Everyone knows the vital role protein plays in protein synthesis – the process of building muscle mass. This macronutrient should therefore be at the top of any bodybuilder’s priority list. However, how much is it really necessary to absorb after training?
Recently, two studies sought to determine the consequences of increasing the intake of animal protein – especially whey and egg protein – after a weight training session. The two studies came to the same conclusions. The optimal protein intake to stimulate protein synthesis over a period of 3 to 4 hours is 20 g, compared with zero protein intake, and with doses of 5 or 10 g.
The results were no better with a dose of 40 g.
Nevertheless, the two groups of scientists specify that the reaction caused by taking 20 g of protein after training could depend on body mass. Which seems logical when you think about the huge differences that exist between athletes in terms of body mass – and therefore lean muscle mass. A gymnast weighs around 65 kg, while a rugby player can weigh up to 120 kg.
Hypotheses have often been speculated about the impact of body mass on protein requirements after physical exertion, but no research had yet been done. To answer this question, the two teams of researchers joined forces with the aim of reexamining the results obtained in previous studies after a weight training session with different doses of proteins (0 to 40 g) in young men and in young men. elderly subjects. The results of this study took into account the body mass of the participants.
The increase in protein synthesis after exercise was maximal with a dose of 0.25 g of protein per kg of body mass in the young group, while in the group of elderly subjects, the ideal dose was 0.39 g of protein.
These results are interesting insofar as it shows that the ideal protein intake after physical exertion depends on each individual. For example, the 65 kg gymnast should consume 16 g of protein , while the 120 kg rugby player will aim for 30 g instead.
It is also interesting to note that the protein requirements after exercise are greater in older men.
This is due to a process called anabolic resistance, which means that as we age, muscles are less sensitive to the stimulating action of amino acids.
Therefore, it takes more protein to get the same reaction with young muscles. For example, a 70 kg young man will need around 18 g of protein, while an older 70 kg man will need 27 g to achieve the same results.
These new data are important for calculating nutritional needs after physical exertion.
More studies are needed to determine the best way to absorb protein and the most suitable sources, especially in the elderly. For now, however, following the recommendations of his studies will optimize his protein intake.