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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Protein timing and its effects on muscular hypertrophy and strength in individuals engaged in weight-training

Matthew Stark1, Judith Lukaszuk1*, Aimee Prawitz1 and Amanda Salacinski2

Author Affiliations

1 School of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences. Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL, USA

2 The Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL, USA

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Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2012, 9:54  doi:10.1186/1550-2783-9-54

Published: 14 December 2012

Abstract

The purpose of this review was to determine whether past research provides conclusive evidence about the effects of type and timing of ingestion of specific sources of protein by those engaged in resistance weight training. Two essential, nutrition-related, tenets need to be followed by weightlifters to maximize muscle hypertrophy: the consumption of 1.2-2.0 g protein.kg -1 of body weight, and ≥44-50 kcal.kg-1 of body weight. Researchers have tested the effects of timing of protein supplement ingestion on various physical changes in weightlifters. In general, protein supplementation pre- and post-workout increases physical performance, training session recovery, lean body mass, muscle hypertrophy, and strength. Specific gains, differ however based on protein type and amounts. Studies on timing of consumption of milk have indicated that fat-free milk post-workout was effective in promoting increases in lean body mass, strength, muscle hypertrophy and decreases in body fat. The leucine content of a protein source has an impact on protein synthesis, and affects muscle hypertrophy. Consumption of 3–4 g of leucine is needed to promote maximum protein synthesis. An ideal supplement following resistance exercise should contain whey protein that provides at least 3 g of leucine per serving. A combination of a fast-acting carbohydrate source such as maltodextrin or glucose should be consumed with the protein source, as leucine cannot modulate protein synthesis as effectively without the presence of insulin. Such a supplement post-workout would be most effective in increasing muscle protein synthesis, resulting in greater muscle hypertrophy and strength. In contrast, the consumption of essential amino acids and dextrose appears to be most effective at evoking protein synthesis prior to rather than following resistance exercise. To further enhance muscle hypertrophy and strength, a resistance weight- training program of at least 10–12 weeks with compound movements for both upper and lower body exercises should be followed.

Keywords:
Protein timing; Muscular hypertrophy; Muscular strength; Body composition; Whey protein; Milk protein; Protein synthesis