Nutrition for Lean Muscle Mass

How can nutrition / food help you gaining muscle mass? without putting on extra fat?  We have a full Protein breakdown HERE for more Info after you have read this.

Muscle Facts

  • Muscle is a Major Metabolic Tissue
  • Muscle Declines with Age
  • Eating Protein Alone Will Not Result in an Increase Muscle Mass
  • The Greatest Stimulus for Increasing Muscle Mass is Resistance Training
  • The Role of Protein is Then to Complement This Process
  • People Build Muscle Mass Depending on Volume and Weight of the Weights Lifted

How does Resistance Exercise effect Protein Balance

  • Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS) is the Synthesis of New Muscle
  • Muscle Protein Breakdown (MPB) is the Process That Breaks Down Muscle
  • The balance of MPS and MPB is the Net Protein Turnover which Determines if Muscle is Gained or Lost & is Constantly Occurring Throughout the Day
  • Negative Muscle Protein Balance = MPS < MPB = Lose Muscle Mass
  • Positive Muscle Protein Balance = MPS > MPB = Gain Muscle Mass

  • In the rested fasted state, MPB exceeds MPS to give a negative protein turnover
  • Fasted state + resistance exercise = increased MPS but still not sufficient to elicit a positive muscle protein balance
  • It’s only when resistance training and nutrition (protein) combine that positive protein turnover happens and muscle hypertrophy occurs

Daily Muscle Protein Balance

  • When protein or a mixed meal is consumed, protein synthesis increases and protein balance becomes positive
  • In the hours after a meal, protein balance becomes negative again when protein synthesis is reduced, and breakdown increases
  • Throughout the day, protein synthesis = protein breakdown and protein balance remains constant
  • However, following resistance exercise and a mixed meal, MPS increases to a greater extent than either resistance exercise or feeding alone
  • RE sensitises MPS to AA feeding, an effect that may persist for up to 24 h
  • Additionally, protein breakdown is Over the course of the day, there is a net positive protein balance and muscle accretion will occur

Signalling Pathways for MPS

  • mTor (Mammalian Target of Rapamycin) is the Signalling Pathway Responsible for Muscle Building
  • The Amino Acid Leucine is Responsible for Switching on this Signalling Pathway


  • Quality
  • Dose
  • Timing
  • Frequency of Feeding
  • Amount

Protein Quality

  • Quality of Protein Refers to its Amino Acid Content
  • The Leucine Content of Proteins is Particularly Important as it Drives MPS
  • 2-3g of Leucine Maximally Stimulates MPS
  • High Quality Sources Include Animal Proteins which Contain All the Essential Amino Acids and are High In Leucine (Meat, Chicken, Turkey, Eggs and Dairy Sources)

Protein Digestion

  • The Rate of Digestion is also Important when Considering MPS
  • Whey is a Fast Digesting Protein Source
  • Plant Protein has a Medium Digestion Rate
  • Casein Protein has Slow Sustained Digestion Rate

Consume 20-30g of Protein or 0.4g/kg/BW Per Meal for Maximal Stimulation of MPS.

Consume, 4-5 meals of 20-30g of protein evenly distributed during the day.

Protein When Training

  • Provided protein is consumed around training, it does not need to be within a 30 minute window after exercise
  • Practical considerations of consuming a protein shake around training
    • May have a small benefit
    • Convenient
    • Contributes to total daily protein intake
    • Routine/Personal preference
    • Prevents FOMO (fear of missing out)

Protein when Sleeping

During sleep our bodies are in a prolonged period of muscle breakdown.

Pre sleep feeding of a slow digesting protein (casein) may be:

  • Useful for increasing MPS and reducing MPB as it feeds the muscle while sleeping
  • A useful tool to complement high protein foods eaten throughout the day, to help people hit their daily protein targets

How Much Protein do you Need?

  • Sedentary individuals – 8g/kg/bw
  • Endurance athletes – 2-1.6g/kg/bw
  • Strength athletes – 6-2.2g/kg/bw

Are you getting enough protein?


  • Set Daily Intakes First
  • 4-5 Meals Per Day
  • 0.4g/kg Body Mass Per Meal
  • Complete Proteins (2-3g Leucine)
  • 20-30g Before or After Exercise
  • 20-40g Of Casein Before Bed
  • Should Focus First on Total Daily Intake
  • Then Protein Distribution (Evenly Spread)
  • Followed By Quality and Timing (Complete Protein Every 3-5 Hours)

What else should you consider for Building Muscle?

  • It is possible to build muscle mass in a caloric deficit but this is not optimal
  • The most efficient way to build muscle mass is to ensure a caloric surplus of 300-500 calories per day is obtained
  • Progressive overload during resistance training is also key to building muscle


  • Muscle Growth Occurs when MPS > MPB
  • Protein Feeding Around Exercise Maximises the Response of Skeletal Muscle to Resistance Exercise
  • Leucine is a Key Driver of MPS
  • The Dose, Timing, Frequency & the Amount of Protein Effects the Utilisation of Protein & its Effect on MPS