Protein Fuels Your Recovery

While athletes seem to agree that to realize maximum size and strength gains you must feed your body immediately after weight training, the debate continues on exactly what that feeding should consist of. Research recently published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism investigated the effects of protein-rich recovery.

The study had 10 cyclists complete 2-1/2-hours of interval training followed by a recovery feeding period of 4 hours. Half of them ate 218 grams of protein, 435 grams of carbohydrates and 79 grams of protein-enriched fats. The other half got 34 grams of protein, 640 grams of carbohydrates and 79 grams of calorie-controlled fats. The next morning, these cyclists performed 10 maximal 2-1/2-minute sprints at 5-minute intervals. The entire test was repeated 2 weeks later.

The Bigger Picture: The cyclists who consumed a protein-rich meal during their recovery period had approximately 25% higher blood levels of testosterone than the cyclists who consumed the carb-heavy meal. They also experienced a reduced degree of leg soreness and fatigue. The overall effect on performance was unclear, but the advantages of more energy with less muscle pain certainly make a case for supplementing with protein immediately after training.
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