Almost all athletes and coaches recognize and understand the importance of having a good nutrition when it comes to sports performance. Many studies have been by scientists and their results have been published in sports science and sports medicine journals. These scientists have shown that nutrition can have a major impact on the molecular, cellular, and bodily functions that occur during exercise and recovery. In this post, we will primarily look at protein and protein supplements, and to what extent is it actually useful to athletes during exercise and post-exercise recovery.
For a person over 18 years, the current dietary reference intake set by the American Dietetic Association (ADA) is 0.8 grams per kg body weight per day. However, this does not factor in how much physical activity one does. Sports scientists and nutritionists agree that the intake number is greater for athletes, as protein is needed to aid the repair of muscle fiber damage, to help muscles adapt to training conditions, and to help replenish energy. The ADA recommends protein levels for endurance athletes 1.2 to 1.4 g/kg body weight per day, while for resistance and strength-trained athletes 1.6 to 1.7 g/kg body weight per day.
In order to look at whether protein ingestion helps during exercise, studies were done using energy substances that contained both protein and carbohydrates (CHO).
These studies used these substances, and compared how people did in actual exercise when they took at as they were exercising and when they did not. The results were that there basically was no difference in performance when both of the exercise trial results were looked at. A similar study was done with amino acid supplements, but like these studies, the results showed that there was no difference in performance no matter whether the supplements were consumed or not.
Taking in proteins immediately after exercise is probably the most beneficial way to get something good out of proteins. This is because it helps the body create muscle proteins, while at the same time replenishing the body’s supply of glycogen. Here is a diagram of how protein come into play in muscle synthesis:
What scientist are debating is whether protein is able to do its two main jobs during exercise recovery when it is taken with carbohydrates, especially during a prolonged recovery. This would be something that lasts a few hours. However, some sports scientists have done studies that show that when protein is taken with carbohydrates after exercise and then exercise is done subsequently after, there is no difference in performance from if none of these substances were taken at all.
In conclusion, based off the studies that we have seen and read about, we conclude that the best time to have protein is immediately after exercise. It has the best effects, especially with muscle recovery. We also highly suggest that you all follow the ADA’s set and idealized standards for daily protein intake. If you want to learn more about protein and how it effects the building of muscle, check out this video: