Consuming protein pre- and post-exercise is critical for promoting a positive environment to build muscle.
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In addition to the well documented effects of whey protein on increasing muscle protein synthesis, findings from a recent study suggest further benefits.

In this study, subjects with resistance training experience participated in 2 trials that involved performing a workout consisting of several resistance exercises. On one occasion, they consumed a carbohydrate supplement 20 min before exercise and during the other trial they consumed an equivalent amount of whey protein (18 grams). Energy expenditure was measured post-exercise. Regardless of supplementation, the resistance exercise session increased energy expenditure measured at 24 and 48 hr after exercise and fat oxidation at 24 hr. The increase in resting energy expenditure was significantly greater 1 and 2 days after exercise when whey protein was consumed pre-exercise. These results show that just a single bout of resistance exercise effectively raises resting metabolism and promotes greater fat oxidation for days. The effects are augmented when whey protein is consumed before exercise.

These findings have implications for enhancing body composition and suggest that performing resistance exercise with pre-exercise whey protein supplementation would be an effective strategy to promote fat loss while building lean body mass.

Reference: Hackney KJ, Bruenger AJ, Lemmer JT. Timing Protein Intake Increases Energy Expenditure 24 Hours Post-Resistance Training. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009 Dec 4. [Epub ahead of print]