Protein powders are the preferred choice of muscle-building supplements for most bodybuilders and those who want to put on mass through exercise. These powders are made from whey, casein or soy and are mixed with milk or water to create a shake. You can use these protein powders to gain weight, as a food supplement and as a method to increase muscle mass, however, using them alone may cause some problems such as dehydration. It is therefore necessary to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and healthy while you are building muscles and increasing mass.
Importance of Protein
Building muscle mass depends on your intake of protein. Most protein comes from the foods you eat such as beef, chicken, legumes and dairy products; however to speed up muscle mass growth, you can add protein powders to your diet. Proteins are made up of 20 amino acids; however, only 12 of those amino acids are produced by your body. The other eight are introduced into your system by ingesting additional proteins. In addition to the protein foods you eat, protein powders provide some of those essential amino acids. Without an adequate amount of protein in your system, you won’t be able to make the proteins needed to create stronger and bigger muscles or support other essential functions in your body.
Athletes recovering from an injury often depend upon protein powder to assist them in rebuilding and strengthening their muscles. Protein powder also aids in helping dieters and athletes maintain protein levels that may be depleted by too much exercise or not following a well-balanced diet plan. Too much protein powder may introduce heavy metals into your system, and can lead to health issues such as kidney problems, digestive issues and dehydration. Protein powders are mixed with liquids to help keep you hydrated. You need to include non-powdered proteins in your diet to maintain a healthy balance.
When you feel thirsty, drink water as soon as possible since this is your body’s way of informing you that you are becoming dehydrated. Water comprises at least 70 percent of your muscle tissues and is considered the most important nutrient for maintaining good health. On a cellular level, water is pushed into your muscle cells and the more water present in these cells, the better your muscles will function and grow in size. Dehydration has some serious negative consequences including fatigue, light-headedness, confusion and blood pressure problems. Without proper hydration, your muscles may cramp, your energy levels may plummet and the protein powder will be more difficult to digest.
Protein and Water - A Potent Combination
When consuming protein powders to build mass, you need to increase your water intake. Normally, you are encouraged to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to maintain proper hydration. While you are training and after you've consumed protein powders, drink at least 8 ounces of water every 15 minutes to ensure that you are properly hydrated. If you are taking protein powders that include creatine and other supplements as well as protein, your muscles will be able to absorb more water so you can double your water consumption to a gallon of water per day. Perhaps the best way to calculate your water consumption need is to multiply your body weight by 0.6 to determine your daily water intake in ounces. This method will help you keep hydrated as you work out and use protein powder to supplement your protein intake to build muscle mass.
- Joe Weider’s Muscle & Fitness: 10 Nutrition Rules for Beginners: Joe Wuebben
- Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: Effect of Hydration State on Strength, Power, and Resistance Exercise Performance: Daniel Judelson et al.
- CBS News.com: Could Protein Shakes Harm Your Health?
- Medical Online: Nutrition: Protein Powders