Protein Before Workout?

I’ve already written an article on post workout protein/nutrition.  Hopefully this helped you see through some of the supplement hype about taking a “muscle-building” supplement right after you train (you may also want to check out my post entitled: How Much Protein?).

But what about taking a protein supplement before you train?  Is it important?

A study was published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.  10 males were given either 10 grams of protein or 10 grams of carbohydrates (maltodextrose) 30 minutes prior to a leg workout.  The subjects were tested to see if the protein had any positive muscle-building affect when compared to the carbohydrate taken pre-workout.  Here’s the result:

Conclusion: Ingestion of 10 g of whey protein prior to an acute bout of lower body resistance exercise had no significant preferential effect compared to carbohydrate on systemic and cellular signaling markers indicative of muscle protein synthesis in untrained individuals.1

There you have it: yet another reason not to obsess over the timing of your protein shake or the exact macronutrients in your pre-workout meal.  Just lift the stinkin’ weights!

Note: I’d highly recommend Brad Pilon’s How Much Protein book if you want to read some eye-opening research.


1. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2011 Nov 8;8:18. Ingestion of 10 grams of whey protein prior to a single bout of resistance exercise does not augment Akt/mTOR pathway signaling compared to carbohydrate.

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