Muscle Protein Synthesis and the Anabolic Window / Elite FTS
Its popularity makes sense: Muscle cells undergo constant damage and repair. MPS, on the other hand, is the process by which muscle is repaired, and therefore is likewise a constant activity in the body. MPS creates extra tissue that is added to muscle. This spike is why Gatorade now buys discarded whey from cheese factories. Unfortunately for the athletes standing to benefit from an improved understanding of the anabolic window, nearly two decades of incomplete research and overzealous promotion have created a mess.
The general importance of calories, protein, carbs, etc. They concentrated temporally on the lifting period and on very basic nutrients, particularly amino acids and simple carbs.
Writers and supplement companies jumped on the resulting publications to push a new category of post-workout shakes, pills, and powders. For this particular study, however, the team gave two groups of fasted subjects a pre-workout drink, led them through some leg presses and leg extensions, and collected blood and biopsy data. The blood and tissue samples show pretty conclusively that MPS was jacked up in the experimental group.
On the one hand, they were critical in shining a light on how amino acids, carbohydrates, hormones, and other factors combined to create new muscle. On the other hand, they were entirely inappropriate for use as the foundation of a new supplementation model. Their focus was on discovering ways to counteract sarcopenia, atrophy, and other causes of muscle wasting. Any discoveries of relevance to gym rats would be tangential or even coincidental.
More specifically, even if these groups had been trying to create a new workout nutrition protocol, their studies were far too preliminary to spark anything more than ideas. For a nutrition study, this meant relying on fasted subjects. Remember that these studies were used to justify complex workout nutrition protocols prescribed to a population that not only made a habit of avoiding fasted states, but also consumed calories with more regularity and in greater quantity than the general populace.
These lifters had a robust mixture of amino acids, carbohydrates, lipids, and hormones ready to respond to any training stimulus. Put another way, an average meal consumed before lifting would, by its very nature, fall into the workout nutrition paradigm because its digested macronutrients would be circulating through the body during the entire workout. Now, compare these lifters to individuals who have fasted overnight. Not only are their blood sugar, glycogen, and hormone levels depressed, but their bodies are also caught in an absolutely minimal state of blood-amino acid levels.
There are two major questions: For the ease of demonstration, imagine a two-group workout nutrition study. The experimental group receives a dose of amino acids and carbs right before lifting while the control group receives the same quantity of extra nutrients, but spaced out hours after lifting.
Hoffman ran a week trial that compared a pre- and post-workout supplement group with a morning and evening supplement group and turned up no significant findings.
Being small-scale hypertrophy studies, neither could afford anything more complicated than dietary self-reporting. This international team was one of the first to look at our question in the manner of the above table. They tested the difference between two large, gram doses taken immediately post-workout and shortly afterwards, and ranges of smaller doses that in total were equal to the two large doses.
But this all assumes that lab-defined MPS has a direct relationship to actual hypertrophy. Even if workout nutrition leads to benefits that are tangible, permanent, and standalone, they may be extremely minor. They go on to say that meaningful studies might be impossible to properly conduct due to the logistical and procedural issues inherent in a complicated, year-long statement.
And these are two of the guys who started this entire trend in the first place. If there were a tangible, short-lived anabolic window, then it should be much easier to simultaneously lose fat and gain muscle.
The burst of MPS during the anabolic window would add muscle, the following fast would reduce overall calories, and the next training session would maintain the gains. Admittedly, this body of research is seen in the eye of its beholder, but my takeaway is that, at the very least, the idea of a tiny, anabolic window is tenuous. I also think that spending good money on exotic circa-workout protein, amino, and carb blends is probably a waste, given both the tenuous nature of the window concept and the fact that the most-engineered products are generally the least validated.
Your Cart You have no items in your shopping cart. New Items Strength Equipment. Brandon Patterson Sep 10, Sign up for the Latest News and Offers. Order Online or Call or We are not EliteFitness.