Will Post Workout Protein Build Muscles?

“Hi Brad, When it comes to how much protein I should eat for muscle building I was wondering if you could tell me what the difference is between ‘whole body protein synthesis’ & ‘mean muscle protein synthesis’?

For instance, I am really interested in the benefits of drinking a protein shake during my workouts since the guy who I buy my protein from said this would help me build muscle.

However, I’m a little worried since I just read this following quote:

“During subsequent overnight recovery, whole-body protein synthesis was 19% greater in the protein group compared to the placebo group (P < 0.05).

However, mean muscle protein synthesis rates during 9 h of overnight recovery did not differ between groups and were 0.056 ± 0.004%/h in the protein group and 0.057 ± 0.004%/h in the placebo group (P = 0.89).

We conclude that, even in a fed state, protein and carbohydrate supplementation stimulates muscle protein synthesis during exercise.
Ingestion of protein with carbohydrate during and immediately after exercise improves whole-body protein synthesis but does not further augment muscle protein synthesis rates during 9 h of subsequent overnight recovery.”

Does this mean that the extra protein DIDN’T help these people build ANY extra muscle?”


You need to remember that you are looking at two different measurements of protein synthesis.

“Whole body protein synthesis” measures the protein synthesis taking place in your entire body – including your liver, heart, lungs, brain, digestive system and muscles. The measurement won’t tell you where the process is happening, just that it’s happening.

“Muscle protein synthesis” specifically measures the amount of synthesis taking place in your skeletal muscle.

According to the quote you shared, the post workout protein shake increased whole-body protein synthesis, but didn’t increase muscle protein synthesis. The extra protein increased synthesis elsewhere in the body, but didn’t have a measurable effect on muscles.

If you’re trying to build muscle by taking protein before, during and after your workouts, the research you quote seems to indicate that doing so won’t help you accomplish that.

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