According to a recent study protein intake after exercise improves muscle mass accumulation – both in young and in older individuals. However, the question When to eat protein is one of the most important questions for every athlete.
The study included 48 men from two age categories – 20-30- and 70-80 years old. Participants were divided into two groups:
1. 90-minute break, followed by 30 minutes of physical activity (exercise bike + light strength training)
2. 90-minute break plus 30-minute break
After this period, the men in both groups consumed the solution containing 20 grams of protein, and the amino acid levels in the blood were measured. From participants were taken small amounts of muscle samples from the quadriceps just before the intake of protein and 6 hours thereafter – the measurement of the protein changes in muscle.
The authors reported a significantly greater increase in muscle protein in the active to the inactive group, the benefits were seen in both young and in older individuals.
It is well known that over the age muscle mass tends to decrease. Аccording to some researchers this is because of the reduced efficiency of protein synthesis by the body. The results of this study, however, suggests that this may not be true. They suggest that the prevention of age loss of muscle mass requires effective diet approaches.
The authors of this study summarize the more than protein intake after exercise allows better use of the dietary protein.
When to eat protein? The answer to this question depends on your goals! If building bigger muscle is your ail, it is extremely important for you to consume large amounts of protein immediately after workouts. If you are on a high-protein diet this will help you gain muscle mass, then the protein will be most beneficial after exercise.
Proteins are what your muscles need to recover from the heavy workout and to grow. Right after a workout/training is the optimal time to deliver that protein. Ideally, you should consume at least 10 to 20 grams of protein after a heavy workout to provide your muscles with the protein they need to grow and recover.