Protein is what provides the fuel to rebuild your muscles after a brutal workout. That fuel is called “amino acids”. Your muscles contain a lot of protein, so, essentially you are replacing that protein — just as you would replace the water in your system. Protein has a variety of other uses (especially post pump-up) including stimulating the immune system and increasing water absorption.
Consider that protein is the second most abundant substance in the human body and about 3/4 of it is located in the skeletal muscles.
Aside from helping muscles recover/adapt/grow, protein also increases long term energy stores in the body,
One study suggests that a 4:1 ratio of Carbs to Protein consumed within two hours of your workout is best.
See, what happens when you exercise, especially if you work out a lot, is that the muscle cells develop “microfissures.” A microfissure is a really small tear in the muscle you make when you work out a lot. Think of a muscle as a rope: it has a bundle of single muscle cells which run the entire length of the muscle. There are orbiting cells called satellite cells, which, when they detect a microfissure, attach themselves to the muscle cell, and actually transform into more muscle to repair the damage. This is the process through which muscles build. The reason you need protein is simple: these satellite cells need amino acids (which your body breaks protein down into, and can only get in adequate amounts from proteins) to form into new muscle.
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