enhance muscle growth & burn fat outside of the gym, by making small changes in your daily eating habits. Grab your beverage of choice & let's dive into how to enhance muscle growth & burn fat outside of the gym, with your online nutrition coach and remote personal trainer!
Enhance Muscle Growth & Burn Fat
You may be familiar with the concept that muscle burns fat and the concept of muscle protein synthesis validates this concept. So, what is muscle protein synthesis?
Let's break this down:
Synthesis: the combination of parts to make a whole
Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS): the formation of muscle proteins (or lean muscle tissue)
Your body is always in a constant state of protein synthesis and protein breakdown, meaning that for any given hour in a day, your body is in a state of muscle protein development or muscle protein breakdown (breaking down muscle). Your rate of each is primarily dependent heavily on your exercise & nutrition, among other factors such as age and preexisting conditions that also have an impact. Are we on the same page? Let’s keep going & comment below with any of your protein or MPS questions!
MPS & Exercise
If you’re focusing on strength training, where building muscle is the primary focus, your rate of muscle protein synthesis or development will be higher than your rate of muscle protein. This is because with strength training, the body is undergoing added resistance or weight, imposing stress on the muscle fibers causing them to break down while undergoing a workout. This is most commonly noticed as muscle failure or fatigue. Consequently, muscle fibers will naturally begin to repair themselves (muscle protein synthesis) and now, given the increased stress or demands placed on the muscle, they are going to begin to develop a “thicker” or “tougher” layer of muscle fiber, hence, muscle growth. So conclusion here is: the more the body is placed under increased demand (progressively increasing weight & resistance training), the greater the rate of development muscle will grow.
Alternatively, let’s chat through what muscle protein synthesis looks like for a non-strength trainer or a sedentary individual who may remain inactive for a long period of time, such as consecutive months or years. The rate of muscle protein breakdown will be higher than the rate of muscle protein synthesis due to the lack of increased demand and adaptation (a.ka. stress, resistance, weight) on the body. This makes it more challenging to build muscle & consequently burn fat while developing lean muscle tissue to provide that “toned, strong” physique.
MPS & Nutrition
Now let’s hone in on how your nutrition timing can impact MPS & your body’s innate ability to produce lean muscle. While daily protein intake & protein quality certainly make an impact, protein timing may also want to be considered in order to best target Optimal MPS. Consuming protein at more structured times throughout your day is going to elevate or increase your rate of muscle protein synthesis and decrease your rate of muscle protein breakdown, supporting you in building lean muscle mass while outside of the gym. Structuring high protein meals more evenly throughout your day can ensure your anabolic threshold (signal optimal MPS has been met) is maintained throughout the entire day. For example, a 2018 review of several studies resulted in optimal muscle protein synthesis when a high protein meal of at least 21 grams of protein was consumed every 3 hours for a total of four meals per day. By consuming a high protein meal every 3 hours, the anabolic threshold could be maintained throughout the entire day. In a general sense, whileI do believe 21 grams of protein per meal is on the lower end, optimizing protein timing and increasing your rate of muscle protein synthesis is definitely going to put you in the right direction when it comes to building & sustaining lean muscle.
Where & how to start today
Here’s what you can do:
Incorporate strength training 2-4x a week into your workout routine.
Focus on lean, high protein meals & snacks.
Ensure you’re eating at least a complete high protein breakfast, lunch & dinner and 1-2 moderate protein snacks in your day based on your schedule to ensure you’re reaching optimal MPS on a daily basis.
Here’s HOW you can get started:
Do you have a current strength training routine? If yes, how many times per week & for how long per session, what does this look like & is there room for improvement? If no, check out The Movement Membership- this is a great place to get started if you're low on time & struggling to build consistency around exercise. If you're interested in working together 1:1 with me as your remote personal trainer, schedule a consultation with me here.
How often are you eating meals throughout the day? Are you having a consistent, high protein B/L/D/Snack(s)? Do you know how much protein you’re consuming in a day? If you’re unsure, consider scheduling a 1:1 strategy session with me to dive into a custom macronutrient profile to support your lifestyle & goals (linked below).
3. Develop your nutritional education. The more you learn about science backed nutritional practices, the easier it will be to apply in your own life and achieve your goals. If all things nutrition feels like a struggle for you and you’d like to develop a balanced nutrition routine that supports your goals & that you enjoy, check out my online nutrition course BITES, that you can take totally at your own pace or join the VIP program for 1:1 support.
You can achieve your goals while expanding your nutritional education with the BITES Self Study online nutrition course or the VIP Cohort! Access the self study online nutrition course and get started instantly or for a more tailored, 1:1 approach to your goals & learning, add yourself to the waitlist for the next VIP cohort!
Click HERE to learn more about the program and if it’s a good fit for you!
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