In recent years, some companies have come out with easily portable and convenient protein shooters or protein bars that contain small amounts of protein. As little as 10 grams of protein (4.2g of essential amino acids) has been shown to stimulate muscle protein synthesis after weight training, while gulping down 20–40g of protein seems to cause a plateau in muscle growth independent of exercise. In a recent study presented in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition, men in their late teens to early 20s performed 4 sets of 8–10 repetitions at 75%–80% of their one-rep max on angled leg presses and leg extensions. The guys were assigned in a double-blind, randomized method to consume either 10g of maltodextrose carbs (a placebo) or whey protein containing 5.25g of EAAs, mixed with water. They took the drink 30 minutes before they trained. In examining the signaling pathways that indicate the stimulation of muscle-protein synthesis, the scientists concluded that ingestion of 10g of whey protein prior to a single training session had no greater effect than the carb drink. In contrast, previous research has shown that 20g of whey protein maximally stimulates muscle-protein synthesis following resistance exercise. So just to be safe, 20–30g is recommended if you are going to consume a ready-to-go protein source before training. For example, you can use MHP high-protein pudding, which has 30g of protein in a 9-oz container.
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