Everyone and his mother knows that post-workout protein consumption is necessary for significant muscle growth. But it still isn’t entirely clear exactly what type, or how much, is needed for optimal results. It’s an important question—especially when you’re paying for the stuff—and one that Dutch researchers took to the lab. What they found was that type, quantity, and timing of dietary protein are indeed all important factors for muscle hypertrophy. Due to its rapid digestion and absorption, whey protein defended its reputation as the most effective type of protein for stimulating both skeletal muscle protein synthesis and accretion, and inhibiting protein breakdown during post-exercise recovery. As for timing, consumption both during and immediately after a workout proved most beneficial. But probably the most interesting finding of the study was that a mere 20 grams of protein was all it took to maximize post-workout muscle protein synthesis. This is good news for bodybuilders who routinely shake up as much as 50 grams of protein post-workout. Cut that amount in half and you’ve just doubled the lifespan of your protein. Better yet, put those dollars you’re already spending toward a higher-quality blend like a hydrolyzed isolate.
L.J. van Loon and M.J. Gibala, Nestle Nutr. Inst. Workshop Ser.; 69:79-95. [Epub 2012 Jan. 18]