Why Protein After Resistance Training?

Throughout the course of the day, there’s a balance between muscle protein synthesis (MPS) and muscle protein breakdown (MPB). And generally speaking, regular protein consumption stimulates MPS and slightly reduces MPB (positive protein balance); while fasting, or a long time between meals, reduces MPS and slightly increases MPB (negative protein balance).

book 3 - mpb v mps

This is important, because muscle mass and hypertrophy is determined by the net balance between MPS and MPB (1, 2).

When MPS is elevated, proteins are manufactured at a faster rate, and there’s an increased need and utilization of protein.

Fortunately, consuming protein rich foods high in essential amino acids is not the only way to stimulate MPS. One of the reasons resistance training is so critical for muscle growth (1, 2) is because it increases protein synthesis.

And not a measly old 3-4hr elevation like animal protein, but an increased level that can last anywhere from 48-72hrs after a lifting session (1, 2, 3, 4)

mps after training

The best part is, we can enhance and extend this already elevated MPS window, and suppress any potential muscle protein breakdown (MPB), by consuming protein after a workout.

“Nutritional strategies that serve to maximally stimulate MPS may be useful in the development of nutrition and exercise based interventions aimed at enhancing skeletal muscle mass which may be of interest to elderly populations and to athletes.” – Nutrition & Metabolism, 2012

In other words, we don’t consume protein after resistance training because we burned protein, as less than 2% is used during a session under 1 hour (1, 2). And we don’t consume it to prevent damage or enhance muscle recovery, as the most up-to-date research says there are no significant improvements in either of these measures (1, 2).

The main reason we consume protein after resistance training, is because it helps enhance muscle growth by elevating MPS (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Which is critical to building and maintaining muscle, and living a long and disease-free life.

Stay Lean!
Coach Mike


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