Make the Most of your Pre-Season…Protein Supplementation.
This is the first in a series of blogs that will help you to Make the Most of your Pre-Season training, which many winter sports in the Northern Hemisphere are about to embark on.
Our first entry is by Mark Ross who is an Exercise Physiologist at Edinurgh Napier University and Head of Sports Science for Murrayfield Wanderers. He explores Post-Training Nutrition in terms of what, when and how much to take.
Mark is a big supporter of evidence-based practice and always makes sure that what he tells his athletes is from up-to-date research by experts in the field, which goes for nutrition as well as training.Post-Training Nutrition: Optimizing the Gains
Post-training supplement intake has become increasingly popular amongst athletes and casual gym-goers alike. Protein supplements are being ingested to increase muscle mass and to improve recovery between training sessions. However, the exact dose, timing and structure of dosages, as well as the optimal supplement to take to optimise adaptation, whatever your goal, remains widely unknown amongst amateur sporting clubs.
Recently it has been found that the optimal dose of protein appears to be 20g (Moore et al., 2009), with any additional protein seemingly going to waste.
It’s not just comedians who realise the importance of timing…
It has also been found that in the 15 minute period immediately post weight training, there is some minor damage to the stomach/intestinal lining that inhibits protein absorption (van Wijck et al., 2013).
In addition to this, researchers in Canada have found that by giving athletes multiple doses after a training session (immediately, 3 hours-post and 3 hours-post again) appears to stimulate protein build-up to a greater extent than one large dose (Areta et al., 2013).
Therefore, what I tell my players is to take their post-training supplement (20g) 15 minutes post-exercise, once again 3 hours after, and once more before bed. This is only the case for hypertrophy season (which we are currently in) to optimise muscle mass gains.
Moving into pre-season, and then into in-season, focus is not on gaining muscle mass, but to ensure sufficient recovery between training sessions and to replace any glycogen stores (muscle fuel stores that are depleted after a high intensity exercise training session). Therefore I recommend my players and athletes to ingest a carbohydrate-protein blend, with a ratio of 2:1, enabling optimal glycogen replenishment, as well as repairing damaged muscle.
Which Protein should you take?
It is also important what form of protein to take, whether that be whey, soy or casein. I recommend my players to ingest whey protein that has a higher leucine content, as leucine appears to be a key trigger in the muscle building/repair process (Dreyer et al., 2008).
Athletes should also take note that it doesn’t have to come in the form of a protein shake. For example chocolate milk has been shown to improve muscle recovery after exercise (Gilson et al., 2010).
In the end it’s all about looking at what you need your players to be able to do, and what stage of your training cycle are you in. Do the background reading, and find simple, cost-effective means of achieving this. You do not always have to go with the most expensive product, just what’s right for you and your team.
If you have any questions or feedback then please don’t hesitate to leave a reply below and I’ll get back to you.
Good luck in your training.
Follow Mark on Twitter – @mross013
If anyone is interested in the full reference list, then please leave a comment below and we will send them through to you.