Allow me to introduce…Collagen, the underdog powerhouse
There’s a powerful new supplement on the market which isn’t actually new at all. A powerhouse when it comes to building muscle, Collagen is starting to truly shine.
It’s like this: Remember that misunderstood kid back in high school who was picked on, called a nerd, etc., then eventually became a multimillionaire (and possibly your boss’s boss)? Yeah, neither do I. It was just one of those weird tropes in movies from the early 2000’s. But, if that underestimated kid did exist (and in supplement form), he/she would be Collagen.
In other words, we’ve been underestimating how powerful Collagen is in all aspects of health and fitness, including how it helps build muscle and accelerate fat loss.
Since it first came on the market as just another beauty supplement, it’s been pigeonholed into something women should take for their hair, skin, and nails.
Well guess what, history. This is the 21st century, and we refuse your gender norms now! Hashtag progressive AF.
With the advancement of science (excluding political science of course), we’ve recently discovered some truly magnificent benefits associated with taking collagen. They are:
- Improved protein synthesis
- Better recovery time
- Deeper sleep
- Beautiful hair, skin, nails (duh)
- Improved bone and joint health
- Fat loss
- Boosts gut health
- Increase in brain function
- Clinically proven to help your chances with that gym crush you’ve been too shy (or respectful) to talk to.
- Note: when approaching gym crushes, there are five rules you must adhere to (but that’s another blog for another time)
- Oh, and helps build muscle
Do me a favor. Read that list one more time. Awesome. Now go make some gains and get yourself on that collagen game (code goheromode20 for 20%).
If you dig learning and want to understand more, and figure out how the hell I’m justifying such grandiose claims, read on.
For the record, this post is primarily going to be about Collagen’s effect on muscle growth, fat loss, and sleep. It gets enough hype for the other stuff. And, I’m biased.
How does Collagen help build muscle and what is it?
GET READY FOR SOME KNOWLEDGE TO DROP…
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the entire body, making up 25-35% of the total protein in the body. Often referred to as a complex protein, Collagen plays host to 19 different amino acids. Of those 19 amino acids, there are four that make up the highest percentage. Here they are (as well as some of their benefits):
- Proline: Proline plays a major role in ensuring your body’s running smoothly. Proline helps protect integrity of blood vessels, improve joint health and has various cardiovascular benefits (I’m looking at you, fellow cardio lovers).
- Glycine: To ensure our cells function properly, glycine helps build healthy DNA strands. It’s also one of three amino acids that form the powerhouse known as creatine, an amino acid so anabolic that zealous vegan fit-gurus will claim you’re taking steroids. But they’re vegans, so really, what do they know?
- Glutamine: Glutamine is both created within our muscles and also obtained from food sources. It can help prevent anxiety, sleep disorders/insomnia, concentration, poor digestive health, a weakened immune system and low energy. According to a report printed the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it’s been shown to have positive effects of production of growth hormone, which can improve aspects of mental health, such as helping with release of GABA that boosts feelings of “inner calm and tranquility.”
- Most importantly, nitrogen, created by glutamine in high amounts, also helps with wound healing and prevents muscle wasting and joint pains.
- Arginine: Arginine breaks down into nitric oxide within the body, an important compound for arterial and heart health. Arginine has also been shown to improve circulation, help strengthen the immune system and has a positive influence on male libido.
- To be clear, when circulation is improved it means better blood flow, which means better pump. And, as Arnold once said…
Knowing that alone is exciting, since Glutamine and Arginine are such well-known, and helpful amino acids in building muscle and burning fat. So much so that we actually have some in our raw line (shameless plug).
Collagen as a protein source
When building muscle, there’s an important concept to understand and focus on. It’s called nitrogen balance. Here’s how it works:
- Nitrogen positive (more nitrogen than you’re losing) = muscle growth
- Nitrogen negative (losing more nitrogen than taking in) =muscle loss
Here’s where shit gets crazy. Per gram, Collagen has a higher nitrogen content than Whey.
Wait, are you saying what I think you’re saying?
I don’t read minds (except for on Monday’s and Wednesdays when I do palm readings), but likely, yeah. I’m saying what you’re thinking I’m saying.
What I’m saying is that Collagen is actually more powerful than Whey on a gram per gram basis (when it comes to eliciting a positive nitrogen balance). Were you listening to that?! Here, I’ll repeat it, because my mind was bucking blown when I heard this too. Gram per gram, Collagen is more powerful than Whey when it comes to eliciting a positive nitrogen balance. And what do we now know about positive nitrogen balance? Oh, right.
Positive Nitrogen Balance = Muscle Growth.
What’s synonymous with muscle growth again? Gains, fat loss, improved performance, look better naked. And look better in your lulu too, if that’s your thing (I personally prefer these).
Don’t get me wrong, Whey Protein still plays its own role, given that it’s a faster digesting protein than Collagen, but I definitely think Collagen needs to be added in to the mix. In fact, I’d suggest throwing out your lame casein protein and throwing Collagen in instead.
Hint: casein protein currently sucks, has always sucked, and always will suck. Also, it tastes chalky and terrible. Suck factor levels way over 9,000.
How to build muscle with Collagen by improving sleep
- Do you ever feel like you’re not getting enough sleep?
- Do you feel like you’ve hit a plateau in any of these following areas?
- Muscle growth
- Fat loss
- Creative output
If you answered yes to the first question, more likely than not you answered yes to the second one. I know this because I’m magic. Kidding. It’s simple causation.
When you lose sleep, or don’t sleep well, everything else gets bucked up. That’s because when we sleep, our body does a lot of cool stuff.
- Releases growth hormones that repair damaged tissues,
- including the muscle tissues you tore apart in your most recent training session
- Reduces the amount of stress hormones
- Adjusts the hormones that control appetite
- Cravings are worse when you don’t have enough sleep
- Your brain will organize and correlate memories (including information)
Collagen’s role in sleep.
Collagen is extremely high in Glycine, an amino acid which has a powerful effect on the brain, specifically the Hippocampus, an area of the brain responsible for alertness, articulation, and focus.
Now, right beside the Hippocampus are two important receptors:
- GABA (Gama-butyric acid): responsible for allowing hippocampus to relax.
- Glutamate: excitatory, brain on hyperdrive. Burns itself out
In the Glutamate state, you end up in an anxious state, borrowing a lot of energy from tomorrow to utilize today. Obviously we don’t want that, but at the same time, we always have a lot of tasks to complete, right?
Well, that’s where Glycine comes in. Glycine actually helps produce GABA, in turn allowing us to sleep better. Now, some of us can’t afford to sleep like princesses for 8-10 hours a night, but guess what. GABA not only puts us into a deeper sleep, it puts us there FASTER.
Collagen, the Champion
Now that you know a bit more about just how many benefits there are to this underdog powerhouse
- increased muscle recovery
- improved sleep
- benefits cognitive function
- fat loss
Don’t you think it’s time you stepped up your supplement game? Earn some beautiful gainz in; muscles, skin, and hair.