In a lot of our articles and posts you will hear the words “protein synthesis”. We make mention when referring to a type of workout, a recovery supplement and/or when certain macro’s should be consumed to optimize “protein synthesis”. But what does that mean, what is “protein synthesis”? In short, it is one of the most important biological and metabolic functions when it comes to getting bigger and getting stronger. I am going to try to break it down in a simple fashion that even I can understand.
What is protein synthesis?
Proteins are important in building cells. They are the chains of amino acids which are joined together to form different kinds of protein molecules depending on the various types of amino acids that join to form the proteins. The production of protein by an individual cell is called protein synthesis. In general, it is removing or repairing damaged proteins. The new proteins are stronger and in theory should be able to handle stress more than before. The stress on the muscle cells is caused either by injury or intentionally, such as damage caused from training. The moment you start to exercise, muscle protein synthesis activates and the process of repairing begins. This process can last as long as 48 hours.
Why is it important?
Quite simply, if that process which I have over-simplified, does not happen on a regular basis, your muscles will not recover, repair and grow. That “rebuild and recover” period is key as you have to rebuild and then you have to recover. Once you recover you have to exercise and damage the muscle again, rebuild them and then recover. The length of this recovery is controlled by many factors including your training program, your nutritional program and your lifestyle.
Protein Synthesis & Athletes
As athletes we know when we are going to train and when we are going to put stress and damage on the muscle cells. This means we have to create the best possible anabolic, muscle building, scenario possible. This will help to reduce muscle soreness and increase recovery time. The main thing is to provide enough amino acids so that the protein synthesis process can have access to them. Having aminos in your blood ready to be sucked up by the cells means there is fuel available.
When you are looking to devise the optimal nutritional plan to create the proper protein pool, think about the following:
1. Pre-Workout: Be sure you have enough aminos and protein in your system before you start tearing down the muscle cells. A protein shake using blended protein such as Clinical Protein is ideal for this. Taking additional BCAA’s might also be beneficial as long as they are in the clinical tested 2:1:1 ratio.
2. Post-Workout: Again, be sure that you continue the repair and recovery process when finishing your training. Consuming a protein shake will keep that anabolic window fueled and depending on how soon you eat a solid meal after you train will determine what form of protein you should drink.
3. Daily Protein: Consuming clean protein through out the day will keep your body and muscle cells fueled with amino acids. Eating between 20-40 grams of protein at regular intervals depending on your nutritional requirements is one of the more logical ways to keep the cells full.
As athletes we train. We train because we love that feeling. We crave being in the gym and hitting a PR. Some say there is no greater feeling than the feeling of a pump. To keep that process going and continue to make gains workout to workout, week to week and year to year, you have to understand what is going on in your body and the best way to put yourself in a position to make continual and optimal gains.
I welcome any comments and feedback. I can be reached at Michael@clinicalsportslabs.com.