We all dream of building a strong body without committing to a gym membership. Homegrown Muscles is all about building muscle at home. I am committed to helping you build the body of your dreams at home. This week we break down the need of using protein powder for home workouts. Which protein powder is best for muscle gain and what is the best protein on Amazon? Let’s find out.
First things first. In earlier posts of mine we discussed the three main components that are important to build muscle at home. The first constituent to reach your goal of building muscle at home is of course working out. Following a solid workout plan will enable you to start noticing results fast, as your body will become stronger and gain more endurance.
Second comes a balanced diet. Supplying your body with the nutrients needed to build muscle at home can make a major impact and bring you closer towards your goals in less time. Protein plays a huge role in your diet. More on this later.
Then comes the role of sleep and rest in general. Although working out and eating well make a great effective duo, giving your body enough time to rest and recover is just as important. Why? Sleep deprivation and restlessness can dramatically decrease your energy levels and lead to muscle weakness instead of muscle growth. Thus, you will become less active in the gym during the day and prone to getting tired much faster. Consequently, you will be completing fewer sets than you could have as your performance will continue to go on the wane. Therefore, it is crucial to get enough rest and remember: just because you are not lifting, does not mean your muscles are not growing. In fact, you grow when you rest.
As the U.S National Library of Medicine declared in a study published in 2017: “Good sleep quality is associated with greater muscle strength, while short sleep duration may be a risk factor for decreased muscle strength.”
All these different aspects seem fairly easy to adopt to build muscle at home. Today we focus on an important part of your diet: protein. Better yet, how to supplement with protein powder. To truly understand the process of protein shakes for muscle gain at home, learning the anatomy of muscles and the way they are built, is essential.
How do muscles grow?
Not all muscles are created equal. Your chest muscles differ from those in your arms, legs, and abs, for instance. This is why each part of the body requires a specific type of exercise routine in order to grow muscles effectively and without injuries. Besides that, the human body has around 650 skeletal muscles, among other types. The skeletal muscle is composed of muscle fibers, which are also formed of sarcomeres and myofibrils. This detailed structure is what contributes to the contraction of the muscle.
However, the ability to contract fast does not reflect the mass of the muscle. In other words, a powerlifter can lift heavier weights than a bodybuilder, and at the same time have relatively less muscle mass.
The process your muscles follow to grow consists of gaining more thickness, either by replacing or repairing the damaged muscle fibers during recovery time after working out. This repairing process takes place through the fusion of muscle fibers to form new myofibrils. Thus, muscle hypertrophy occurs as a result of the increasing number and thickness of myofibrils. Ergo, the higher the rate at which your body is synthesizing muscle proteins compared to breaking it down, the more muscles you are going to gain.
With that clarified, the question that naturally follow is: how does protein stimulate muscle growth?
Role of protein in muscle growth
The way protein aids in building muscles is simple. Proteins are composed of amino acids. These organic compounds play a role in many reactions in the body, including repairing the muscle damage. When you work out, you are making tiny ruptures in your muscles. This explains why you need to give your muscles time to recover and have a healthy dose of protein intake. Because when you supply your body with protein, it breaks it down to extract those amino acids to repair the muscle damage you inflicted during workout. This makes your muscles grow thicker and stronger after each session.
How much protein after workout do you need?
If you take less protein than your body needs, it will require more time to build muscle at home. Conversely, having more protein than your body needs may increase your risks of developing kidney stones, and gaining fat instead of muscle. Hence, why your regular protein intake must never be just random.
There is no one-size-fits-all protein intake, as the protein need for a individual highly depends on many factors, including your current weight, height, gender, hormone levels, and your workout frequency. However, a good evidence-based estimate would be 0.36 grams per lbs of bodyweight (0.8 grams per kg). This is the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein as reported by Harvard Medical School. The RDA represents the minimal amount of protein intake needed for healthy functioning. So you need plenty more to actually build muscle. To grow muscle, aim for at least 0.7 grams of protein per lbs of bodyweight (approx. 1.5 grams per kg). You can easily calculate the protein dose your body requires to build muscle at home by multiplying the above recommendation by your current weight.
Once that is settled, the next step would be to get an effective protein supplement that will allow you to build muscle at home safely without any risks. This is assuming your diet is in order and you consume plenty of protein with wholefoods. Diet over supplements at any time!
Protein shakes for muscle gain at home
‘Why would I need a protein supplement?’, you might be wondering. This is because it is hard to consume enough protein you body demands to effectively build muscle. A convenient fix is a protein supplement to fill the gap.
The benefits of protein shakes
There are, without doubts, many ways to get enough protein to function and build muscle at home. Today, one of the most popular ways to do so, is with whey protein shakes.
What makes whey an optimal protein powder for a home workout is its high efficiency. Whey is an excellent source of good quality protein. This ingredient, extracted from milk during cheese production, is known for its unique features that include quick digestion and absorption, in addition to containing all the amino acids crucial for muscle repair. Even though there are three main types of whey (hydrolysate, isolate, and concentrate), they all serve the same purpose and are directed towards one common goal: to complement your diet with the protein intake required. Therefore, whey protein shakes make one of the best solutions to promote muscle growth.
Not only that, but whey can also have additional benefits to your body besides helping you build muscle at home. These benefits range from lowering blood pressure thanks to its bioactive peptides, reducing inflammation due to its direct impact on the levels of C-reactive protein in the blood, while also boosting the activity of antioxidants in the body and their defenses by being part of the formation of glutathione.
Whey protein powder for a home workout will allow you to promote muscle growth and weight loss by maintaining muscle mass in the process. Additionally, it will help you burn fat fast by enhancing your metabolism, as well as decreasing appetite.
Unfortunately, with the variety of protein powders available on the market today, it has become more and more difficult to choose the healthiest one that will give you the results you have been seeking for a long time. Fortunately I got that covered for you. I did some research on Amazon protein powders.
The best protein shakes for muscle gain at home
Finding the best protein on Amazon can be a real struggle. There are literally hundreds of options with different flavors, ingredients and prices to consider. Pursuing your health goals to build muscle at home can be a long and difficult journey, but we can make it just a little easier when equipped with the right strategies and tools. Having an effective workout plan and a balanced diet is not always enough to sustain the results we desire.
When it comes to choosing protein supplements, there really is not a lot of difference between label A and B. Especially when you are just starting out, the incremental difference in details between the various protein powders are just too insignificant to account for. When I buy my protein I like to go with the one I am familiar with and that has a good price tag on it.
Now obviously, if it is your first time buying protein supplements, you are not familiar with the quality of any label. And what is cheap anyway? That’s why I do want to recommend a particular brand. The reason for this is that it is hard to know which protein brand you are going to like the most. In that case it is best to go with a somewhat more established brand that has received a lot of positive reviews from users. Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey is very good starter protein, for example.
The Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein shake answers to the needs of a large number of users by providing unique characteristics that contribute to muscle growth at home, and support the development of lean muscle mass. These characteristics range from being gluten-free, to combining whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate for optimal results, and adopting an any-time formula that allows you to take it whenever you see fit.
The reason I would recommend this product is because of its good name and reasonable price. Of course, you can be free to get any other brand of protein shake from Amazon, just as long as you know what you’re buying. So either go safe with Optimum Nutrition’s whey protein, or get any other from Amazon’s big protein collection!