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Health & Fit Exactly How Much Protein You Need Postride to Improve Recovery

22:55  10 october  2020
22:55  10 october  2020 Source:   bicycling.com

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a person wearing a hat: Prep that protein shake for after your next long ride for muscle-boosting benefits. © Brian Barnhart Prep that protein shake for after your next long ride for muscle-boosting benefits.

  • A new study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found consuming protein after endurance exercise can increase your muscle recovery.
  • Researchers found that postworkout protein may also have an impact on how muscles respond to future endurance exercise.
  • The study found that 30 grams of protein seemed to be sufficient enough to produce a measurable increase in muscle recovery.

Protein is often touted as a postexercise muscle builder, but does that apply to endurance exercise—like cycling—or only high-intensity resistance training? A new study suggests that for better muscle conditioning, you should get that postride protein ready.

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Published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the research looked at 48 healthy, endurance-trained men with an average age of 27, and separated them into two groups. All participants performed 90 minutes of continuous endurance exercise on a cycle ergometer, then had blood tests and muscle biopsies samples collected for six hours afterward.

All of the people in the study had 45 grams of carbohydrates after exercise; one group had no postexercise protein, and the other consumed 15 to 45 grams of milk protein in addition to the carbohydrates.

Researchers found that not only does protein intake result in significant benefits on skeletal muscle, but may also have an impact on how muscles respond to endurance exercise in the future.

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“Exercise leads to an increase in muscle protein synthesis as well as muscle protein breakdown,” study co-author Luc van Loon, Ph.D, physiology of exercise professor at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, told Bicycling. “However, the balance between synthesis and breakdown remains negative when no food is ingested. Having protein stimulates synthesis and inhibits breakdown, and this facilitates the repair of damage. It also supports the adaptive response of muscle to exercise training.”

This effect has often been studied around resistance training, he said, but there’s much less data on recovery and reconditioning when it comes to the benefits of refueling after endurance exercise with protein.

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In terms of how much you need, van Loon said 30 grams seemed to be sufficient enough to produce a measurable increase in muscle recovery—effects that lasted for hours after consumption—but you don’t get an extra muscle boost simply by having more than the recommended amount. However, that doesn’t mean it gets wasted.

“Protein not used for muscle protein synthesis can be used for synthesis of other proteins besides muscle,” he said. “It can also be partly converted to fat to be used later as an energy source.”

Although the study was done on young, healthy men, van Loon said there has not been much data to suggest there are large differences between men and women—or between older and younger people—when it comes to protein getting absorbed into muscles after exercise. But he did add that the optimal amount of protein may be less for women than men if they have a lower amount of active muscle tissue.

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