Protein is sometimes called “the muscle nutrient” because it contains the essential elements needed by your body to build muscle mass. This is one of the most basic concepts in bodybuilding nutrition as even beginner bodybuilders quickly learn and understand the importance in consistently eating foods that are high in protein. But what many bodybuilders do not know is that not all proteins can be used by your body to build new muscle tissue.
Proteins are made up of up to 22 different amino acids. When you consume protein, your body immediately begins breaking it down into its amino acid components that will be used to carry out a number of bodily functions – one of these functions is building and repairing muscle tissue. Of the 22 amino acids that exist, fourteen of them are naturally produced by your body, while the other eight are not. These other eight amino acids are called essential amino acids because they must be provided to your body. All 22 amino acids must be present for your body to build muscle tissue, and if you are not consuming protein sources that contain all eight essential amino acids, you could be depriving yourself from achieving optimum muscle growth.
When following an anabolic diet, you want to make sure that the majority of the proteins you consume are complete proteins that contain all eight essential amino acids. As a general rule, meats, fish, poultry, dairy and whey all contain the essential amino acids and are perfect for muscle growth. Protein that comes from any other source will likely not contain all of the essential amino acids necessary to build muscle. Nuts, fruits, greens, beans, rice and grains are all examples of incomplete protein sources. These are all great foods that are full of nutritional value, but the protein they will provide will be inadequate for building muscle.
If you are looking to pack on muscle mass and get ripped, make sure that the majority of the protein you are feeding your body comes from complete proteins that contain all of the amino acids necessary for muscle growth. Eating incomplete proteins will lead to you missing out on some serious muscle growth.