Usually athletes consume protein soon after exercise. Therefore, it remains unclear how long muscles stay “primed” to respond in an exaggerated manner to protein feeding.
Canadian researchers tested the muscle protein synthesis response to 15g of protein ingested either during a resting state (i.e. no exercise) and then 24 hours after resistance exercise.
Simply feeding whey protein increased muscle protein synthesis, but the effect was augmented more than two-fold when the same 15g of whey protein was consumed 24 hours after resistance exercise.
These data show for the first time that exercise sensitizes specific muscle proteins to increase their production rate in response to whey protein, and the effect lasts for at least one day after exercise.