Protein Shakes May Not Do Much for Your Muscles After a Workout
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If you are looking for a protein shake after a weights workout in the gym, you may not be doing the good you think you are.
In fact, weight lifters and even those who go to the gym every day have learned that the key to successful muscle repair after an intense bodybuilding session is to drink protein shakes.
But a new study from the University of Lincoln in the UK suggests that protein shakes are not more effective at rebuilding muscle and increasing recovery than high-carb drinks, such as sports drinks.
In fact, British researchers say that neither whey protein nor milk drinks can improve muscle recovery or relieve pain compared to a drink containing only carbohydrates.
This refutes a lot of knowledge about exercise, so it is important to consider the details of the study.
What’s the best post-workout recovery drink?
For the study, published in the Journal of Human Cinetics, researchers recruited 30 men aged 20 to 30 years. All participants had at least one year of experience in resistance training prior to the study.
The 30 participants were divided into three groups. Each group had to consume a whey hydrolyzate based drink, milk or flavored carbohydrate after an intensive resistance workout.
After training, participants were reassessed and asked to rate their muscle pain level on a scale from zero (“no muscle pain”) to 200 (“as intense muscle pain as possible”). The researchers also asked the participants to perform a series of strength and power assessments, including throwing a sitting medicine ball and jumping as high as possible from a squatting position.
At the beginning of the study, all participants rated their muscle pain between 19 and 26 years, or not enough. Then they reassessed these measures 24 and 48 hours after the weightlifting session. All participants rated their pain above 90, which is quite high.
In addition, during physical evaluations, participants showed a reduction in muscle power and function.
However, there was no difference in recovery response and pain scores between the three different groups. The authors of the study concluded that there was no additional benefit in consuming protein shakes or protein shakes for muscle recovery.
“Although protein and carbohydrate are essential for the effective repair of muscle fibers after intensive strength training, our research suggests that changing the shape of the protein immediately after training does not strongly influence the recovery response or “Muscle pain,” said lead author Thomas Gee, PhD, head of the force and sport fitness program at Lincoln University, said in a statement. “We would presume that well-balanced daily nutritional practices would have a greater influence on the recovery of late-onset muscle pain.”
Imperfection in the study
These results seem surprising, precisely because they refute a common wisdom in training. Previous research Trusted Source has shown that proteins can relieve pain, speed recovery and help repair broken muscles during weightlifting. In addition, a review of almost 50 studies found that protein supplementation significantly increased muscle strength and size during resistance training.
Therefore, it is important to point out some problems with this study that you should consider when asking if you should have a drink after a leg day.
First, the study is quite small: it only had 30 participants. Many small-scale studies are reported, and many studies in this area are also small, but it is necessary to remain alert about the need for larger and more complete studies to verify the results.
Second, despite the use of three different drinks, the researchers did not use any control. In other words, they didn’t have a group that only consumed water. As a result, they may have been able to determine if nutrient-rich drinks have any value in terms of recovery.
“Muscle recovery and repair is not just a protein,” says Melissa Morris, EdD, professor of applied kinesiology at the University of Tampa. “You should also consider the type of training, rest, hydration and nutrition in general, which makes it difficult to link proteins for repair and recovery.”
In fact, muscle repair and reconstruction require protein and carbohydrates. Proteins help restore muscles and build strength; Carbohydrates restore glycogen levels Glycogen is a substance stored in the muscles and used by the body to produce energy.
In the short term, for example, 24 to 48 hours after a workout, the nutrient mixture may be less important. But in the long run, a high quality protein that contains carbohydrates can outweigh carbohydrates or proteins alone. More research would be needed to verify this.
“In my 15 years of experience as a coach, what seems to matter to amateur athletes or ordinary people is the total quantity and quality of the proteins consumed during the day., Instead of the precise moment of protein intake,” says Jonathan, a sports nutritionist. Wong, CEO and founder of Genesis Gym.