by Chad M. Kerksick, PhD, ATC, CSCS*D, NSCA-CPT*DArticles
Paramedics and other emergency personnel will attest to the fact that, in emergency scenarios, the sooner immediate care can be provided, the greater the chance a victim will survive. Similar statements can be made regarding the timing of nutrients after an intense exercise bout. In this respect, evidence continues to accumulate which indicates that when you consume your nutrients may be equally as important as how much or what type [1-3]. In short, the sooner the better!
In all fairness, a convincing argument for nutrient timing could be applied using any form of food or supplementation. When time is taken, however, and a formulation is developed which combines several areas of supportive nutrients, the potential for excellence in that formulation goes up drastically. Case in point, MyoZene , a new formulation by the folks at
BioQuestjust might be one of the more complete formulations available, at least that is what some well-acclaimed heavy-hitters in the sports nutrition world have reported after reviewing the formulation and the research associated with it. Here's why they are so excited.
Building a Solid Foundation
In recent years, our knowledge of what nutrients are most important for supporting positive adaptations to resistance training has grown exponentially. It has been reported for many years now that individuals who regularly train have a 2x greater protein requirement than sedentary individuals [4, 5] and require 30 - 50% more protein than endurance athletes [4, 5]. Greater protein is needed to help facilitate recovery from intense exercise, repair damaged cells and further promote the adaptations seen with regular resistance training. In this respect, studies continues to show when some combination of protein and amino acids are added to a regular resistance training program that greater adaptations such as increases in strength  and body composition [6, 7] occur. In addition, studies have suggested that protein type is an important consideration. For example, ingestion of high-quality sources of protein facilitates training adaptations [6, 8].
On an individual level, whey protein is often reported to stimulate higher amounts of protein synthesis when compared to a casein protein due to the greater levels of essential amino acids found in whey when compared to casein . Only the essential amino acids or those which our body can't make have been shown to be necessary to stimulate muscle protein synthesis  and that's important because whey proteins typically have the greatest levels of these amino acids. Additionally, the digestion rate of proteins is critically important; with faster digesting proteins being responsible for greater increases in muscle protein synthesis [11, 12]. As such, the degree of hydrolysis is thought to be an important factor as well because more hydrolyzed proteins, the smaller the protein fragments, the faster they can be digested and in theory the greater anabolic response produced.
Not Just How Much, Not Just What Type, But When???
As you would imagine, the science followed down this path as many studies began to investigate the impact of ingesting faster-digesting proteins. One of the first paradigms developed was that when a small dose (6-12 grams) of essential amino acids (about the same amount that you typically get in a 25 gram dose of a high-quality whey protein) was ingested closer to the end of the resistance training bout, muscle protein synthesis was increased. In fact, when delivery of these nutrients was delayed by just two hours, the extent to which muscle protein synthesis occurred was decreased . In a similar light, individuals participating in a heavy resistance training program expend tremendous amounts of energy and one of the major sources of fuel that is burned up by your muscles is glycogen. Glycogen is a stored form of carbohydrate found primarily in our liver and muscle and it is preferentially used by our body to fuel the muscles during exercise .
When a carbohydrate supplement was provided within 30 minutes of completing an exhaustive bout of cycling, significantly greater amounts of glycogen were restored (more immediate ingestion resulted in faster rates of glycogen re-synthesis) . Now you may be thinking this is an article about resistance training, so why is he talking about carbohydrates all of a sudden? The reason being is that decreases in muscle glycogen during a workout or even worse starting a workout with low glycogen levels have been shown to result in a scenario that greatly challenges recovery, performance and oftentimes leads to an overall increase in the catabolic state of the body . Without getting too far off on this tangent, this is a perfect scenario where any product containing high-quality carbohydrates and a small amount of protein before your workout such as Raptors bars or Muscle Maize can be an important consideration as well.
If you've paid close attention, all of the studies mentioned to date only involved one bout of exercise, but you resistance train week after week, right? What do these studies say? Fortunately, several studies have examined the impact of different nutrient timing strategies in these situations as well [2, 3, 16, 17]. One of the first studies performed in untrained elderly (74.1 +or- 1 yrs) men had half of the participants consume a modest combination of protein (10 grams), carbohydrates (7 grams) and fat (3 grams) immediately after or two hours after completing a bout of resistance training (3 days/week) over 12 weeks. When ingested immediately after exercise, greater increases in muscle cross-sectional area and muscle fiber area were found in comparison to waiting just two hours . Thus, the sooner the better! Similarly, another study had young (21-24 years) recreationally trained men consume a protein (40 grams) and carbohydrate (43 grams) supplement at two distinct times relative to their workouts. One group ingested a dose in the morning and a dose in the evening while the other group ingested a dose immediately before and a dose immediately after each exercise bout .
Nutrient ingestion in close proximity to the exercise bout significantly increased lean mass and cross-sectional area of type II muscle fibers when compared to the other group, further suggesting that when nutrients are ingested is an important factor to consider. Finally, a third study  was conducted in highly trained collegiate athletes as opposed to sedentary or recreationally trained individuals and again had participants ingest nutrients either in a morning/evening or immediate before/after regimen. While no differences in strength or body composition changes were found between groups (something that wasn't found previously), the authors suggested this difference was likely due to three important facts: 1) the energy intake of their participants may have been inadequate to optimally support an anabolic environment in the muscles; thus slugging down protein shakes can help but if you are still deficient in calories your body won't have enough energy to build more muscle; 2) they were trained to a much greater extent versus the untrained and recreationally active athletes used in the previous two studies and 3) the first two studies provided a combination of protein and carbohydrate in similar proportions while the final study (which showed no effect for timing) provided primarily protein, further suggesting that a combination of protein and carbohydrates are needed to stimulate muscle growth.
Just in case you're wondering MyoZene utilizes this combined approach of carbohydrates (60 grams/serving) and protein (25 grams/serving); a combination which has been shown by many studies to optimally prime your muscles for growth and recovery [2, 16, 18]. Not to just talk about studies that involved similar nutrients, a preliminary study was presented at a national meeting using the actual MyoZene formulation. After two weeks of resistance training six days per week, maximal strength levels shot up 24% and improved even further to a 32% increase after four weeks of training. In addition, similar increases in lean mass and decreases in fat were seen between groups after four weeks of resistance training and taking MyoZene.
Consuming nutrients as soon as possible after your workout is probably one of the most important habits to develop. It can provide critical fuel sources for recovery and ideal building blocks to start the process of muscle growth. While more research is being conducted, we do know that an ideal post-exercise supplement needs to include a healthy dose of carbohydrates AND protein as this combination synergistically works to improve both acute as well as the chronic changes found while resistance training. While MyoZene and admittedly a whole host of other supplement options can provide this combination, the MyoZene formulation ups the ante on everyone else. The added blend of creatine and leucine adds what are likely the two most popular amino acids in the last twenty years for the sports nutrition world [20-22]. Researchers and athletes are well aware of the benefits of creatine and more and more research is available labeling leucine as a "trigger" or "switch" that when ingested in optimal levels, turns on muscle growth . While many factors go into what decision is made regarding what supplement to buy or consider, the opinions of many experts in the field, supportive research about the product itself and ingredients contained within MyoZene make it an option that should end up on your short list, no make that your very short list.
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