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Whey protein is integral to building muscles

The timing of whey protein intake has been shown to be an important variable for maximizing its effects. Prior studies indicated that when free-form amino acids plus carbohydrate were taken before resistance exercise, it resulted in a more anabolic (muscle building) response compared to consumption after resistance exercise. This was an exciting finding because it showed the value of ingesting amino acids before a workout for maximizing protein synthesis. However, no work had validated these findings using an intact whey protein (not free-form).

A recently published study in the American Journal of Physiology examined whether the timing of whey protein was important in terms of promoting anabolism. Healthy subjects were placed in a group that received 20 grams of whey protein immediately before a bout of resistance exercise or a group that received the same whey protein immediately after. The anabolic response (muscle protein balance) was increased in both groups whether taken before or after exercise. Some subjects had a significantly greater anabolic response when whey protein was consumed before exercise, but the average responses were similar.

The researchers suggested a better time to ingest whey protein before exercise might be 30 to 45 minutes prior to exercise in order to allow for the digestion and absorption of the amino acids. The logical conclusion from this research is to consume whey protein at both time points (both pre and post-exercise) for maximizing protein synthesis and protein balance.

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