Everyone has the mindset where we believe that the more protein the better right? But in this case, is more really better after a workout? We have all been there when you’ve just finished a workout and the first thing you know you’re supposed to ingest is protein and lots of it! We want to maximize our protein synthesis and build our lean muscle so we believe that ingesting protein in large quantities will benefit us. I mean, protein helps build muscle and ultimately that’s what were aiming for isn’t it? I know I’ve gone home from the gym and had more than enough protein to fill up two grown men because I thought that it would give me the muscles I was yearning for however, new research shows that too much protein could actually be bad for you.
There’s a study called “Myofibrillar muscle protein synthesis rates subsequent to a meal in response to increasing doses of whey protein at rest and after resistance exercise” which states that 40 grams of protein after a workout is actually not beneficial whereas 20 grams seems to be the perfect amount. This study tested young men after a weight training workout with both 20 grams of protein and 40 grams. 40 grams of protein resulted in a stimulation of amino acid oxidation and ureagenesis which, in other words, didn’t add any extra benefits however, the 20 gram protein intake did.
Let’s back up for a minute and go over what protein really is. Proteins are large molecules made up of smaller molecules called amino acids. There are 20 different types of these acids used to make protein. When you eat protein, your body does a breakdown of these amino’s and sends them where your body is in need of them the most. Protein’s main job is to build, maintain and repair body tissues. Eating too much protein can have a major effect on your kidneys causing a whole list of issues so ladies and gentlemen, protein in moderation is key.
By not consuming too much protein, your body ultimately focuses on burning FAT for fuel instead of the excess protein you keep ingesting thinking your doing your body good when you’re actually hindering it.
So what’s the verdict? Consume about 20 grams of protein in 5 meals throughout the day and that should work perfectly to activate protein synthesis. Consuming protein after an intense lifting session may amplify your results and increase your recovery time, it doesn’t make or break your lifting in the gym. Focus on the whole, big picture of your nutrition and training approach which includes eating enough calories throughout the day along with the correct amount of protein. My suggestion is to consume a meal, either whole-food or in a liquid form, within an hour after your workout and be sure it contains both fast digesting carbs and protein. Happy lifting!