Despite studies [J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 Dec 3;10(1):53.] in which total protein intake turned out to be more relevant than timing, pre- and post workout nutrition are still important elements of strength athletes’ dietary strategy. But if protein shakes are starting to come out of your nose, then Italian sports scientists have some good news for you. This month in Nutrients they publish a human study which shows that strength athletes can also use lean meat for post workout nutrition.
Researchers at the University of Pavia got two dozen students to train three times a week in a gym. The students all followed the same programme, were healthy and reasonably active, but had no experience of strength training.
Half of the subjects ate 135 g lean beef half an hour after working out. The meat, which was tinned, contained 20 g protein and 1.7 g fat.
Slimmer, more muscled, stronger
Over a period of eight weeks the researchers monitored the progression of both groups. Both groups lost fat mass, built up lean body mass and gained strength – but all of these effects were stronger in the students that ate tinned meat after working out. The biggest effect of the meat supplementation was on the amount of lean body mass that the subjects gained.
The researchers suspect that eating meat immediately after a workout may only work if you use tinned meat.
Meat is suitable for post workout nutrition
“The consumption of beef protein from tinned meat could be considered a nutrition strategy in addition to other proteins or amino acid supplements, useful for guaranteeing high essential amino acids availability close to exercise”, the researchers write. “Tinned meat is more digestible than other meat sources (e.g., steak), does not generally cause any gastrointestinal distress and its consumption is also practical. The use of meat as a supplement should not exceed two or three times per week, according to general dietary guidelines that recommend a moderate consumption of red meat.”
If you want to eat fresh rather than tinned meat in association with your workout, you’d do best to eat the meat at least an hour before you train, is the Italians’ advice, based on data from other studies.
Protein supplementation with low fat meat after resistance training: effects on body composition and strength.
Beef is a nutrient-rich, high-quality protein containing all the essential amino acids in proportions similar to those found in human skeletal muscle. In order to investigate the efficacy of a beef supplementation strategy on strength and body composition, we recruited 26 young healthy adults to participate in a resistance-training program of eight weeks, based on the use of isotonic machines and free weights at 75% of one repetition maximum. Subjects were randomly divided into two groups, food group and control group, of 12 and 14 subjects respectively. Food group were supplemented after resistance training with a 135 g serving of lean beef (tinned meat), providing 20 g of protein and 1.7 g of fat. No supplementation was provided to control group. Fat mass, fat free mass, lean mass, assessed by bioelectrical impedance analyzer, and muscle strength, assessed by one repetition maximum test, were evaluated in all subjects both at the beginning (week 0) and at the end (week 8) of the study. Pre- and post-training differences were evaluated with paired t-tests while group differences for each outcome parameter was evaluated with independent t-tests. At the end of the study the food group showed a significantly decrease in fat mass (week 0: 15.0 ± 6.7 kg; week 8: 13.1 ± 7.6 kg; ?: -1.9 ± 2.9 kg; p < 0.05) and a significantly increase in fat free mass (week 0: 52.8 kg ± 9.4; week 8: 55.1 kg ± 10.9; ?: 2.3 ± 2.5 kg; p < 0.01). No significant differences in lean mass were found in either food group or control group. No significant differences in one repetition maximum tests were found between food group and control group. Tinned meat can be considered a nutrition strategy in addition to other proteins or amino acid supplements, but as with any other supplementation strategy, a proper nutrition plan must be coupled. PMID: 25093275 [PubMed - in process] PMCID: PMC4145293 Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25093275