Aside from aesthetics and athletic performance, there are many reasons why an individual should undertake resistance training in order to at least maintain or build muscle mass. Current research suggests that resistance exercise (RE) along with a high protein diet can delay and even partially reverse the onset of age-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (Janssen et al, 2005). Indeed resistance exercise is fundamentally anabolic (muscle building), however a net gain in muscle mass is only possible in conjunction with a high protein diet. Basically, banging out sets in the gym is the fun part but you have to put time in the kitchen if you're serious about trying to achieve some muscle growth. Today's social media influences coupled with an over populated amount of protein choices make it a difficult decision on which protein is best suited for your individual goals.

Taking into account there is no one size fits all approach and to keep things simple I typically use a model called the "Three T's" consisting of Type, Timing and Total. If you can understand the type of protein you should be consuming, when to eat it and how much to eat, then you're on your way to maximizing your anabolic potential.

Type

Whey protein is made during the production of cheese. Depending on the processes undertaken, the 'separated' whey protein becomes a whey protein concentrate (WPC) or a whey protein isolate (WPI). Isolates are the purest protein source available with protein concentrations of 90% or higher. Subsequently, WPI has a faster absorption rate making it a superior choice over the WPC. The main protein that can be found in MUTANT ISO SURGE is WPI. Those looking to maintain or lose weight may look towards MUTANT ISO SURGE given its decreased fat and calorie content. The differences in the anabolic response to MUTANT ISO SURGE and the ingestion of other proteins such as plant based proteins is likely due to a combination of its high leucine and essential amino acids (EAA) content. Leucine which appears to be a key regulator in the 'trigger' of muscle protein synthesis (MPS) is abundant in high quality whey protein but not in soy, casein and most other plant based proteins.

Timing

There is common debate over whether whey protein should be consumed before, during or after a workout. There appears to be no benefit with pre-exercise protein feeding (Burke et al, 2012) and given that protein uptake is blunted whilst muscle is under contraction it makes little sense to consume protein during your workout. My advice would be to concentrate on smashing your sets rather than worry about how many grams of protein you have left to drink! Given the inevitable breakdown of muscle protein following RE, its best practice to ingest MUTANT ISO SURGE immediately following RE.

There appears to be no anabolic window and so guys shouldn't worry if they forget to bring their protein shake to the gym. Gains will still follow. It just makes it more practical to consume your protein shake as soon as possible after your workout however, total protein intake over the course of the day is the strongest predictor of muscle hypertrophy (Schoenfeld et al, 2013). Indeed, consistently having a high intake of protein throughout your day is the best approach to building muscle but here begs the question, how much and when? Protein intake should be evenly distributed throughout the day where one study (Areta et al, 2013), demonstrated that during the 12 h recovery period after a single bout of RE, ingesting 20g of whey protein every 3 hours (4 x 20g) was the optimal feeding pattern over bolus (2 x 40g) and pulsed feeding (8 x 10g) for promoting enhanced rates of MPS.

Total

The first study to examine a protein dose-response relationship with MPS following RE showed that MPS plateaued with the ingestion of 20g of whey protein and that there was no further benefit of ingesting 40g (Moore et al, 2009). There are limitations to this study as the participants were young males (22 ± 2 years) who were given a whole egg protein drink and not a typical mixed macronutrient meal which would be more common practice throughout the day. Moreover, they only performed leg exercises and as such, more recent research suggests an intake of 40g of protein after a whole body workout to be optimal at stimulating MPS (MacNaughton et al, 2016). Further research also suggests ingesting 40g of whey protein following RE for older adults (71 ± 5 years) given that they suffer from a blunted anabolic response (Yang et al, 2003).

In summary, it's clear that the total amount of protein consumed is not the most important factor to consider when it comes to muscle hypertrophy. Many other aspects of protein feeding play a role, including the quantity, timing and source of protein, as well as co-ingestion of other macronutrients. Ingestion of 20–25 g of high-quality protein, i.e. with ample leucine such as whey protein is sufficient to optimize the response, at least in healthy young males. Older gym goers may need twice as much protein for optimal muscle anabolism. Although it appears more practical to ingest protein soon after exercise, it appears that muscle does respond to protein ingestion for at least 24 h following exercise. Accordingly, all high protein meals within that time will contribute to muscle hypertrophy.

Steve O’Mahony, BSc MSc
Performance Nutrition

References:

Areta, J. L., Burke, L. M., Ross, M. L., Camera, D. M., West, D. W. D., Broad, E. M., et al. (2013). Timing and distribution of protein ingestion during prolonged recovery from resistance exercise alters myofibrillar protein synthesis. J. Physiol. 591, 2319–2331.

Burke, L. M., Hawley, J. A., Ross, M. L., Moore, D. R., Phillips, S. M., Slater, G. R., et al. (2012). Pre-exercise aminoacidemia and muscle protein synthesis after resistance exercise. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 44, 1968–1977

Janssen I, Ross R. (2005) Linking age-related changes in skeletal muscle mass and composition with metabolism and disease. J Nutr Health Aging; 9:408– 419

MacNaughton The response of muscle protein synthesis following whole‐body resistance exercise is greater following 40 g than 20 g of ingested whey protein Physiol Rep Aug; 4(15): e12893.

Moore, D. R., Robinson, M. J., Fry, J. L., Tang, J. E., Glover, E. I., Wilkinson, S. B., et al. (2009). Ingested protein dose response of muscle and albumin protein synthesis after resistance exercise in young men 1–3. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 89, 161–168.

Schoenfeld, B. J., Aragon, A. A., and Krieger, J. W. (2013). The effect of protein timing on muscle strength and hypertrophy: a meta-analysis. J. Int. Soc. Sports Nutr. 10:53.