With the supplement market being a huge industry worldwide, it is easy to get caught up in the net. A key phrase I have been taught through my academics at Liverpool John Moores University is that you can’t supplement a poor diet. This is particularly true in the protein arena.
The current WHO recommendations for a sedentary person are 0.8g/kg body mass/day (70kg man would require 56g of protein a day). However, as athletes, we certainly aren’t sedentary and as such require substantially more protein to accommodate for the breakdown of proteins during exercise. If we don’t accommodate for this then a net loss between protein synthesis and protein degradation occurs.
Amounts of protein required
Current research suggests that to elicit the greatest muscle fractional synthetic rate expressed as a percentage per hour, there is no significant difference from consuming between 20-40g of protein.
There is however a significant difference between 10 and 20g. Although, when working with a variety of athletes, is this 20g dose enough for everyone? Simply put, no it isn’t. Therefore, a same group of researchers have suggested that approximately 0.3 g/kg body mass stimulates maximum protein synthesis in healthy young males post exercise (i.e. 70kg = 21g, 100kg = 30g etc).
Another key factor is to not just consume all the protein in one meal. To generate the maximal synthetic rate, we should aim to consume these protein ‘hits’ in pulses throughout the day. Research suggests that it is far better to consume 4 x 20g vs 8 x 10g or 2 x 40g servings of protein.
**Practical tip, consume protein every 2-3 hours throughout the day. For example, 8, 11am, 1, 4, 7 and 10pm**
Types of Protein
The three types of protein most commonly consumed are whey, soy and casein. Consuming whey protein post-exercise generates a significant greater fractional synthetic rate (%/hr) when compared to casein and soy. With this is mind; Big Whey would be ideal for a post-exercise supplement with a 23g of whey per serving.
Casein protein provides a slower but sustained anabolic drive for several hours, meaning it is perfect to consume before bed to fuel the body as we sleep. The Nighttime Protein is brilliant for this, as it can also be consumed as a dessert as well as a drink for those that would like something to eat just before bed.
It is important that the protein you consume contains, among others, the amino acid Leucine, as evidence suggests that Leucine is key in activating the signaling response.
For any athletes that are injured, I would highly recommend consuming a daily NutritionX Repair Shot as they contain 20g of collagen protein to help aid recovery.
One of the biggest things with protein ingestion is to not solely rely on shakes. The first step is to ensure you are consuming good quality and varied sources of protein from your diet. Of course, supplements can be consumed to ensure that you get the correct amount of protein each day and are extremely useful when on travels etc, but the message to remember is that you can’t supplement a poor diet.
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