Dr. Crionna Tobin, PhD, Optimum Nutrition In-house Nutrition Expert
While protein plays a vital role in facilitating muscle growth it also is very important in the optimal repair and recovery of the muscle after exercise.
How does protein support recovery?
Each time you exercise your muscle is damaged to some extent depending on its intensity and duration. This is an important part of adapting to your training session as it allows the muscle to remodel into a leaner, faster, stronger and/or fitter muscle fibre. Protein which is broken down into amino acids in the body plays an important role in providing essential building blocks to the damaged muscle allowing it to repair and rebuild after each training session. As the body does not store protein consuming high quality protein throughout the day and around exercise is central to providing the muscle with the key elements it needs to optimise recovery.
What Protein Supplements should I consume to support recovery?
Whey protein is the best protein to choose for fast delivery of amino acids to the muscle before and/or after training to support recovery nutrition. Although food should always your first choice for consuming appropriate recovery nutrients it is not always possible after training due to the lack of desire to eat or the proximity of the kitchen to the track. In these instances 100% Gold Standard Whey is the perfect solution as it will allow you to time your protein intake as close to the end of your session as possible optimising your recovery potential.
Casein is an additional protein type which may also be used during the recovery period. During the night, the body goes for long periods without food and muscle protein beings to breakdown to be used as energy. Using protein for energy and not for muscle repair and rebuilding can hamper your recovery. Casein, such as Gold Standard 100% Casein, forms a gel-like substance in the stomach and is digested and absorbed more slowly. This feeds the muscles with amino acids over a prolonged period of 3-6 hours while you sleep. Studies have found that feeding 20-40g of casein before bedtime is an effect dietary recovery strategy to stimulate muscle repair improving the muscles ability to adapt to training.
Use the infographic above to ensure you are hitting your protein recovery goals.