Current Dietary Recommendations in Strength Training
Efforts to expand the limits of human strength and endurance have
kept the scientist and the athlete occupied for centuries. The quest
for another pound of muscle, or to lift next couple of kilos has been
relentlessly pursued in the gym and the laboratory alike. As the questions
and conquests became more challenging, the answers have become more
elusive and complicated. Few concepts and conclusions have withstood
the test of time in exercise physiology. Even as we tackle the metabolic
and genetic basis of skeletal muscle response to strength training,
there are only some things that we know for sure.
Strength is the cumulative expression of the innumerable myofibrils
orderly arranged to form the muscle. Strength training attempts to
boost these protein motors and the biological machinery that supports
them. Resistance exercises create a biochemical environment in the
body wherein the turnover of proteins is optimized and the protein
synthetic machinery is primed for growth. All that is needed to trigger
a spurt of growth is a protein rich meal. This response occurs in
all age groups, although it is less efficient in the elderly. According
to Philips SM, Tipton KD and others, in young individuals, the muscle
is receptive to protein and amino acids for 48 hours after a workout.
The only limiting factor for the hypertrophy of skeletal muscles during
this period is the availability of high quality proteins.
A few tricks can amplify the growth response to strength training.
The synthetic machinery has a ceiling. It can only handle a certain
amount of amino acids at a time (specifically, six grams of protein).
However, as the response lasts for two days, Bohe` J., in a dose-response
study published in Journal of Physiology, 2003, recommended that repeated
supplementation with three to six grams of high quality protein during
the 48 hours after a workout can optimize the protein synthetic response
without topping out the protein synthetic enzyme systems. Combining
protein supplements with adequate carbohydrate (35g of sucrose with
every 6g of protein) is also helpful. The carbohydrate acts as fuel
for the muscle fibers sparing the protein for growth.
Research into the response of untrained strength athletes has come
up with surprising results. The demand for proteins increases in both
the trained and the untrained states. However, the relative protein
requirement of an untrained athlete per kg per day often exceeds the
trained counterpart. The initial phase of resistance training is exemplified
by rapid growth and hypertrophy of skeletal muscles, before it hits
the plateau. Another factor is the relative inefficiency of the protein
synthetic machinery in the untrained state. Well-formulated protein
supplements are thus necessary to sustain even the early phases of
This is not to say that the protein requirements of the trained strength
athlete are comparable to the sedentary population. By the time the
maintenance phase of resistance training is reached, the lean body
mass would have expanded exponentially. The total quantity of proteins
that are broken down and reformed during protein turnover in a trained
strength athlete is still many times higher than normal levels. Philips
SM, in his review on Protein Requirements in Strength Athletes, states
that this requirement may be as high as 1.5 times baseline levels.
The hunt then is for a high quality protein diet that would supply
all the essential amino acids required. Considering the various biochemical
principles discussed, this protein supplementation should be rapidly
absorbable so that amino acids delivery can be accurately timed to
the post-workout period. Rapid absorption would also enable multiple
doses of the protein supplement to be taken during this period. The
protein supplement also needs to be in small quantities (3 to 6g)
to prevent saturating protein synthesis pathways and to minimize protein
waste through excretion.
Protein supplements that meet all of these requirements, such as
Profect protein beverage by Protica Research, are used widely across
weightlifting communities. The unique constitution of Profect enables
it to provide not only all the essential amino acids, but also the
specific amino acids used in muscle fiber synthesis. Profect promotes
the synthesis of Glutathione, an antioxidant that neutralizes free
radicals. These free radicals, produced during anaerobic workouts
like resistance training, injure the cell membranes. Short term insults
like muscle sprains to long term effects like aging and cancer have
been attributed to free radicals. Supplementing the diet with Profect
can boost the normal levels of the free radical scavenger, Glutathione
and help avert free radical damage.
Undeniably, protein reigns as the supreme building block for strength
training. The difference between you and your next pound of muscle
can oftentimes be a measurement of the type of protein formula you
use in your diet.
Founded in 2001, Protica, Inc. is a nutritional research firm with
offices in Lafayette Hill and Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. Protica
manufactures capsulized foods, including Profect, a compact, hypoallergenic,
ready-to-drink protein beverage containing zero carbohydrates and
zero fat. Information on Protica is available at www.protica.com.
You can also learn about Profect at www.profect.com.
Copyright 2004 - Protica Research -