The science of protein intake for effective muscle building!

Protein intake plays an essential role in muscle building and regeneration after training. The quality, quantity and distribution of protein intake influence muscle protein synthesis and therefore the muscle building process. This article provides an in-depth look at the complexities of protein intake for muscle building and explains various factors that should be considered.

Proteins and their role in muscle building:

  • Amino Acids and Muscle Growth: Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks for muscles. They are crucial for the repair and growth of muscle tissue after exercise.
  • Anabolic Effects of Proteins: Proteins trigger muscle protein synthesis, the process that stimulates muscle growth and reduces the breakdown of muscle tissue.

Optimal protein intake for muscle building:

  • Proteins and training intensity: During intense training, the need for amino acids for muscle repair and growth increases. For building muscle, 1.6-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is often recommended.
  • Distribution throughout the day: Distributing protein intake evenly across multiple meals can optimize muscle protein synthesis and promote consistent muscle growth.

Protein sources and their importance:

  • Animal proteins: Meat, fish, eggs and dairy products are rich in essential amino acids and are often considered complete proteins that provide all essential amino acids.
  • Plant proteins: Legumes, nuts, seeds and grain products are important sources of protein for vegetarians and vegans, but sometimes do not provide all essential amino acids in sufficient quantities.

Timing and context with training:

  • Pre-workout protein: A small amount of protein before exercise can stimulate muscle protein synthesis and reduce muscle breakdown during exercise. It is recommended to consume a protein shake 30 minutes before training.
  • Post-Workout Protein: Quickly digestible protein after exercise can support muscle recovery and accelerate the muscle growth process.

Additional factors to optimize protein intake:

  • Combination with carbohydrates: A combination of protein and carbohydrates after training can replenish glycogen stores more quickly and improve muscle protein synthesis.
  • Fat and Protein Intake: Healthy fats can promote the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, which are important for muscle recovery.

Individual adjustments and security:

  • Individual needs: Protein needs may vary depending on individual factors such as type of training, training intensity, age and gender.
  • Side effects and safety: Moderate protein intake is safe for most people. However, excessive consumption can cause kidney strain.

Various examples of how a strength athlete could meet their protein needs:

Example 1: Morning routine of a strength athlete

5:30 a.m. - Breakfast:

  • A classic breakfast for a lifter might consist of three scrambled eggs with spinach and a slice of whole wheat bread.
  • The scrambled eggs provide high-quality animal protein and the slice of whole grain bread complements the meal with carbohydrates.

8:30 a.m. - Snack:

  • A snack could be plain yogurt with berries and a drizzle of honey.
  • The yogurt provides additional protein from milk and the berries provide antioxidants and carbohydrates.
  • You can also drink a protein shake .

Example 2: Post-workout renewal

11:30 a.m. - After training:

  • After training, a meal consisting of grilled chicken breast fillet, quinoa and steamed vegetables such as broccoli or asparagus could be eaten.
  • The chicken provides the body with high-quality protein, quinoa offers complex carbohydrates and the vegetables provide micronutrients.

Example 3: Vegan muscle building

2:00 p.m. - Lunch for a vegan:

  • A meal for a vegan athlete might consist of lentil curry with brown rice and a side of steamed kale.
  • Lentils offer high-quality vegetable protein, whole grain rice supplements with carbohydrates and kale provides important nutrients.

Example 4: Evening relaxation

7:00 p.m. - Dinner:

  • An evening meal might consist of grilled salmon with mashed sweet potatoes and steamed asparagus.
  • Salmon offers omega-3 fatty acids and high-quality animal protein, sweet potatoes provide carbohydrates and asparagus provides important nutrients.

Example 5: Snack before bed

9:00 p.m. - Before bed:

  • A snack before bed could be a low-fat quark with chopped nuts and a little cinnamon.
  • The quark provides slow-digesting protein, the nuts provide healthy fats and additional protein, while the cinnamon improves the taste.


Protein intake is a critical factor for building muscle. The optimal quantity, quality and distribution throughout the day can maximize muscle protein synthesis and therefore support muscle growth. It is important to consider individual factors and ensure a balanced diet to achieve the best possible results.

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