Strength athletes’ muscle growth is not only boosted by consuming extra proteins before, during and just after a training session. For up to 24 hours after a workout in the gym, muscles react positively to protein intake. At least, young men’s muscles do.
Researchers at McMaster University in Canada came to this conclusion after doing experiments on 15 students whose average age was 21. The students were familiar with weight training. For the study they did lab sessions consisting of 4 sets of leg-extensions. Each time the men trained only 1 leg.
On one occasion the men trained their one leg with sets using 90 percent of their 1RM, and trained to failure.
On another occasion the men did sets with 30 percent of their 1RM and did the number reps required to match the amount of effort they had expended during the 90FAIL session. [30WM]
On yet another occasion the men did sets with 30 percent of their 1RM, but then trained to failure. [30FAIL]
Before each training session the subjects were given a liquid breakfast in the lab that contained 520 calories. The drink consisted of 61 percent energy derived from carbohydrates, 15 percent from protein and 24 percent from fat. This meant they consumed 20 g protein, of which 15 g consisted of whey. [Ahem. Not optimal, but never mind…] The product used was Ensure Plus, from Abbot Laboratories.
Exactly 24 hours after the training session the subjects returned to the lab and were given another liquid meal. After this the researchers then measured how much the meal boosted the synthesis of muscle fibres in comparison with the trained men who had not been given a meal. The researchers also measured the synthesis of sarcoplasmic muscle protein and that of all muscle proteins together, but found no – or no significant – effect.