What About Pre And Post Workout Protein? Does It Matter?

Lesson 12 Module 2

This simple answer to this question, is yes. If you're interested in building muscle and maximising the effects of your workouts, then you need to give some degree of consideration to pre and post workout protein consumption. But you don't have to make it more complicated than it needs to be. Here's the abridged version of what you need to know.

  • Consume protein 2-3 hours pre-training and within 3 hours post-training.
  • If training fasted, consume protein within approximately 1 hour of training.

The protein you have pre and post training does not have to be whey, or a protein shake at all. However, a shake may offer a quick, convenient, and easily digested solution.

Here's the science behind those recommendations:

Protein feedings post exercise are needed to bring about positive protein balance, ie favouring Muscle Protein Synthesis, rather than Muscle Protein Breakdown. 

Consuming c.0.3g/kg of high quality protein (eg whey) following training supports the muscle building process.

Anabolic Window Of Opportunity. Taken from MacNutritionUni and adapted from Burd et al, 2009

This chart highlights the benefits of protein consumption within 3 hours post-exercise.

Benefits of larger protein intake post-exercise. Taken from MacNutritionUni and adapted from West et al, 2011

This chart highlights the benefits increased Leucine on MPS from larger protein intake post-exercise.

Scientific references:

Role of ingested amino acids and protein in the promotion of resistance exercise-induced muscle protein anabolism. (Reidy et al 2016) (Pubmed Link)

  • This study compared a protein blend with whey isolate. Both resulted in increased muscle mass.

Exercise training and protein metabolism: influences of contraction, protein intake, and sex-based differences. (Burd et al 2009) (Pubmed Link) (Full Text)

  • This study shows the benefits of post-workout protein consumption. See table above.

Rapid aminoacidemia enhances myofibrillar protein synthesis and anabolic intramuscular signalling responses after resistance exercise. (West et al 2011) (Full Text)

  • This study shows the benefits of post-workout protein consumption on leucine and MPS. See table above.