You have to eat right to build up the muscle that has been broken down during training. Training and nutrient intake together has the power to increase muscle protein synthesis, although training has the bigger effect. Training can increase protein synthesis for up to 24hrs in trained people. The problem is, training also activates protein degradation. Without the right nutrient intake at the right time, this increase in protein synthesis can be cancelled out.
When you force a muscle to contract against heavy load, protein synthesis occurs. This processed is activated (or turned ‘on’) by a series of events called mTOR.
mTOR is activated by 3 things:
Mechanical stress (from heavy training)
Growth factors (IGF, growth hormone, insulin)
Amino acids (particularly leucine)
To use nutrition optimally you need to understand the ‘Anabolic window’. There are 3 times when you need to increase protein / amino acid availability to make sure of acute increase in protein synthesis from your training.
Pre-workout: within an hour or so before the workout begins
Per-workout: during the training session
Post-workout: less than 2hrs post exercise
All are important, however the most important window is post-workout. This is when protein synthesis is at its highest. Pre-workout is important to stop protein synthesis from being turned off during the workout and peri-workout helps to inhibit protein degradation during a session.
Activation of protein synthesis in the short term determines how well the body will respond to long term protein synthesis,.
So how much protein?
20g is needed for most people to gain a maximal response from training. This is even more effective when combined with the amino acid leucine post training