Building vs Breaking Down
Throughout the day your body switches between synthesizing and breaking down protein. To build muscle you want your muscle protein synthesis (MPS) to exceed protein breakdown rate (PBR).
When you are fasting your PBR rises, and if PBR is higher than MPS the result is muscle loss — negative protein balance. When you eat protein MPS goes up, and when MPS exceeds PBR the result is muscle gain.
The Basic Formula
PBR > MPS = muscle loss
MPS > PBR = muscle gain
How To Do It
The most important part of growth/retention is consuming enough protein, and you can optimize synthesis rates with numerous high-quality protein feedings during the day. These also ensure you retain muscle while you’re in a deficit.
For example (and I’m generalizing): whey protein elevates synthesis rates for 4 hours while casein does so for 6. The idea is to re-spike MPS rates when they begin to fall so MPR doesn’t exceed them. That’s one good reason whey is preferred during the day, while casein is better for sleeping/longer periods between feedings.
It’s About Speed
This isn’t to say if you decide to fast most of the day muscle starts “falling off” your frame. The body stubbornly holds onto muscle and fat. But, if you want faster progress in strength, size, and energy, numerous quality feedings is the way to go.
I don’t find myself hungry during the day and prefer to bank calories until my last meal. However, ensuring I consume protein several times a day makes a huge impact on my progress, especially when I’m trying to build muscle and strength.
Get them feedings in!
Michael Mastrucci (Follow on Instagram)
The Macro Diabetic, Host of Diabetically Speaking