Type of protein supplementation
  • In order to maximize muscle growth, weight lifters ought to consume 1.2-2.0 grams protein per kilogram of body weight and at least 44-45 kilocalories/kg per day.
  • Leucine, a potent stimulator of the mTOR signaling pathway, is essential for maximal stimulation of muscle protein synthesis.
  • It is recommended to consume 3-4 g leucine after a workout to promote maximal protein synthesis. Whey protein is a good source of leucine at about 3.6 g leucine/42 g whey protein About 2 cups of fat-free milk, which is about 20% whey and 80% casein, contains 1.35 g leucine.
  • Whole milk may be taken up by the gut more efficiently than skim milk.
  • Soy milk promotes muscle protein synthesis as well, but not as effectively as cow’s milk.
  • The addition of sugar to a post-workout, whey containing beverage (ex. chocolate milk) will increase insulin secretion and augment protein utilization.

Timing of protein consumption
  • Protein supplementation pre- and post-workout has been shown to quicken recovery from resistance training, thereby allowing a greater work load to be performed at a subsequent workout session.
  • Consuming a protein supplement before and after the workout aids in strength accretion compared to consuming protein in the morning and evening.
  • Consumption of essential amino acids (including branched chain amino acids) before exercise promotes muscle protein synthesis to a greater degree than when they are consumed postexercise.

Key practice applications: An optimal pre-workout supplement should include essential amino acids to stimulate muscle protein synthesis as soon as possible. Post-workout, consumption of protein, specifically whey protein that contains high amounts of leucine, with a combination of sugar is recommended to increase gains in strength and muscle size as well as quicken recovery.

Limitations: This article did not thoroughly address consumption of protein before vs. during vs. after exercise.