Pre-workout shake, fat-blaster shake, the man shake, the lady shake, protein shake – they really do have an abundance of choice on the market these days. For this article though, I want to look at protein and the age-old question, what optimises muscle adaptation pre- versus post-exercise protein ingestion?
What is the function of protein?
Protein is made up of hundreds and thousands of amino acids creating long chains, and it’s essential for building muscle. Your muscle tissue is predominantly made up of protein, so dietary protein that’s rich in essential amino acids is essential for the muscle tissue to repair the damage done by exercise.
What is the best timing for protein ingestion when exercising?
Studies have shown that individuals undertaking intense training require more protein (1.4-2g per kg per day) than someone sedentary. It’s possible to obtain the required protein with a varied and appropriate diet but protein supplements in the form of shakes can also be used, and have been popular due to their convenience. There have been a number of studies on the topic of protein timing, yet there has been some conflicting advice. Many have argued that there is a narrow post-exercise window in which you have to ingest protein to maximize the muscle recovery response. The findings from a recent study done by Schoenfeld et el (2017 p.15) have refuted this idea and instead support the theory that there is a larger window, as wide as several hours.
Recovery is such an important aspect of training well so it would pay to be mindful and do some further research into this area. Shakes can be expensive, so personally, I would prefer spending the extra time on meal planning and paying a bit more attention to try to get the necessary protein intake from your regular diet. Seeking advice from qualified professionals like a dietitian is highly recommended to ensure you are meeting all of your personal dietary requirements. Do your research and good luck with it!
By Janine Jungfels – Pushys Sponsored Athlete
Schoenfeld et al. 2017, ‘Pre- versus post-exercise protein intake has similar effects on muscular adaptations’, (online), vol. 5, Available: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5214805/> (6 March 2018)
Kreider & Campbell. 2009, ‘Protein for exercise and recovery’, (online), vol 37, issue 2, Available: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20048505> (6 March 2018)