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Is Protein Helpful After Workout?

Is Protein Good After Workout?

A few years ago, there was an over enthusiast adolescent guy. He was just starting with his personal fitness training; he always assumed that he knows everything about the gym, nutrition, and fitness kinds of stuff.

He was the one always rigid about post-workouts that he would insist everyone take protein shakes just after finishing a workout. And the reasons he stated were:

  1. Post-workout, our muscles start breaking down, and consuming protein as soon as possible provides your body with the amino acids it requires to start the repair and growth process.
  2. Here’s a short window time- usually called ‘the anabolic window’–post-workout protein consumption maximizes your gains from that session. If you don’t take advantage of this window well, then the output of your workout compromises.

But that was a total misconception. So we are here to discuss what should be done.

Post-workout protein prevents muscle breakdown?

To understand this, we need to first understand two more terms i.e. muscle protein synthesis and muscle protein break down. Don’t worry about how to get it, that’s not this scary.

Muscle protein synthesis

The protein we get from our food breaks down into amino acids in the body. These acids are then used by the tissues to repair and grow new muscles.

 

This process is known as “muscle protein synthesis.”

Muscle protein breakdown

Opposing muscle protein synthesis, muscle protein breakdown, and, as the name suggests breaking of protein from food into amino acids.

Despite being different processes, they are always occurring to some extent throughout the day.

 

For example, if a person skips his/her breakfast and eats the first meal a few hours after waking, the muscle protein breakdown lasts raised until your first meal. The time gap between these two meals; muscle protein breakdown will slowly start increasing until you eat again, at this point muscle protein synthesis increases. And it goes on and on.

You might be wondering, if weight training increases muscle breakdown and eating protein increases muscle protein synthesis, then why not eat protein ASAP to stop muscles from being cannibalized?

Ok, this might be a little confusing. But that is why I am here. Remember when I said you need to understand two terms? Well, there’s one more term I need to explain: Net Protein Balance.

NEP or Net Protein Balance is simply the balance between muscle protein synthesis and muscle protein breakdown.

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If the muscle protein breakdown rate increases the rate of muscle protein synthesis for a long period, you will be in a negative protein balance, and you’ll start losing muscle.

And if the synthesis rate exceeds the rate of breakdown for over some time then you’re in positive protein balance, and you’ll maintain or even start building muscle.

This is why you shouldn’t need to think about the short-term things, like post-workout. You need to be more conscious of staying in a positive protein balance over the long term

So then, what’s important?

  1. Total Protein Intake is more important than post-workout protein.
  2. Distributing total protein intake over 3-4 meals a day, that will ensure your body has amino acids available for repair and growth throughout the day.

More recently, a controlled trial comparing pre vs. post-workout protein timing in 21 men was conducted, with more than a year of resistance training experience.

The participants were split into two groups:

The 1st group consumed 50g of whey protein before starting a full-body strength training session. Upon completing the session, they were instructed to sight shy of eating anything for at least 3 hours post-workout.

And the 2nd group/post-workout protein group–was mandated to avoid eating for at least 3 hours before working out and consuming 50g of whey protein immediately after the training session.

And by the end of the 10th week, there wasn’t any significant difference in strength or muscle gain between groups. Also, the conclusion included that there is a major role of nutrient intake in this.

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