I’ve been working out a long time now, and I’m somewhat ashamed to say this, but I have no idea whether I’m consuming the right amount of protein before and after my workouts or not.
Trust me, it’s not something I’m proud of.
The troubling part of it, is that if I’m using too much, I could be wasting money on protein my body isn’t even using.
Even worse, if I’m not using enough, I could be missing out on some potential physical gains.
I decided to bite the bullet and do some research on-line to find out just how much protein I’m supposed to be taking, and thought I’d share with you the information that I found out (isn’t that nice of me?).
Note: I also want to say that I’m not qualified to give you nutritional advice, I’m just sharing the information that I found out online.
Make sure you check out these resources (and others if necessary), and talk to your doctor before you make any changes to your supplementation.
What you ingest into your body is important, so make sure you do due diligence before changing your consumption habits.
Lesson #1 – “Why” Should We Know How Much Protein to Consume After Our Workouts?
In “How Much Protein Do You Need…”, the author Anoop T. Balachandran, who has a Master’s in Exercise Physiology, and another in Human Performance, says that studies show that although protein synthesis (the process in which our cells produce protein) is high after a session of strength training, the protein that broke down “during” the training can put you at a point where you have a negative balance on protein.
Kind of like overdrawing your bank account.
What I really like about the information in his article, is that it’s backed-up by an actual study.
He goes on to mention that “An increase in muscle mass is only possible if net protein balance stays positive.”
Well, most of us athletes (notice how I still consider myself an athlete, haha) take protein to obtain or maintain muscle mass, so this is a powerful point here.
This is why it’s important to know exactly how much protein you should be taking.
You could be actually going backwards, gains-wise, if you’re not consuming enough protein after your workouts.
He goes on to mention that you can shift your protein balance to a positive state by consuming protein after your workout.
Lesson #2 – If You’re Around My Size (205 lbs), 30g of Protein is Enough… Or IS It?
He talks about a study that was done, where they had a group of guys go through multiple strength training workouts.
After each workout, they increased their protein intake, and tested their protein synthesis levels.
The study showed no significant increase at 40 gms of protein and showed a significant increase in lecuine oxidation (protein burned off because it cannot be used) at this point… The study participants were around 190 pounds and trained. So 20-25gms will be sufficient protein after your workouts if you are around this weight category. If you are above that weight category or doing a higher volume, 25-30 gms would be more than enough considering the rate of protein synthesis has an upper limit. The study looks at acute adaptations… The long term adaptations such as strength and muscle mass to such doses are yet to be seen.”
He pointed out that there was “no significant increase at 40 gms of protein and showed a significant increase in lecuine oxidation (protein burned off because it cannot be used) at this point.”
So my thinking on this is that at 40g, I’m basically wasting money, because that’s the threshold where protein starts burning off that isn’t used.
The subjects in the study were around my body weight, I weigh about 206 or so, so I’m thinking I should be good with 30g.
My logic, is that even though this study is only about “acute adaptations,” if I’m wasting protein and money by taking “40 grams”, taking much more than 30 grams is probably a waste… do you agree?
Lesson #3 – Protein Does More Than Just Help Build Muscle
In “Eating After Exercise…,” Elizabeth Quinn, the author, an exercise physiologist and fitness consultant, introduced me to some additional things that protein does for us, other than just aid in muscle growth/repair:
“It can also increase the absorption of water from the intestines and improve muscle hydration. The amino acids in protein can also stimulate the immune system, making you more resistant to colds and other infections.”
Good to know.
Lesson #4 – Post-Workout, Use Liquid Protein?
I put a question mark there, because when it comes to fitness stuff, I’ve found that there seems to be a million opinions out there.
I got this lesson from the same “Eating After Exercise…” article. At the end of it, Elizabeth says:
“While solid foods can work just as well as a sports drink, a drink may be easier to digest make it easier to get the right ratio and meet the 30 minute window.”
I’ve heard before that you want to get your protein in within 30 minutes after working out, and it makes sense to consume a drink to get that protein in, instead of food, which has to be broken-down first, before the protein is released into our bodies (which could cause us to miss that 30 minute window).
Until I do more research in the future, I think I’m going to take her up on this advice.
Only thing is, I have yet to find a protein drink that doesn’t make me wanna puke after I drink it down.
I guess I’ll just have to keep looking, although I read something about the PowerBar mixes being pretty good, though.
Well that’s it for part one. Click the link below for part two:
Click here if you have any suggestions on topics you’d like to see covered in the future here at G2TL.
Follow me on Twitter @alvingrier
Click here to connect with Get2TheLeague.com on Facebook.
How Much Protein Do You need After Your Workout?
Eating After Exercise – What to Eat After a Workout
Calculating Your Protein Needs
How Much Protein Do You Need After a Workout?
How Much Protein Do You Need After A Tough Workout?