Mistakes, Protocol, Pros and Cons
There is no bodybuilding without protein. Protein cycling(PC) is a strategy where bodybuilders alternate between high, low, and average protein consumption. A high-protein diet is a secret to hardcore bodybuilding, but it will not help you maintain the perfect body; protein cycling does. Your body needs various kinds of proteins to grow and strengthen muscle naturally and from supplements. Protein cycling is based on measured protein consumption from considerable amounts of protein and different sources, generally within a two-week cycle.
However, high protein consumption, for a long time, has been found to induce anabolic resistance. Athletes such as bodybuilders must pay attention to how their body rehydrates, replenishes, and repairs after every exercise. That will help you adapt to training faster than usual and reduces the chances of getting fatigued. Additionally, skeletal muscles normally mass with aging.
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Anabolic resistance refers to reduced muscle ability to stimulate protein synthesis. Aging comes with anabolic resistance even though feeding-induced simulation remains constant. However, some elements of feeding resistance affect their protein intake significantly for some people.
Helpful Facts in Protein Cycling
You should take one gram of protein per pound of body weight. Every fitness enthusiast must follow this religiously if they want to have an enviable body. Most fitness professionals have achieved a lot body-wise by ensuring their body is not short of proteins needed for MPS. Additionally, they can take only what will contribute to muscle growth without necessarily adding extra pounds of fat. If you weigh 250 pounds, you must take anywhere between 240 and 260 grams of protein daily.
Although this might be difficult to achieve due to many factors, it is important to ensure it is done four days a week. Otherwise, you might not complete the required muscle mass. Moreover, your exercise rate and intensity will dictate whether you need slightly more or less of the recommended amount. Elite bodybuilders, for example, can take up to 2 grams per pound of their body weight. If a bodybuilder wants to increase protein synthesis and nitrogen retention, they must take high-protein foods like beef, fish, chicken, etc.
Rapid muscle growth does not only stop at taking more protein. It involves taking them correctly and with carbs. Additionally, the diet must also include proper fat intake. The trick is to balance the three, not substituting one with the other. As mentioned earlier, taking too much or too little protein might not achieve the desired results as far as bodybuilding and fitness are concerned. It doesn’t matter whether your body is natural; only take the protein it can accommodate.
Also, people are wrong to assume that carbs are entirely bad and proteins are reasonable. As long as the balance is maintained, then you’re good to go. Fats, on the other hand, are a bit different. The fact about fats is that you will get fat if you take more fat, but the reverse is invalid. Depending on your routine, only take a certain amount of fat daily. For instance, you cannot take the same amount of fat when doing intensive exercises and light ones like just training your shoulders. You will need more energy to do deadlifts and other full-body routines; most of that energy comes from burning fat.
Protein Cycling Protocol
Excess fasting and protein cycling are undoubtedly the best way to slow down aging for bodybuilders. Additionally, there is growing evidence that protein cycling helps prevent cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. While the average human takes about 70 grams of protein daily, bodybuilders need about twice to maintain muscle mass. A typical bodybuilder protein cycling involves halving protein intake within the first five days and doubling it afterward. Depriving your body of proteins within the first five days enhances autophagy, which is your body's process of carrying out protein recycling.
Today's greatest bodybuilders have successfully stimulated more excellent protein retention through protein cycling. And that is precisely where the secret to their success lies. Unknown to many, protein cycling is not something easy to go about. The truth is that many people struggle to make this dream a reality, something that has dramatically affected their fitness careers. For bodybuilding newbies, we will show you the steps you can use for proper protein cycling.
Step 1: Reduce Protein Intake for the First 5 Days
For about five days, reduce the amount of protein you take considerably to maybe half the amount you used to take. However, it is recommended that you take not more than 1 gram of protein per 1 pound of body weight within those five days and see how your body responds to the change. It would help if you weren’t worried that you might shrink within those few days. No, it takes much longer for your muscle mass to show a significant reduction. However, be careful not to take too little protein during that period. You must not go below 0.5 grams per pound of body weight.
Although your body may change its metabolic rate to accommodate protein deficiency, there is a specific limit on how much change it can sustain. The resulting anti-catabolic effect from reduced protein metabolism has been found to enhance muscle growth. Regularly decreasing your protein intake induces muscle preservation in your body. At the same time, your muscles will be growing at almost the same rate as before. The result is increased muscle mass over a relatively short period.
Step 2: Increase Protein Intake After 5 Days
Up your protein intake after the first five days. Remember that the first step involved reducing protein consumption to induce enzymatic anti-catabolism. Once you switch gears in this second stage and start taking more protein, your body accumulates more protein and builds muscle. The enzymes that cause protein anti-catabolism will slow metabolism, while the protein consumption surge will enhance muscle growth. Bodybuilders with more than 200 pounds should start taking between 1.5 and 1.8 grams of protein per pound at this stage. You should increase the rate to 2 grams per pound daily for ten days if you’re on a two-week cycle. All this is geared towards helping the body achieve a hyper-anabolic state, highly enzymatic and ideal for muscle growth.
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Protein Cycling Mistakes to Avoid
Protein cycling may not achieve your desired results if you don’t do some things right. Here are some protein cycling mistakes to avoid.
1. Taking More Than You Can Sustain
Some bodybuilders are impatient and want instant transformation. While bodybuilding is about gratification, be careful not to overwhelm your body with proteins. Most protein foods promise quick results with certain restrictions in terms of what amount to take and how to take it. It is very tempting to bypass such requirements and do everything you like. That is disadvantageous from many angles. One is that you may take in extra calories, which may not help you achieve the ideal muscle mass.
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Similarly, taking protein foods with meager calories and too many of them may experience painful weight loss. You are not supposed to lose more than the recommended weight as a bodybuilder because it might take longer to recover. Most people will generally gain their weight back after six months. That is a bit too long in professional bodybuilding and fitness. It would be best never to take in more protein than your body can sustain.
2. Changing Programs Frequently
You can only engage in beneficial protein cycling if you stick to one working program. Unfortunately, many bodybuilders may hop from one program to another, which is not advisable. The reason is that you may erase the gains you have made in the previous cycling program when you shift to a new one. Additionally, you may not get any results if you are not patient enough to finish the program. There is no other secret to getting results in protein cycling except patience and consistency with the chosen program. Even when losing confidence and motivation, stick to your schedule anyway. You will be surprised at how fast you will get the desired results when you stick to one plan. Note that changing programs involves reducing the amount of protein to take in grams per pound of body weight.
3. Setting Unrealistic Goals
Aiming high but not having expectations that exceed your abilities is okay. You may never achieve anything if you form a habit of coming up with unrealistic bodybuilding goals regarding protein cycling. If you want to increase muscle significantly within a short time, you may be forced to consume more proteins than recommended. You may not only fail to achieve your ‘goal’ but also jeopardize your entire bodybuilding career. Weight loss and muscle gain take time, and setting your expectations too high will only bring frustration. The reason is that you will always feel like you are not getting what you deserve, even though you put a lot of effort into it.
4. Losing Focus as Soon as You Begin a Nutrition Program
Protein cycling to lose a certain amount of fat or attain a particular lean muscle mass is no walk in the park. You have to drive yourself every day with unwavering discipline. That kind of consistency will give you the results you need. You may not achieve the results 100%, but you will get up to 90% with character. Whether you will maintain your focus to the end of the program depends on the nutrition program you choose. For this reason, it is essential that you only go for a sustainable program, as indicated in No. 1 above.
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Protein Cycling Pros and Cons
Protein cycling bodybuilding is not without immense benefits as well as drawbacks. While you may not realize all the advantages you need, you are assured that more than 50% gains, at least mentioned, don’t make your expectations so high because this process takes time. The following are some pros and cons associated with protein cycling.
Pro: Most protein foods are easy to find
Most bodybuilders have tight schedules and do not get the time to get protein foods not found in their locality. Luckily, most protein isolates are pretty accessible and convenient. Take the case of a milkshake, for example; it is virtually at arm’s length in your nearest store.
Con: Protein powder doesn’t contain all the nutrients you may need
Even if you get a convenient protein supplement, you may still be forced to look for other food nutrients not found in it. That cancels the convenience of finding something like a protein powder shake somehow.
Pro: Older bodybuilders benefit the most from protein cycling
It has been established that older bodybuilders benefit the most from protein cycling due to their bodies’ enhanced protein sustainability. Most of them engage in highly intensive training exercises that enable them to take between 1.6 to 2 grams per pound of body weight and get more results. On the other hand, young bodybuilders can only take 0.5 to 1.2 grams of proteins per pound to get the desired results. It is doubtful that young bodybuilders will get any additional benefits from taking more than 1.8 grams per pound.
Con: You don’t need only supplements for protein cycling
You can attain the recommended protein intake by taking ordinary high-protein foods such as fish, eggs, beef, Almonds, lentils, soy milk, and many more. That means you don’t necessarily have to take protein supplements to achieve lean muscle mass or weight loss.
Pro: Protein Powder is the perfect supplement for weight loss
As you may already know, protein powder is a highly concentrated protein source for bodybuilders looking to lose weight. Pro bodybuilding requires constant muscle mass, and taking protein powder in their cycles ensures they do not accumulate many calories at the expense of muscle.
Con: You will come across protein supplements with too much sugar and other additives
Without sugars and other additives, you may not stand the taste of most protein isolates. Although these substances improve the taste and make the supplements worth eating, they are unsuitable for bodybuilders. Unless you are ready to put up with the awful taste of protein supplements left on your mouth, supplements, sugars, and other additives will always be a part of your protein cycling diet.
Protein Cycling Side Effects
Protein cycling is a relatively new concept, and little research has been conducted. The process has been found to have specific side effects on bodybuilders. However, it is essential to note that side effects happen in every aspect of bodybuilding. It is somehow normal, so you shouldn’t freak out about experiencing some of them unless they become life-threatening. Here are some common side effects associated with protein cycling:
- Possible kidney damage and malfunction
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of muscle
- Increased bowel movements and cramps
- Interference of the body’s nutrient absorption
List of Amazon Products for Protein Cycling
Medline ENT693SFOC Active Liquid Protein
BioTrust Low Carb Protein Powder
Thinner Leaner Stronger
As stated in this Article's first sentence, protein is king in bodybuilding and is the main dietary factor for every athlete. However, it is how you take it that makes the difference. Protein cycling becomes a viable option when you feel like your body is no longer retaining as much protein as necessary for your bodybuilding purposes. Let no one lie that protein cycling only works for a particular group. Every bodybuilder can benefit from protein cycling if they follow the proper protocol.
Bodybuilders work longer and harder than most athletes, which is why they need the means. The means here means more significant muscles to sustain the intensive workouts. The bodybuilder can maintain good form throughout the season with protein cycling. Pro bodybuilders no longer follow the tradition of taking one gram per pound of their body weight. The reason is that the industry is increasingly becoming more competitive, and only the best make it to the top.
Protein cycling has enabled them to beat opponents to the title by eating as much as 2.5 grams per pound of protein. However, there is always a limit on how much protein a bodybuilder should consume. The limit depends on how much protein your body can sustain to help you reach your full potential. That means you have to study your body to determine your protein intake limits.