T Nation

Protein Timing


#1

So I just read this little "article" about the effect of protein supplement timing. I really don't know much about nutrition and supplementation, so I'm just wondering if this article is really true or if there is actually a better time to have your protein shake.


#2

The abstract doesn’t say anything about the protein content or timing of their meals, so I’m not sure how useful it is.


#3

There are a few things missing in this article, or at least the abstract. There are three groups in this study, all men that have been “resistance trained.” One group took a protein supplement before and after workouts, another group took the supplement in the morning and the evening, and the control group took no supplements. The authors claim that there were no significant differences in strength, max lifts, or body composition between the three groups. This defies what other literature has stated about protein supplements, and timing.

One problem is that we don’t know what the diet of the control group was. If they were seasoned lifters already, then they may have known enough to maintain a high protein intake through regular-food sources during the study. Also, we don’t know what other supplements the case groups were using, when, or how. We also don’t know anything about their diets outside of the study.

Check out these two articles, where they suggest that timing matters, and that protein (when it is synthesized from amino acids) provides a lot of benefit.

http://jap.physiology.org/cgi/content/abstract/88/2/386
http://ajpendo.physiology.org/cgi/content/full/276/4/E628

My two cents: I have had good luck using a carb/protein shake, half before lifting and half after. It may not make a huge difference if I timed it differently, but keeping the shake as “part-of” my workout helps me to be consistent. Also, there’s good evidence that ingesting carbs/protein after an intense workout facilitates recovery.