what is more important for buliding muscle? protein or carbs?
Both are important, carbs when doing weight training and proteins when building muscle mass because you did weight training.
A normal diet (just maintaining muscle mass) would be about 60% carbs which is the main energy source for your body (for your Basal Metabolic Rate and your physical activity) because it’s easily accessible (your body does not even need oxygen to process carbs). Then you would need about 15% proteins (mostly used for maintenance and repairs) and 25% fats, including no more than 5% saturated fats.
When you’re doing weight training to build up muscle mass, you need more proteins because you’re not just maintaining and repairing, you’re building. You need at least 20% of proteins. You cannot reduce carbs, because you need a lot of carbs to do weight training. You cannot use fat reserves while doing weight training because it’s anaerobic and very intense on the body. You need to have plenty of sugar in your blood since your body can only use sugar. No matter how hard you breathe, you’ll never get enough oxygen to use fat reserves, which is why weight training is anaerobic and not aerobic.
Since you need more proteins but cannot reduce carbs, you need to reduce fats. You can start by eliminating saturated fats (which is not a small task unless you eat very healthy). You still need the good kind of fats (the kind not from animal source) for your organs (brain, spine, skin…).
People with a normal metabolism will eat more (in the form of added proteins) while building up muscle mass. If you have a slow metabolism, you could do the same but compensate, on a calorie intake point of view, by doing more fat burning aerobics so you don’t gain weight.
Once you build up enough muscle mass, your metabolism will go higher (30/50 calories/a day for each extra pound) so you won’t have to worry about a low metabolism anymore.
Each gram of proteins and carbs is 4 calories. Each gram of fat is 9 calories. You should focus on getting enough grams of proteins and not too many grams of fats…once you do that, the rest will be carbs and you don’t have to count and worry about those, except to make sure that you have a high blood sugar level before you do weight training.
If you need 20% of proteins while building muscle mass, take your total calorie intake, multiply by 20%, divide by 4 (4 calories per gram of proteins) and then you get the number of grams that you need.
Most of all, listen to your body. If you don’t eat enough proteins while doing weight training and trying to build up muscle mass, you’ll get proteins cravings (meat, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, nuts…).