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Thread: Protein & strength training page

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    Catrin's Avatar
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    Protein & strength training

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    This is probably a silly question and a product of over-thinking, but I need to ask it. I am working hard to build upper body strength with my trainer and it is a terribly slow process. I recognize that my gender and age (53) are both hits against me in this department and I am ok with that. I know this is (and has been) a long & slow process.

    I have to go to work right after my training sessions/individual workouts. I've learned the hard way that I can't do fasted workouts - so I do have a substantial breakfast about 90 minutes before my sessions with a significant amount of protein. As far as my muscles are concerned, does it really matter if we get our protein before, or after, a strength session?

    Am I over-thinking this? I just want to make certain that I am doing all that I can to help my body take advantage of the work.

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    eating a little protein post workout will probably help. at the very least, it won't hurt you in any way (unless you're eating too many calories or too much protein). you could start off your work day with a can of sardines or a couple of hard-boiled eggs. but, the best thing for building strength will be ample recovery time.

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    It's not super important but a lot of people go out of their way to have as much protein surrounding their workout as possible, before, during and immediately after. Others fast before/after and neither is decidedly above the other, too hard to measure and I don't think there's ever been a controlled study either. Personally I've been on both ends of the spectrum as well and I can't readily say one was better than the other. I used to work out fasted when I did so in the morning, and that worked, now that I workout in the late afternoons I eat a few hours before and about a half hour to an hour after (but do take a whey shake during/after - since I mix it with water I use it for hydration and for some protein intake) I've also been fully supplement free - again, no strong noticeable difference. I only take the whey right now for a few reasons a) I can't eat that much muscle protein b) I found a 100% whey isolate with no additives (Now Foods brand) and c) I only take up to 40g on a training day and d) there ARE studies that show intake of whey protein is beneficial, so I opt to use it. Al Kavadlo – We're Working Out! | We're Working Out! takes nothing, and he's a much stronger guy than I am, so you see there's no absolutes in the strength world. The main difference between Al and I is he's been strength training longer than I have (given time, I will reach you Al!), and does so with more intensity and quality of work than I do (I take days off when I shouldn't, don't always eat properly, etc) so I can take all the whey I want, but if I'm not training and eating right it's not going to help that much.

    Strength will mostly come from smart programming, proper rest, stress management, good food, etc.

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    Owly's Avatar
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    Research on carbohydrate-only or protein + carb consumption directly after exercise has shown benefits for men but not so much for women. Having sufficient protein in your diet for repair and recovery is still quite important for women who train, but the benefits of protein consumption during or right after exercise don't seem to be there for us. In other words, eat your protein when you feel like eating it and don't worry about getting it in immediately post-workout.

    Effect of high-protein feeding on perfo... [Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011] - PubMed - NCBI
    Phys Ed: What Exercise Science Doesn't Know About Women - NYTimes.com

    The reality is that most sports nutrition research has been done on men, while studies that look at women's needs are a relatively new phenomenon. As more studies are done, it's becoming increasingly clear that women are not just smaller men when it comes to fuelling workouts (shocking but true!).
    “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

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    Owly's Avatar
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    Also, what iniQuity said about rest, overall quality food intake, stress management, programming, etc. We tend to get all hung up on the minutiae of when to eat what and forget that it really doesn't matter unless you have the rest of the recovery picture dialed in first.
    “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

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    Catrin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iniQuity View Post
    ...
    Strength will mostly come from smart programming, proper rest, stress management, good food, etc.
    I agree, and thankfully I am working with an excellent trainer who is really focusing on my upper body. I do have to force myself to rest enough - I tend to not want to do enough of that. I think my food is right - stress management needs working on. I am trying to be patient with myself, the slow progress has become a bit frustrating but it is what it is. I need to not allow it to frustrate me as that doesn't help. It probably doesn't help that my "weak" arm has been broken in 3 different places, but that was all very long ago.

    I appreciate the feedback, thanks!

    Owly, I just saw your response, thanks for the links! I will read them tonight when I am not in the office. It isn't a surprise to me that they are finding gender differences in fueling I am just taking a step back this week to look at the whole picture to see if there is anything I could/should do differently.
    Last edited by Catrin; 11-20-2012 at 07:43 AM.

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    Really interesting question Catrin - thanks for raising it.

    I've been wondering the same thing recently. I work out often in the evenings so it's after 8pm when I get home - a bit too late for me to eat dinner (I'm an early to bed, early to rise type) so often don't eat at all after workouts and have been wondering whether it is detrimental, bearing in mind that I'm still wanting to drop some fat.

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    I go to the gym at 6:30AM. This means I leave the house at 6. What I have been doing is cooking a steak either the night before or in the morning (I put it in the oven while I take a shower and get dressed, then fry it in a pan for a few minutes just before I leave). Then I eat after my training. I'll nuke a potato in the office microwave and eat it with my steak at my desk. The other day I made a casserole in my crockpot the night before consisting of shredded sweet potato, a little bit of meat and 4 eggs, plus some veggies. I ate a little of this that didn't fit in my tupperware container before the workout. I didn't notice any real difference between eating before or not.

    My progress on upper body stuff has also been very slow. But it's been progress and that is all that matters. In 4+ weeks I have gone from 30lb bench press to 65lbs. I remember when I couldn't even rack the last rep at 55lbs and now that's a warmup rep. I recently ordered some of those big washers so I can make smaller jumps on the upper body stuff. They came yesterday.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Highest squat: 167.5 x 2. Current Deadlift: 195 x 3

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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes View Post

    My progress on upper body stuff has also been very slow. But it's been progress and that is all that matters. In 4+ weeks I have gone from 30lb bench press to 65lbs. I remember when I couldn't even rack the last rep at 55lbs and now that's a warmup rep. I recently ordered some of those big washers so I can make smaller jumps on the upper body stuff. They came yesterday.
    I'm trying to figure out how more than doubling your bench press in 4 weeks is "slow progress"...

    As for the original question, if you're concerned with gaining size or strength it wouldn't hurt to have a little protein post workout, but it's not absolutely necessary.

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    sbhikes's Avatar
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    Well, I've gone from squatting 25lbs to 95lbs in the same period, so it hasn't been as fast as what my legs can do.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Highest squat: 167.5 x 2. Current Deadlift: 195 x 3

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