You may have heard from your colleagues in the bodybuilders’ circle about the so-called “nitrogen retention” and that every person lifting weights should be able to attain positive nitrogen retention. You may also read about this from product manuals promoting supplements that are said to be able to help you attain positive nitrogen retention.
But what exactly is nitrogen retention? Overall, what role does nitrogen play in the grand scheme of things in bodybuilding? The thing, it is a very important concept that you as a bodybuilder should be able to understand if you want to gain a lot of muscle mass and attain a ripped and sculptured physique. This article will show what nitrogen is and what its role in bodybuilding is.
Nitrogen Balance is a Factor for Muscle Building
First thing that you need is that nitrogen is a compound that can be found only in protein. Scientists mainly use nitrogen as an indication of the status of the body’s protein stores. Apparently, a lot of nitrogen means you have a lot of protein to help you in muscle-building and repair. Minimal amounts of nitrogen is indicative of low protein stores, so on and so forth.
Nitrogen retention, then, is merely the amount of protein that is retained by the body and used in building the body’s muscles after a workout. As for nitrogen balance, this is merely the balance between the body’s protein intake or retention and usage from exercise.
The Three Types of Nitrogen Balance
There are three types of nitrogen balance that a bodybuilder may attain during bodybuilding. One is positive nitrogen retention, which is the ideal balance for every bodybuilder to achieve during and after workout. In positive nitrogen balance, the nitrogen retention levels are greater than that of loss so the body has an ample amount for building muscle. Positive balance prevents the body from being catabolic, or cannibalizing the body’s muscles for calories. Having a positive nitrogen balance also aids in faster recovery.
On the other hand, there is also the negative nitrogen balance where loss of protein is greater than retention. This state encourages a catabolic state, especially during sleep and can cause muscle loss due to cannibalism by the body to produce calories.
Last but not the least is the equilibrium, where intake is equal to loss. There is not much nitrogen retention in this balance, but at least it does not offset the balance. Bodybuilders, however, are encouraged to strive to break out of equilibrium. Using protein supplements that are rich L-Glutamine or creatine monohydrate, for example, can help in increasing nitrogen retention. These supplements can help prevent a catabolic state or negative nitrogen balance by supplying the body with a lot of proteins and amino acids to satisfy the body’s needs both for energy and muscle buildup.