While working out with weights can help you build muscle, your results will be far from optimal if you do not follow proper nutritional procedures. Fitness and nutrition researcher Dr. John Berardi says post-workout eating is the most important aspect of fitness nutrition and explains that protein is of primary importance. Protein supplies your body with structural components known as amino acids, which are vital to improving your body composition.
Improved Muscle Strength
Because protein increases muscle protein synthesis after exercise, it can help promote increases in strength. Resistance training causes microscopic trauma in your muscles, and consuming protein after your workouts can help your body repair your muscles and adapt to training by increasing strength. According to research from the October 2006 issue of the "International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism," consumption of whey protein after exercise significantly improved strength gains.
Muscle Mass Growth
Consuming a protein shake after your workout is important for increasing the size of your muscles. According to research from the April 2005 issue of the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition," consumption of milk-based proteins is more effective than consumption of soy-based protein for improving muscle growth.
Reduction of Body Fat
In addition to aiding in muscular recovery, protein may help you lose weight when you consume it in conjunction with resistance exercise. A study published in the October 2009 issue of "Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases" found that increased protein daily protein intake and exercise resulted in increased fat and weight loss compared to exercise alone.
Types of Protein
Typically, protein shakes consist of whey protein, a fast-acting dairy protein low in carbohydrates and fat. Whey protein is a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids, which makes it a high-quality sports nutrition supplement. While whey provides benefits, research from the August 2006 issue of the "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research" indicates that combining whey protein with another dairy protein, casein, can be more beneficial than whey alone.
- Precision Nutrition: Precision Nutrition’s “My Plate”
- Whey Protein Institute: Whey Protein FAQ
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: The Effects of Protein and Amino Acid Supplementation on Performance and Training Adaptations During Ten Weeks of Resistance Training
- Journal of the American College of Nutrition: Dietary Protein to Support Anabolism with Resistance Exercise in Men
- Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases: High Protein Diets Decrease Total and Abdominal Fat and Improve CVD Risk Profile in Overweight and Obese Men and Women with Elevated Triacyglycerol
- International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism: The Effect of Whey Isolate and Resistance Training on Strength, Body Composition and Plasma Glutamine
- Adam Gault/Digital Vision/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.