One of the most talked about topics in the lab, and on the gym floor, is recovery. How can I recover better? How can I reduce post-workout soreness? And, how do I get the gains I want? Well, here it is . . . unbiased, evidence-based, and scientifically proven, FACTS.
Many types of exercise induce damage, soreness and impaired function in the muscles. However, resistance exercise is by far the biggest culprit. And although the ‘day-after DOMS’ seem almost unavoidable at times, there are many methods used to reduce the perils of a good session. One of the most researched and trusted methods for recovery is post-exercise protein consumption, whether that be a whole-food source e.g. lean meat, eggs, and pulses, or a shop bought product e.g. whey or soy protein. Dietary protein supports muscle remodeling, muscle repair and immune function, and is, therefore, an absolutely critical part of any sportsperson diet. Studies have shown administering protein sources directly after weight training can augment recovery, decrease soreness, and increase lean mass gain. However, when choosing post-workout protein sources, it is important to consider the quality and quantity, as well as the timing of intake. These three factors can have a huge impact on your strength and hypertrophy gains.
How much protein do I need? And when should I consume it?
Muscle protein synthesis (MPS) is the process of repairing and rebuilding muscle tissue in the body, its stimulation is affected by the timing and pattern of protein intake in relation to exercise, and such factors can have an impactful role in recovery. Many studies suggest that a dose of between 25-35g of high-quality protein within the 30 minutes following a session is most effective for recovery. You can achieve this dose with around 100g of chicken breast or beef, a 4 egg omelet, or by drinking a shake. Furthermore, to keep the intramuscular pool of amino acids full, and the body in an anabolic state, it is recommended to consume a similar dose every 3-5 hours throughout the day. In the 24 hrs following resistance exercise, MPS sensitivity is enhanced. And in this time, higher doses of protein (up to 40g per sitting) have been shown to further stimulate MPS than lower quantities. However, there is limited evidence to support any protein doses higher than 40g for recovery.
Where should my protein come from?
Many people don’t understand the difference between a good protein source and a poor one. Protein is protein, right? Well, not quite! High-quality protein sources are defined by the quantity of essential amino acids, in particularly leucine, contained in the food or product. Leucine directly activates the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), the primary pathway for muscle recovery and growth in the body. This means that an increased delivery of leucine post-exercise will result in improved muscle recovery. In poor quality protein sources, much of the protein consumed is wasted, and cannot be used to facilitate adaptations. This is why leucine-rich bioavailable protein sources are always recommended in sports nutrition! Whey protein contains the highest amount of leucine, is highly digestible and is therefore widely considered the best recovery supplement for athletes.
How can OptiNOs assist my protein intake?
Just like other macronutrients, proteins are oxidized in the body to provide energy. This means that many of the amino acids that are required to support adaptations are simply wasted. OptiNOs helps to minimize this waste and to ensure that dietary protein is used predominantly for muscle recovery and regrowth. OptiNOs directly stimulates the mTOR pathway, activating protein synthesis, thereby allowing over 70% of the protein consumed to be used for muscle repair and development. In the clinical study using our product, individuals taking OptiNOs gained over 4x the amount of muscle fibers when compared to the control. Our clinical trial also showed a 12x increase in arm size, 6x more endurance, and 3x increase in lean body mass compared to placebo.
It is well known that protein is required in the acute post-training phase, but the ACSM also recommends that protein intake should be spread out in intervals throughout the day (every 3-5 hours). Following this information, it is important to ensure that athletes and gym-goers are smart with their protein choices and can, therefore, maximize their output in the gym. Lean meat, fish, eggs, pulses, beans, and lentils are considered better sources than processed alternatives, and should be incorporated into as many protein feedings as possible. Furthermore, leucine rich protein supplements e.g. whey protein bars and shakes, are a great way to maintain the intramuscular pool of amino acids throughout the day without affecting hunger and fullness. Alongside a healthy balanced diet, OptiNOs supplementation will ensure greater efficiency of the dietary protein consumed, leading to better recovery and increased adaptations.