Protein is important for muscle building. But how exactly does muscle-building work? Read here the answer to the question of how your body converts proteins into muscles.
After a heavy (strength) training, your body needs proteins to recover. But what exactly does the body do with proteins? How does the body convert proteins into muscles?
Breaking down food —
When you have eaten a meal, your body breaks down the nutrients. Your body filters the proteins with enzymes in your stomach and small intestine, which break down the protein into amino acids. These amino acids are building blocks for muscle cells and all other body cells and can also be converted into energy in the form of glucose. Proteins are therefore both building material and both a source of energy.
Transport of the amino acids —
After being absorbed by the intestines, the amino acids are transported to your liver, which sends them into the bloodstream. The amino acids then continue their way to the muscles that ‘cry’ for amino acids after a tough training session.
Damaged muscles —
When you have trained, small cracks appear in the muscles. Your body, and in particular the immune system, then sends a signal to the stem cells and growth hormones to restore this. The broken muscle cells use the new supply of amino acids to ‘repair’ the micro-cracks in the myofibrils (bundles of protein wires). This process of muscle recovery is also called the protein synthesis of the muscle cell.
As your body builds up more proteins in the muscle cell, the amount of muscle mass (anabolism) grows. If the breakdown is greater than the build-up of amino acids, you will see that the muscle mass decreases ( catabolism ). Strength training is a constant process of reducing and building muscle mass. Constantly damaging and then recovering again with the correct nutrition and recovery time. Over time you will see that muscle mass increases.