Protein Timing

Protein timing involves separating your training into different cycles and setting protein goals for each cycle according to the type and intensity of training. This popular strategy is said to promote an improvement in performance as well as improved synthesis of lean muscle mass. By eating protein in and around a training session, you can supposedly enhance muscle recovery and increase muscle hypertrophy (the enlargement of muscle tissue from the increase in size of its cells). Reviews around this theory have been mixed.

Many studies support the notion that protein timing increases muscle hypertrophy (growth) and strength. Protein itself does not build muscle. Protein provides the body with amino acids which help to resynthesize and rebuild muscle tissue. In a study by Borsheim et al. it was found that 6g of essential amino acids taken straight after exercise could increase net protein balance by double. However in another study by Aragon & Schoenfield they concluded that there was a lack of evidence to support that protein dosing after training improves lean muscle synthesis. This was due to small sample sizes and variations in age & gender of the participants in various other studies. A study by Cermak et al. found that taking protein supplements along with a consistent weight training regime helped build lean muscle mass.  What mattered more was total protein intake over the day to produce muscle hypertrophy but total protein did not have an impact on muscle strength (Shoenfield. 2013 ISSN Journal Volume 10). Schoenfield admitted to the anabolic ‘window of opportunity’ but suggested it was much longer than 1-2 hours and rather up to 6 hours post exercise.

 

Most people looking to gain muscle size only focus on the protein they take immediately after training. A more thorough look into consistent protein intake throughout the whole day needs to be considered. The recommended daily allowance for protein for the average, non-exercising individual is 0.8g/kg/day. People taking part in regular exercise and in particular heavy resistance sports need a higher intake of protein of up to 1.6g/kg/day.An example of an 80kg male needing 1.6g/kg protein per day (128g protein) would look like this:

  • Breakfast: 2 boiled eggs and 1 serving FUTURELIFE® Smart Oats® with ½ cup milk (25g  protein)
  • Snack:  1 fruit and 50g raw almonds (10g protein)
  • Lunch: 150g chicken with vegetables and a starch (32g protein)
  • Snack post training:  75g FUTURELIFE® HIGH PROTEIN Smart food™ (22g protein)
  • Dinner: 200g lean meat with salad & starch (42g protein)

TOTAL: 128g protein per day

 

In conclusion, evidence is limited to support a small anabolic window of opportunity to gain lean muscle mass. It is thought the ‘window of opportunity’ may be much larger/longer. Instead an increase of total protein intake over the day may increase muscle gains. More improved studies need to be carried out to further investigate the benefits of protein timing.

 

WHERE DOES FUTURELIFE® FIT IN?
FUTURELIFE® products can make a valuable contribution to your daily protein requirements. The FUTURELIFE® Smart food™ range provides a high protein, balanced meal option for any time of the day.
Including protein in your snacks will assist with spreading your protein throughout the day. FUTURELIFE® High Protein SmartBar, FUTURELIFE® High Protein LITE SmartBar, FUTURELIFE® Smart Drink™ and FUTURELIFE® Crunch Bar are ideal here.
For more information on the range, recipes and much more visit www.futurelife.co.za

References:

  1. Protein timing and its effects on muscular hypertrophy and strength in individuals engaged in weight-training, Matthew Stark, Judith Lukaszuk, Aimee Prawitz, and Amanda Salacinski.
  2. The effect of protein timing on muscle strength and hypertrophy: a meta-analysis Brad Jon Schoenfeld, Alan Albert Aragon and James W Krieger. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition2013 10:53.