Training hard is guaranteed to produce results, however that is only half of the battle.
Nutrition is essential for training. The right foods will boost your progress towards improving strength, endurance, performance, body composition and effective recovery.
Protein is made up of amino acids, the building blocks for everything in the body, including tissues, hormones, organs and enzymes. It will not come as a surprise that protein is essential for repairing and rebuilding damaged muscle tissue as a result of training.
The big one
The best form of protein for your body to digest and use is whey protein. Whey is considered a complete protein, meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids (EAA). High quantities of leucine, isoleucine and valine (BCAA’s) make whey protein one the best legal supplements for muscle tissue growth & repair.
Benefits of whey:
- Increases lean muscle mass
- Improves recovery
- Improves muscle contraction
- Helps to control appetite
- Can provide feelings of fullness when dieting
Timing is (not) everything
Whey protein is very quick-absorbing and may take up to 60 minutes to fully metabolize after consumption.
You may have heard the term ‘anabolic window’. It implies that there is a certain time period after training (around 30-45 mins), during which consuming protein will have the greatest effect. Although, there is some truth to this, new research suggests that simply consuming enough protein in combination with training is the key factor for muscle growth and recovery.
If you have your diet in check and you are consuming enough protein, timing may become a factor. Timing your shakes can also be used to develop a habit to make sure that your body is always properly nourished. What the research says:
- Pre-Workout: It is all about the net-balance (NB). When muscle breakdown happens at a faster rate than muscle protein synthesis (MPS) your body enters a catabolic state (muscle loss). Consuming whey protein prior to your workout will increase the availability of amino acids in the blood and may counterbalance the NB. Several studies have found that consuming whey protein pre-workout produced the greatest response on MPS.
- Post-Workout: Other studies have produced conflicting results, suggesting that protein consumption immediately post-workout is more anabolic than when consumed at some later time. Plus, it just feels natural to drink a protein shake after training or working out!
- In The Morning: Muscles are still sensitive in response to amino acid presence for up to 24 h after training. Starting your day with protein will improve the process of muscle growth and recovery, as well as kick start other metabolic processes.
Fact or Fiction
Here is a quick infographic that dispels some of the common myths around the use of whey protein in simple terms:
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- The effect of protein timing on muscle strength and hypertrophy: a meta-analysis
- An abundant supply of amino acids enhances the metabolic effect of exercise on muscle protein.
- Enhanced amino acid sensitivity of myofibrillar protein synthesis persists for up to 24 h after resistance exercise in young men.
- The effect of a carbohydrate and protein supplement on resistance exercise performance, hormonal response, and muscle damage.
- Timing of amino acid-carbohydrate ingestion alters anabolic response of muscle to resistance exercise.