Eat more protein! That’s what you’re told the moment you start exercising. This advice is the same whether you’re trying to lose weight or gain muscle. Eat more protein. You probably have no trouble following it. Protein tastes unreal. Who doesn’t want to eat more steaks? Well, everyone except those vegetarians who look you straight in the eye and compare cauliflower to chicken. What many people don’t realize is that the protein game has levels.


Stage one protein

Stage one involves making your protein clean. This doesn’t mean you need to wash your chicken breasts. Instead, you want your protein to come from unprocessed, high-quality sources. You don’t want anything fried or made into shapes that are convenient to eat, or that look like log made from various animal body parts.


Stage two protein

Crush stage one and you can progress to stage two where your protein intake for the day gets tallied. The advice? You normally want to eat a single gram of protein per kilogram of desired bodyweight in pounds. For a brief period, this can be elevated, but for the most part his is the stock standard recommendation for anyone who wants to lose weight or build muscles. It’s difficult to tell how this may impact your kidneys, but the current research says it’s safe. Now you’ve hit the two initial stages, things start to revolve around clock watching.


Stage three protein lockdown

You’re getting all the protein you need then you want to refine this, so you figure out that it’s best to eat protein before and after your workout. It helps you recover. You train harder. Your muscles get everything they need to succeed. To do this you give yourself a protein supplement, usually of the whey variety because it’s the easiest and fastest to absorb. Simple. That’s protein done and dusted. You bracket your workouts with a solid hit of protein, and you’re done. Well, except you’re not.

New research in the journal Cell Reports has added an extra sub-level to stage three. They found that having protein at the right time of the day is critical for muscle growth.  When is that right time of day? In the morning when you first wake up. When high and medium levels of protein was given in the morning then it was the high protein group that gained the most muscle. They found that a high protein fix in the morning improved muscle volume and even improved grip strength, a marker for strength gains.


How to use it

Eat some eggs in the morning. Simple. They’re the best food you can eat when trying to increase your protein and you can safely have 2-3 of them to start your day. The researchers found that most people only have about 15 grams of protein in the morning but if muscle growth is the goal, then you should have roughly 28 grams. This is true for anyone looking to gain muscle, whether that’s a 21-year-old stud or a 64-year-old Cheryl from accounts who wants to keep her body feeling strong. The take home message is that breakfast is an essential protein opportunity so don’t waste it with a doughnut or breads that offer no help for your cause. If you’re trying to find the hunger needed to eat it then have a whey protein shake, because it will mimic the flavored you enjoyed as a youngster. You can still have your protein fix before and after training but think twice about leaving protein out of your morning routine. Your muscles will be lesser if you do.