A quick look of the digestive rates of the different types of protein illustrates the problem. There are four commonly used proteins in sports drinks, Whey, casein, egg and soy. While there is individual variability in how fast we digest food, the average times for digestion (that is, until amino acids are released) are as follows:
- Whey - 2 hours
- Soy and egg - 5 hours
- Casein - 7 hours
This means that if you take your protein supplement after your workout, it is hours before your muscles get the amino acids they need to thrive and grow.
A recent study supports this. Subjects participated in two exercise trials - they performed an intense 45-minute resistance workout for the legs, with a protein (amino acid) and carb drink taken either before or after the workout.
In the group that took the drink before working out, not only was twice as much protein taken up by the muscles post workout, this process continued far longer when the drink was consumed before training.
These are significant differences that will directly transfer to increased muscle growth. So what do you need to do?