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  • How much? 20 grams of high quality protein (Or 9 grams of Essential Amino Acids)
  • When? Within 2 hours of every session of exercise or within every 4 hours of any meal.
  • What kind? Whey Protein or BCAAs after exercise are most effective. Egg Protein, or Casein Protein should be taken before bed or more prolonged periods between eating.


The most important thing your body creates, uses, and destroys. Proteins are the machinery that your body creates to do work, without it your body cannot run reactions nearly fast enough to keep up with the demands of every day life.

Any time you take in protein, it’s important to answer the question: How much do I need? The answer is that you get a maximal benefit at 20 grams of protein. That is exactly the number you are looking for, more is not necessarily useful, less is not as useful (1).

BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) – The most quickly absorbed amino acids, the building blocks of protein.

Whey Protein Isolate – A quickly metabolized protein.

Casein Protein – A more slowly metabolized protein.

Egg Protein – A medium rate metabolized protein.


Data shows that taking protein up to 48 hours after your exercise still shows a positive effect on muscle protein synthesis (MPS). This means that you need to maintain your higher level of protein up to two days after you’ve worked out (2)!


As you train over the long term, it is important to realize that doing the same exercises of the same muscle groups in the same manner will cause your muscles to get used to the action and decreases the length of time over which they will be susceptible to muscle protein synthesis. This means that you need to do two things: 1) Vary your workouts to avoid this as much as possible 2) Take your protein as close to your workout as possible (Less than 2 hours) (3). This is an often overlooked problem that trained athletes can run into, do not be lax in getting the necessary protein immediately after your workout. Your muscles have adapted to respond to this change as you’ve developed in your training program. The more intensive your training and the more accustomed you are to working out, the more crucial it becomes to deliver Amino Acids, the building blocks of proteins, to your muscle in close proximity to exercise.

Whey protein isolate in particular may increase recovery after training, give better long term gains, and create a better amino acid profile for muscle protein synthesis (4).

A major difference between Aerobic and Anaerobic training is the use of the protein, which in the case of anaerobic (Heavy Lifting) the protein is used for hypertrophying (growing) the muscle, while in aerobic (endurance) exercises the protein is mainly used to maintain current size as well as create optimal protein concentrations and subtypes in mitochondria, which are responsible for breaking down fat for long term energy to fuel these muscles. This means that it is important for both the aerobic and anaerobic athletes to consume protein, not just to build a bulky looking muscle.

A small note is that women may need less protein before or during a workout, and as such, it is probably not as important that they pre-load with protein, so much as ensure that they are getting the amount of quality protein after exercising (2).

Best of luck as you move forward toward your goals, we’re rooting for you, always.

Notes – Many of these statements have not been elucidated fully, but are the result of the best indication of the literature thus far. As always, consult a physician before beginning any new training regimen or nutrition program.

Works Cited:

1) Daniel R Moore, Meghann J Robinson, Jessica L Fry, Jason E Tang, Elisa I Glover, Sarah B Wilkinson, Todd Prior, Mark A Tarnopolsky, and Stuart M Phillips. “Ingested protein dose response of muscle and albumin protein synthesis after resistance exercise in young men.” Am J Clin Nutr 89:161-168 (2009): 8 pages.

2) Nicholas A. Burd, Jason E. Tang, Daniel R. Moore and Stuart M. Phillips. “Exercise training and protein metabolism: influences of contraction, protein intake, and sex based differences.” J Appl Physiol. 106: 1692-1701, (2009): 10 pages.

2) William J. Kraemer and Nicholar A. Ratamess. “Fundamentals of Resistance Training: Progression and Exercise Prescription.” Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2004 Apr;36(4):674-688.

3) Hulmi et al. “Effect of protein/essential amino acids and resistance training on skeletal muscle hypertrophy: A case for whey protein.” Nutrition & Metabolism 2010, 7:51.

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