Whey protein in higher doses after training is better for muscle and strength gains, two studies suggest.
Athletes who consume large doses of whey protein or a leucine-enriched drink directly after training increase their gains in muscle and strength, according to two independent studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
One study from McMaster University in Canada (1) found that recreational athletes who consume 25 grams of whey protein after exercise increased muscle protein synthesis more than when smaller doses are given over time. Another study, performed by U.S. Army researchers and colleagues from other universities (2), found that an essential amino acid drink supplement containing higher concentrations of leucine increases protein synthesis up to 33 percent more than one with lower amounts of leucine.
The McMaster University researchers compared the effects of consuming 25 grams of whey protein versus 10 smaller doses every 20 minutes over 200 minutes in eight athletic men immediately after resistance training. They found that whey protein in the large single dose delivered a greater increase in plasma amino acids (including leucine) to trigger muscle protein synthesis compared with protein in smaller doses over time.
The US Army researchers and their colleagues evaluated muscle protein synthesis and whole body protein metabolism in eight adults who cycled for 60 minutes. Immediately after the workout, the subjects consumed a drink containing 10 grams of essential amino acids; the first drink contained 1.87 grams leucine and the second contained 3.5 grams leucine. The researchers observed 33 percent more protein synthesis in the subjects who consumed more leucine.
“These findings suggest that increasing the concentration of leucine in an [essential amino acids] supplement consumed during steady state exercise elicits a greater [muscle protein synthesis] response during recovery,” the researchers wrote.
Earlier studies have similarly noted the muscle-building potential of whey protein, leucine and other branched chain amino acids. Whey protein is a protein source with a higher concentration of branched-chain amino acids including leucine.
Both studies suggest that athletes should take advantage of consuming single large doses of high-quality whey protein after training. This is easily achieved by consuming 1½ scoops of IsaLean Shake mixed with 1 scoop of IsaPro (containing about 4 grams of leucine). The result could mean more quality gains after each workout, stronger muscles and a greater competitive edge.