GordyR's Beginners Guide to Bodybuilding

17 Jun 2010
Just started doing some dumbell free weights recently, been a long time since I was in to this. Around 12 years. Do people still have pre workout supplements either a protein shake or something else? Also, before sleeping do any of you have some protein via say cashews/cottage cheese or peanut butter?

Principle = the primary physiological mechanism that matters for hypertrophy is muscle protein synthesis, which is activated when sufficient levels of protein (specifically certain amino acids which are what proteins is broken down into) are ingested. Once this processed is triggered, MPS stays elevated for a while - with a refractory period whereby further ingestion makes no difference - before returning to base-line, upon which time you can elevate MPS again. If you're interested in the ins-and-outs of this, read up on the Leucine Threshold.

Taking the above into account, if the goal is to maximise potential muscle gain as a result of training at sufficient intensity/volume and sufficient calories are being ingested to actually build new tissue, then according to current evidence it seems the most optimal strategy is to spread your protein intake out between 3-6 servings a day. Let preference and calorie demands determine that number.

Putting the above into practice, you want some sort of dietary protein in the hours preceding and after training. If you have a smaller serving of protein pre-training (e.g. protein shake) then ideally you have a bigger serving after (e.g. a proper dinner) and vice-versa.

Similarly, given the longest period you go without food is during sleep, having a serving of slower-digesting protein before bed is a good strategy, whether that's casein - which is broken down slower than whey - or a mixed-type meal.

When it comes to where this protein comes from, stick to the usual food sources and whey/casein powder - these are cheap - things like BCAAS and EAAs are over-priced and you don't get any benefit (and come with some disadvantages) over just having a normal shake.
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