Protein Meals Hasten Recovery from Intense Exercise

This is a great article on protein and recovery from my friend, Dr. Gabe Mirkin

Three weeks ago I reviewed the latest research showing that protein restriction may be more important than calorie restriction in extending a person’s life.

However, this week I found two studies showing that sometimes it is better to eat protein-rich meals.  One study showed that eating a carbohydrate-protein meal immediately after a hard workout helps you recover faster so you can take your next hard workout sooner (Sports Medicine, November 2010).  The second study showed that eating a protein-rich meal immediately after exercising hastens muscle growth and repair in both young and old men (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 2011).

All sports training for strength, speed and endurance is based on stressing and recovering.  You take a hard workout intense enough to damage your muscles, feel sore the next day, and go at a far less intense pace for as many days as it takes for muscles to heal and the soreness to go away. If you can recover from your hard workout faster, you can do your next hard workout sooner and you will become a better athlete.

Anything that increases the rate that protein building blocks, called amino acids, enter muscles helps muscles heal faster.

Insulin drives amino acids into muscles.  Hard exercise makes your muscles far more sensitive to insulin during exercise and maximally for up to an hour after you finish exercising.  So taking a meal *rich in carbohydrate and protein, *within one hour of finishing your hard workout, will help you recover faster for your next hard workout.  This will help you do more hard workouts that make stronger and faster and give you greater endurance.

Dr. Gabe Mirkin