T Nation

When Do You Build Protein?

Not sure if anyone knows the answer to this, but I had read (i think V-Diet and other diet programs) to limit calories on non work out days and more on work out days. Given the differences are only a few hundred calories, I was still thinking that your off day would be a prime muscle building day. So the question is when are you making the most muscle? Right after? Over night? The next day?

when you sleep

[quote]Therizza wrote:
when you sleep[/quote]

when you eat

Protein synthesis - which basically means transcription of genes into messenger RNA and the translating those to proteins - takes place ALL THE TIME!

To build muscle tissue, specific signals are necessary to trigger synthesis of the proteins chains needed to build muscle tissue (it’s a bit more complicated than that. Endocrine environment, presence or abseence of certein suppressor molecules also play a role. But the statement is generally right).

It has been shown, that food induced protein synthesis is low. Which means that overeating, e.g., doesn’t induce synthesis of muscle proteins. Protein pulsing or protein cycling on the other hand can increase synthesis of muscle proeins without a secundary stimulus - such as weigh lifting.

That’s why in clinical nutrition people with 3rd degree burns are sometimes “treated” with protein cycling diets. This seems to accelerate wound healing via increased protein synthesis.

Building muscle due to weighth lifting stimulus is a bit like a wound heaing process. Studies proved that wound healing was almost unaffected in times of malnutrition, i.e. very low protein or very low calorie diets.
This indicates that the process of wound healing is a biological priority an that it is somehow protected against malnutrition.

Having that said, if you follow a training routine the stimulates muscle growth, your body will build muscle (to a certain degree) even if you eat little calories, i.e. below maintenance. (This doesn’t work foever for simple thermodynamic reasons).

You will be making muscle ALL the time. I can’t remember a study showing that muscle protein synthesis is significantly higher when you sleep.

so we don’t have to sleep, since there’s no study stating it’s more anabolic than being awake?

You have to sleep for many reasons, like CNS recovery or health of the intestinal tract. But I think that wasn’t the OP’s question.

Fair enough. I just always operated under the assumption that the majority of healing (as well as muscle building/repair) took place while sleeping.

Depends - It begins immediately after the fibre in question has been stressed accordingly.

Generally speaking though, yes - at rest (from after the workout to around the 72hr mark I believe).

However, the high calories one may eat is all about fuel and making sure that there are enough nutrients to do the jobs they do (whether structural, metabolic, etc.)

The actual amount of amino’s needed to build tissue is very small, if you consider that one muscle cell (muscle fibre) is no larger than 3-6000um2 you can see why.

Of course though, we do not just build muscle tissue with dietary proteins and our bodies do not even consider that a priority - which is 1) why it is so damn hard and 2) why it takes so damn long!


I think that a large part of healing DOES take place while sleeping. What I said is, that there is no study (as far as I know) that shows that synthesis of specific muscle proteins is increased while sleeping and that protein synthesis per se is a 24/7 process…

Seeing as GH and T are both released in their highest amounts during sleep/early hours of the AM - yes, sleep is highly anabolic.

[quote] Brook wrote:
Seeing as GH and T are both released in their highest amounts during sleep/early hours of the AM - yes, sleep is highly anabolic.[/quote]

So are you saying that if you slept for 8 hours, it would be more anabolic than (say) the 8 hours of eating etc that happens following a session? Not trying to pick a fight, just curious as to whether you think the natural hormone fluctuations are more anabolic in and of themselves than ingesting carbs/protein etc during a postworkout period.

And to the OP… When Do You Build Protein? Really? Not Muscle?

It doesn’t work like that i’m afraid.

They are both highly dependant on one another…

  1. Stimulus for adaptation (Exercise)

  2. Anabolic Hormone Release

  3. Nutrition

It isn’t about which is most anabolic - it is about maximising each.

Even 2g/wk of steroids will not do very much unless you have a diet that supports it - and then you still need to stimulate the body for the adaptations you desire…

Technically, many say that food is the most anabolic substance out there, as one can make enormous gains naturally without hormonal drugs, however if you were to remove the pituitary (ceasing the secretion of GH and T), then those gains would soon halt.

You can eat all you like, but if you aren’t stimulating growth with exercise then it will just be stored as fat - and if that pituitary was still missing, well you wouldn’t be building much muscle at all i’d venture.

I am NOT saying that ‘x’ is more anabolic than ‘y’ - simply as i see bodybuilding in a different light to that (physiologically). No one thing is independent of another.

[quote]danchubb wrote:

And to the OP… When Do You Build Protein? Really? Not Muscle?[/quote]

Protein is merely amino acids bonded together, much like a carbohydrate is a string of saccharides.

So technically when we eat protein we break the bonds (which is directly related to how bio-available it is and how long it takes for those aminos to be metabolised) and then our body uses those aminos to build new peptides and proteins to assist in structural repair and growth.

So if you are wanting to split hairs, yes we do build protein.