Study under review: Whey Protein Supplementation Enhances Whole Body Protein Metabolism and Performance Recovery after Resistance Exercise: A Double-Blind Crossover Study.
Anyone who has ever worked out has experienced some degree of muscle soreness afterward. One reason why this occurs is due to muscle fiber damage after exercise, which results in varying degrees of soreness and decreased performance that can last hours or days. The degree to which performance may decrease depends on the workout volume and intensity. An acute performance drop is a normal consequence of any training program. But for athletes, minimizing and quickly resolving these negative effects of training can help increase the amount of total training time. The more time an athlete can spend training, the better their chances are at improving in their respective sport.
One strategy for improved muscle recovery is to ensure you’re getting enough dietary protein to meet your physical activity demands. The thinking is that increased protein leads to increased positive protein balance (i.e. greater protein synthesis than breakdown) in the body, in turn resulting in more rapid recovery of muscle performance. While it’s important to get adequate amounts of protein in your diet, there’s more to protein than just consuming enough to help achieve your fitness goals. There are many strategies that can help maximize protein’s muscle-repairing effects. When paired with resistance training, protein has been shown to help increase muscle size and strength. Ingestion before or after training may theoretically provide further benefit (although this benefit may be mitigated by consuming sufficient protein during your day). Evenly distributing protein intake between meals can further augment its anabolic effects. Consuming protein before you go to bed may also cause a slight improvement in muscle protein synthesis (MPS) while you sleep. The type of protein is also important to amplifying the muscle protein synthetic response. For example, a rapidly digesting, leucine-rich, highly bioavailable whey protein has been seen to help boost MPS, making whey a preferable supplement for people aiming to maximize recovery and adaptations to resistance exercise.
The above strategies are often used by athletes in conjunction with one another. In fact, there is data to support the beneficial effects of protein supplementation on long-term improvements in muscular adaptations. But less research has been done looking at how post-exercise protein ingestion may aid recovery acutely (e.g., less than 24 hours). The study under review aimed to quantify the extent to which post-workout protein supplementation could improve muscle performance recovery after a bout of strenuous resistance exercise.
It is important for athletes to minimize the acute negative effects of training to help maximize total training hours. One way to accomplish this requires strategic intake of protein: consuming enough of it and at the right times. Many studies have looked at the long-term effects of protein consumption on muscle repair, but fewer have looked at its effects in an acute period. This study looks to quantify the effect of supplemental protein on muscle performance post-exercise.
Other Articles in Issue #33 (July 2017)
Remember what you see with vitamin D
Low levels of vitamin D are correlated with cognitive problems. But can taking vitamin D improve cognition in people who are healthy?
Can fasted exercise increase fat oxidation in women?
Recent findings suggest that fasted aerobic exercise makes the body use relatively more fat for fuel over course of a day. Until now, though, this research was done mainly in men.
Interview: Denise Minger
In this issue, we chat with author, health consultant, and public speaker Denise Minger about a host of topics, ranging from veganism to her experience writing about nutrition.
Do probiotics improve quality of life in seasonal allergies?
Bacteria in the gut can influence the immune system, and the immune system plays a large role in seasonal allergies. So can probiotics influence allergic symptoms?
Sugar Wars, Episode 4: A New Hope for Fructose
There are good reasons to suspect that fructose could negatively impact glycemic control compared to other sugars. But the best way to know whether it does or not is to look and see.
Are probiotics effective for treating small intestinal bacterial overgrowth?
Bacteria can cause trouble when they grow too much in places they shouldn’t, like the small intestine. Could probiotics prevent or reverse this process?
Interview: Marie Bragg, PhD
Dr. Bragg received her doctorate in clinical psychology before moving on to research obesity and food policy. In this interview, we discuss food marketing, the psychology of weight loss and maintenance, and more.