Timed nutrition more important for experienced strength athletes than for beginners
Consuming a portion of protein and carbohydrates just before or just after a workout provides your body with the amino acids that your muscles need to synthesise proteins. This trick becomes more effective the more years of training you have built up reports the Japanese sports scientist Hiroyasu Mori in the Journal of Physical Anthropology.
Mori did experiments with 10 male athletes who'd been doing weight training for a few years, and 10 athletes who did not do strength training. He got both groups to follow similar weight training schedules and also gave them a similar diet. The subjects trained in the mornings between 10 and 11 o'clock.
Throughout the first 11-day period Nori gave the subjects a shake containing whey and carbohydrates at 17:00 [P6]. Throughout the following period the subjects were given the same shake, but immediately after doing their workout [P0].
So Nori knew exactly how much nitrogen [in other words proteins] his subjects were consuming. He also monitored the amount of nitrogen the subjects excreted in their urine and faeces, so he also knew how much nitrogen his subjects retained. The more nitrogen your body retains, the more muscle tissue it is manufacturing. That's a little simplistic; we are aware of this.
The untrained subjects, who were training with weights for the first time, retained more nitrogen. Nothing new there – beginners' muscle tissue grows faster than that of seasoned strength athletes. The figure below shows the findings for the period during which the subjects got their protein shake at 17:00.
The figure below shows the findings for the period during which the subjects got their protein shake immediately after doing a workout. The untrained subjects hardly retained any more nitrogen after drinking this shake, whereas the experienced strength athletes did.
Brad Schoenfeld recently published a meta-study J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 Dec 3;10(1):53. in which it emerged that for strength athletes the effect of the total protein intake over a day was more important than that of timed nutrition. The Japanese study suggests that experienced bodybuilders should consider the option of timed nutrition.
J Physiol Anthropol. 2014 Aug 6;33:24.
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