Some athletes deplete their glycogen stores on a low-carb diet and want to force their body to burn more fat to lose weight. But they also risk muscle breakdown this way. It is not that easy to build muscle mass with a low-carb diet. Because fewer carbohydrates equals less energy and a lot of energy is now required for muscle growth.
Maintain muscle mass with protein
On the other hand, those who ensure sufficient protein intake, roughly between 1.5 and 2 grams per kilogram of body weight, will still maintain their muscle mass when following a low-carbohydrate diet. And anyone who wants to build extra muscle mass cannot avoid consuming enough energy, preferably from (good) fats.
Is supplementation with extra proteins necessary?
Suppose you follow a low-carb diet and you alternate between strength training and cardio training several times a week. Obviously you don’t want to lose muscle mass and you are therefore wondering whether you should take extra protein before or after cardio training. Or maybe you should forgo that altogether?
Well, anyone who eats normally and healthily usually already consumes sufficient proteins. Additional supplementation is then not necessary. During the day there is rarely a completely empty stomach. As a rule, the stomach contents always contain proteins. Our intestine therefore continuously processes portions of proteins and continuously supplies amino acids to the blood.
Cardio on an empty stomach
It is a known fact that athletes sometimes train on an empty stomach, in order to stimulate fat burning and quickly lose the last few kilos. The idea behind such training early in the morning is that you have not yet consumed carbohydrates, so that the body uses fat as an energy source to burn.
Well, the supply of carbohydrates and proteins does indeed stop temporarily at night, but it is not very wise to start training first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Instead, eat a light breakfast with proteins and carbohydrates. A breakfast in liquid form (milk, porridge) is the most obvious choice.
The use of protein shakes
If you are in a hurry in the morning, you can resort to a shake with whey hydrolyzate and dextrose. The supply of proteins starts after just 15 minutes. But use protein shakes wisely and realize that they contain energy. Protein shakes usually consist of about 80 percent pure proteins, the remainder consisting of fats and carbohydrates.
A typical protein shake (30 g powder) mixed with water usually provides 100 to 120 calories. If you want to lose weight, it is a good idea to mix the protein powder with milk or water. Fruit juice is also possible, but as a rule they contain a lot of sugar.
Is too much protein harmful?
Because good nutrition contains sufficient protein, special preparations are not necessary. More protein than the body needs can even be harmful because it puts unnecessary strain on our kidneys.