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sufri's avatar

How do you build muscle on a low protein diet?

Asked by sufri (7points) January 31st, 2011 from iPhone

I’m on vegetarian diet with a particular focus on limiting protein intake due to PKD (kidney disease). There’s a recommended cap of 0.8 grams per kg of ideal bodyweight. I’m looking for diet or exercise hacks to counter this.

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12 Answers

stratman37's avatar

Building muscle requires protein – no way around it. However, 0.8 grams per kg of bodyweight
is not bad. You’ll still get enough to build muscle. Now you have to send the message to the muscles that they need to build more. And that message is conveyed through weight lifting. NOT aerobic workouts, anaerobic, that is, using ATP stored in muscle as the fuel for your workout as opposed to fat, which is the fuel for low-intensity aerobic workouts. And you don’t have to join a gym either, just google some good, overall muscle-building workouts that you can do at home, with or without extensive weights. The key is low reps, high weight. NOT something you can lift for 20 or 30 times in a row, but something heavy enough that you have to stop after only 6 or 8.

Here’s a start:

Fyrius's avatar

Impressive. You seem to know your stuff.

Question, here: Why is it better to use energy from the ATP’s stored in your muscles than from your body fat? What’s the advantage?

stratman37's avatar

when you use fat stores for energy, as in low-intensity aerobic workouts, you do burn fat, and will get leaner. But if your goal is to build muscle, the depletion of ATP stores is what sends a signal to the muscles that “hey, we almost didn’t make it back there, we should probably make more muscle in case that ever happens again”. And that signal is best transmitted during the last couple of reps that you can do. Don’t stop at the point where it’s starting to get uncomfortable, go BEYOND that as much as you safely can. On your own, it will be by “cheating”, like swinging that weight (breaking from strict form), lowering the weight (or yourself, like in dips and pushups) as slowly as possible. With a partner, this is where spotting comes in handy. Then you can go as far as you possibly can, knowing your spotter is there to assist when you completely deplete the muscle. And the actual growth comes in the recovery, or repair phase. so if you wanna workout everyday, do arms one day, legs the next, etc. giving the muscles at least four days or so to rebuild.

Fyrius's avatar

Ah, so local ATP depletion is what actually makes a muscle “tired”?

Sounds like I still have a lot to learn about how muscles work.

robdamel's avatar

I wanna gain muscles in my chest, since i`m very skinny. I live in Brazil and a gym is expensive, and i only have 6 kilo dumbells at home. Any workouts i can do to overload my chest? I`ve been doing pushups, but thats quite a few reps, and not overload like you suggested

sufri's avatar

@stratman37 I’ve always been working out and have always relied on a healthy diet to supply the protein i need, no supplements. So i’m worried about the effect the reduction will have on my mid-sized body. I take it from your answer that workouts should always stress your muscles beyond their comfort zone, but safely, in order to build muscle. Thanks, that changes the way i approach my next workout.

Fyrius's avatar

Get a backpack, load it with the heaviest stuff you can find, do push-ups.
Books, bottles of water or bags of sand are heavy things that are easy to come by. If you can take apart your dumbbells, you can use the weight plates too.
Place your hands far apart to put the stress more on your chest muscles and less on your triceps.

wilma's avatar

@stratman37 so if I want to lose weight and also gain muscle? Low intensity aerobics and also weight training?

I wish I had @stratman37 for my personal trainer.

Fyrius's avatar

Hey, you’ve got a fan club growing here, hahaha.

robdamel's avatar

Excellent, thanks. I will do just that.

stratman37's avatar

@Fyrius – yeah! @wilma – losing weight and gaining muscle will SEEM like your getting nowhere, as muscle weighs more than fat, don’t pay too much attention to your scale for now.

You can actually gain weight – by adding muscle – (while losing fat), but you’ll end up much leaner, stronger, healthier, etc.

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