How much protein after workout? According to research

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To stimulate muscle growth, you need to eat protein after training. But how much protein is enough, if you are aiming for maximum muscle growth?


First things first. For muscle growth, it is especially important that you eat enough protein throughout the day: according to many studies, 1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight should be sufficient. But for convenience and certainty, we maintain 2 g/kg/d.

In addition, it is advisable to spread those proteins in equal portions (meals) of 20-40 grams throughout the day. So you get a ‘shot’ of proteins every 4-6 hours.

After training, your body may be extra sensitive to proteins. Therefore, make sure to schedule your training between two of those shots. This means that you do not necessarily have to consume proteins immediately after training. If you had a protein-rich meal just before training, you can still rely on that in the hours after training.


Based on research, we can say that when spreading proteins, portions of 20 to 40 grams are sufficient. But what exactly happens after training? A study from 2016 provides the answer.

The researchers wanted to find out how much protein we need after resistance training to maximize muscle protein synthesis. Previous studies say 20 to 25 grams after lifting is enough, so they wanted to compare this to 40 grams. To do this, they examined 30 male strength athletes.

The outcome? Consuming 40 grams of protein post-workout was better than 20 grams. 40 grams resulted in a 20% greater stimulation of muscle protein synthesis over a five-hour period post-workout. This was regardless of the participants’ lean body mass.


But why is it that some other studies said that 20 grams is enough to optimize muscle protein synthesis? Coach Chris Shugart points out that it depends on the nature of the training. If you do full body instead of a split, you may need 40 grams to optimize. Also, if you train a lot (many exercises, sets and reps), you may need a bit more.


You can get those 40 grams of protein from a protein shake, but regular protein sources will do just as well. It’s mostly a matter of preference.


If you do full body workouts and/or intensive workouts that use many different muscles, a post-workout protein intake of 40 grams is optimal.

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