Protein is one of the most important components of muscle building. Protein is vital for maintaining good health, even if you don't work out. In recent years protein shakes has become the supplement of choice for most guys trying to bulk up and gain muscle mass. When you combine protein with exercise you can accelerate and enlarge the process that occurs naturally for all people. The real question is whether you actually need protein powder to gain muscle?

It might be good to look at the opposite scenario first. Just think of any person that mal nourished. They are usually very skinny with poor muscle development. In many African countries where there are food shortages, people get almost no protein in their diet - hence the lack of muscle and body mass.

So we all know that if you want to get jacked and build some serious muscle mass y need to give your muscles plenty of fuel. Protein is the main building block of new muscle and if you combine a high protein intake with a high intensity workout, you can build muscle quickly. The problem is just that the amount of protein you really need to build muscle this way is pretty high - higher than what many families eat in an entire day.

This is where protein powders come in. Although you don't need them, they have some great benefits.

1. It's cheaper
Eating enough to give you 500 grams of protein a day can be an expensive exercise. Protein powder is much cheaper than meals.

2. It's quicker and more convenient
Preparing 6 meals a day can be very time consuming and if you lead a busy lifestyle then just mixing up a protein shake is much more convenient and practical.

3. It comes without the added extras
Eating six meals a day can give you your protein requirements for muscle building, but unfortunately food tends to come with some added extras that can make you fat. The real trick to building muscle and getting ripped is to gain mass without gaining body fat. In this sense protein powder is much better.

When taking protein powder for muscle building you need to know exactly what the optimal intake is. So many guys overcook it with the protein powder. Apart from leading to a high level of acidity in your system, many protein powders are quite unhealthy. They add a lot of sweeteners, colorants and preservatives these days and taking too much of it can be harmful to your health.

Try to restrict your protein shakes to no more than 40% of your total protein intake. Also, try and mix it up by having a shake every other meal when you are on a 6 meal plan. Having a shake before and after your workout is also good practice and recommended by most experts are the best time to take protein shakes.

It's important to know that protein powder cannot replace the main sources of protein like fish, red meat, tofu and eggs. These whole foods are all great sources of protein and the added minerals and nutrients they contain play a vital role in the way their unique protein strings interact with your muscles. Yes, protein powder is important and even necessary but it should never replace your meals.

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