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Why Protein Intake After Resistance Training is Vital for Muscle Growth

by Lisa

After a strength training workout, you will always see me hurrying home to get in my protein fix! I am always encouraging my clients to eat more protein, especially to get some in right after their workout....but why? We work so hard to increase our lean muscle mass for its many, many benefits (as Bob has shared in his prior post) and in order to make gains, we need to be intentional about our protein intake.

How Protein and Resistance Training Work Together:

Protein is the building block of muscles. Muscle protein synthesis (MPS) is a naturally occurring process in which protein is produced to repair muscle damage caused by intense exercise. On the contrary, muscle protein breakdown (MPB) is the process in which protein is lost as a result of exercise.

MPS is stimulated only in the presence of a high amino acid supply and ramped up for a short period of time after your workout. By consuming protein, the amino acids that you lost during strength training will be replenished to your muscles. So, taking in a proper dose of protein immediately following your workout is optimal timing to accelerate muscle growth and improve recovery.  

The US Department of Health and Human Services states the following for athletes:

  • No safety concerns reported at daily recommended intakes for athletes of up to about 2.0 g/kg body weight (e.g., 136 g for a person weighing 150 lbs.)
  • Eating too much (more than recommended) will not enhance your muscle growth at a more rapid pace, but potentially can increase the accumulation of potentially harmful byproducts.

Ready to make gains...make a plan!  Consider increasing the intensity of your workout, lift a little heavier (never compromising form, of course) and be nice to your muscles by having that protein fix after your workout. A 20-25 gram dose of a digestible protein drink may be a good place to start.

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