There’s always been a lot of confusion about which protein to use, how much and when. The December edition of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition published a review of studies to determine the validity of previous research. The conclusions outlined here should be of interest to anyone with a goal of developing muscle hypertrophy (size) and strength.
The research suggests weight lifters interested in building muscle size should try to consume 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day. Since 1 kg equals 2.2 pounds, 1 gram per pound of body weight is about right for the upper end of this recommendation. You should also try to consume 44 to 50 calories per kg of body weight per day, which works out to 20 to 23 calories per pound.
Whether you choose to drink a protein shake pre- or post-workout, the study suggests you can expect increased physical performance, recovery, muscle mass and strength. When choosing a protein, make sure each serving includes 3 to 4 grams of the BCCA leucine to promote protein synthesis. A quality whey shake should meet that need, and combining it with a fast-digesting carb like glucose or maltodextrin helps modulate protein synthesis. Essential amino acids and dextrose work best when consumed pre-workout.
True Strength Moment: Now that you have a better idea of what nutrition support to use and when, the research concludes with a recommendation for experienced lifters looking to enhance muscle size and strength: Plan a weight training routine lasting at least 10 to 12 weeks around compound movements for both upper and lower body.