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Protein makes the most of training

Press Release   •   Sep 15, 2008 16:37 GMT

Whether elite or amateur, all sports folk need to support their muscles with a protein-rich diet.

Performance-enhancing doping in sport is not only unethical and a risk to health it is also largely a waste of time, says Klavs Madsen, head of the Institute for Sport at the University of Aarhus in Denmark and a specialist in muscle training. Research shows that virtually the same effect can be achieved ethically and without risk just by having the right diet.

Performance-enhancing doping in sport is not only unethical and a risk to health it is also largely a waste of time, says Klavs Madsen, head of the Institute for Sport at the University of Aarhus in Denmark and a specialist in muscle training. Research shows that virtually the same effect can be achieved ethically and without risk just by having the right diet.

Sports nutrition products that combine protein with carbohydrate have become increasingly recognised for their importance in muscle development. More recently, the organic acid creatine naturally present, for example, in chicken meat has been pinpointed for its role in transporting dietary protein to muscles.

The right timing

For effective muscle building, diet is the key, both with regard to content and timing, Klavs Madsen explains. Training prepares muscles for growth, but this can only happen if muscles then receive the protein they need.

Optimum gain is obtained by consuming protein-rich foods within the first three hours after physical exercise including a recovery meal within the first half hour and a main meal a short while later. This both promotes rapid recovery of the muscles and enables their further development. The type of training itself determines whether the individual’s muscles become honed to endurance sports, such as cycling or marathon running, or to sports, such as javelin throwing or weight lifting, that rely on explosive muscular power.

Fast effect

The right training and diet will give an effect after four weeks. As a result, the number of mitochondria will increase in muscle cells. These cellular muscle sources improve energy production from oxygen, carbohydrates and fat leading to a sense of fitness. Actin myosin filaments make the muscles bigger, says Klavs Madsen.
Prior to events such as the Olympic Games, the participating athletes follow a precise diet plan and training programme. Training is typically less intensive in the final 14 days before a competition to ensure the body is in top form.
    
A general need

But the right nutrition is not just important for elite sports people. As fitness centres record a growing number of members and more consumers recognise the need for physical activity, they, too, should consider their diet.
Those who exercise just for general fitness also need the right input to ensure they get the most out of their training, Klavs Madsen states.
Many have already heeded the need creating a new trend that has taken sports nutrition products out of a niche and into the maintstream market.



Ref. Phillips, et al.

In a study of young, moderately fit adults, the rate of protein synthesis in muscles was seen to be at its highest right after exercise. Maximum gain was obtained by consuming a protein-containing food or beverage product within the first three hours. Another study has found that, in the first four hours after exercise, protein synthesis is around 50% higher in trained individuals compared to untrained.