Consuming Protein After Exercise: What You Should Know

05 September, 2020
To ensure recovery after exercise, protein synthesis has to be greater than protein degradation. This is how tissue growth is stimulated. How much protein should you consume after a training session?
 

Despite the doubts that exist today about the concept of the anabolic window, consuming protein after exercise is an efficient strategy to optimize your intake of nutrients.

In an athlete’s diet, the correct protein intake is very important. Protein helps to repair tissue damage and build muscle. Below, we’ll explain why you should be mindful of consuming protein after exercising. We’ll also show you the best way to do this.

Consuming protein to build muscle

When it comes to building muscle, it’s necessary to ensure that protein synthesis is greater than the degradation. That’s why it’s of first importance to consume sufficient protein by means of a good diet. This also helps with the process of recovery after exercise and even with tissue growth, according to an article published in the magazine Sports Medicine.

Also, the protein itself stimulates the effectiveness of the carbohydrates you consume. This means that your body can quickly restore any loss of stored glycogen. For this reason, it’s more beneficial to consume both protein and carbohydrates together, instead of just sugars on their own. This is what a 2018 study has confirmed.

It’s also fitting to point out that the resynthesis of these glycogen deposits is necessary to reduce the risk of injury in later training sessions.

Consuming protein after exercise: where should it come from?

It’s recommended that any protein you consume after exercise should be of high biological value. This means that it should contain all of the essential amino acids and be easily digestible. In that way, the anabolic process will take place and help with immediate muscle repair.

 

How can you make sure you’re consuming a high biological value protein? Animal protein is always a good place to start. The ideal food would be a cut of lean meat or of fish, but protein from eggs or dairy products is also a good option.

Fish is rich in beneficial proteins, among other things

On the other hand, there’s also the option of taking supplements. This option has the advantages of variety and adaptability. How? The wide range of flavors of protein supplements guarantees that you’ll find one you like.

This class of products is generally made with whey powder, to which different digestive enzymes are added to minimize the potential impact on your digestive system. They’re generally high-quality products. However, it’s a good idea to make sure they don’t contain doping substances in their composition. You can check this by asking for a no-doping certification of the product.

What about the rest of the day?

Consuming protein after exercise shouldn’t just be a one-off thing during the day, but rather, in harmony with the rest of your diet. You should be taking in a regular supply of protein and nutrients throughout the day.

It’s recommended that an athlete should consume around 0.7 to 0.9 grams of protein per pound of total body weight. To reach your daily intake, make sure you include foods rich in animal protein, as well as others with vegetable protein.

 

For each meal the athlete consumes, they should make sure it includes a portion of protein. In the main meals, it’s good to include animal proteins. However, what about snacks? A great option could be nuts since proteins from vegetable sources are also excellent sources of nutrients.

Of course, apart from simply consuming protein, it’s important to have a varied diet, rich in vitamins and antioxidants. If not, the protein you consume won’t have a huge benefit.

Eating nuts after exercise is a great way of consuming sufficient protein

How to make the most out of your protein intake as an athlete

One of the most important nutrients for an athlete is protein. It actively participates in the processes of regeneration and muscle tissue growth. Protein is especially useful to the body with regards to exercise.

Current theories suggest that the exact moment you consume protein doesn’t matter as much. The most important thing is getting the daily amount recommended for athletes.

However, consuming protein after exercise seems to be an efficient strategy when it comes to optimizing your dietary protein intake. You have a few options for this, including consuming animal protein or opting for supplements.

 

The supplement market offers many products for whey powder protein. The advantage of these is that there’s a great variety, so you’re sure to find one with the components you desire. You’ll also find a wide range of flavors to suit any taste.

Lastly, we’d just like to point out that these protein supplements don’t tend to cause digestion problems, since as we mentioned above, they come with added enzymes to improve digestion.

  • Damas F., Phillips S., Cassaro Vechin F., Ugrinowitsch C., A review of resistance training induced changes in skeletal muscle protein synthesis and their contribution to hypertrophy. Sports Med, 2015. 45 (6): 801-7.
  • Alghannam AF., Gonzalez JT., Betts JA., Restoration of muscle glycogen and functional capacity: role of post exercise carbohydrate and protein coingestion. Nutrients, 2018.