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Tag Archives: protein synthesis

  • Post-Workout Protein Synthesis is Reduced for Obese Adults

    Obese people face a range of health problems. They include cardiovascular problems and joint issues. But there is new evidence to show that their efforts to build more muscle can be blunted as well. The amount of exercise which could be performed is also reduced for obese adults when compared to those with a regular weight.

    A 2018 study shows slower protein synthesis for obese adults

    Protein synthesis is important after a workout. Those who train consistently know the role of protein and amino acids in muscle development. A 2018 study[i] at the University of Illinois shows just how much impact obesity has on this process.

    The new perspective on post-workout protein synthesis was based on a group of young adults which were separated into an obese group and into a regular body weight group. Researches choose a leg exercise to get answers. But interestingly, the subjects were not told to exercise both legs. Due to scientific data comparison, subjects were told to exercise a single leg. Doing 10-12 repetitions on a single leg allowed the scientists to relate protein synthesis in the trained leg, compared to the untrained leg.

    The subjects were given 170 grams of pork after each workout. This equated to 36 grams of protein and 4 grams of fat. In comparison, a scoop of soy protein comes with 23g of protein. But the results of the study were not surprising to the researchers. While protein synthesis increased in both legs, the differences between the obese group and the non-obese group were considerable. Myofibrillar protein, responsible with muscle growth, was blunted in the obese group. Even if obese adults have more muscles, their metabolic rate is lower, especially compared to non-obese adults.

    It is an important discovery for long-term health. Researchers underlined that muscle building and muscle repair, specifically after workouts, has implications in metabolic health. Physical performance can suffer as well.

    The study also showed that the group of young adults considered obese was showing a reduced physical performance when compared to non-obese subjects. So what can be done in this situation for obese adults today?

    It is important to understand that the study also makes a few recommendations which give hope to obese people. Lifestyle modifications are recommended. Regular exercise is a good place to start. This exercise routine could improve the synthesis of postprandial myofibrillar protein synthesis. Researchers also suggest further investigation for obese adults for an optimized protein synthesis post-exercise.


    The new evidence on the reduced stimulation of myofibrillar protein synthesis after feeding and resistance exercise shows the impact obesity can have on obese people. With reduced protein synthesis, the physical performance of obese adults can suffer as well. A fast absorbing protein such as whey protein can be recommended after a workout.

    However, obesity can actually reduce the effects of resistance exercises. In these conditions, the benefits of resistance training can be blunted for obese adults. The effects are considerably better for normal weight adults. It's also important to know that all the subjects recruited for the purpose of the study were not following a routine of physical exercise and they represent a selected group of people insufficiently active.

    [i] J. Beals, S. Skineer, C. McKenna et a. (2018), Altered anabolic signalling and reduced stimulation of myofibrillar protein synthesis after feeding and resistance exercise in people with obesity, The Journal of Physiology. Available at:

  • Exercise and Cellular Adaptation of Muscle

    A study conducted by the Institute for Sports Medicine in Hannover, Germany, has found that resistance training, and to a smaller extent, endurance training, are capable of enhancing the synthesis of protein in skeletal muscle via different signalling pathways.
  • Does dextrose aid protein uptake after exercising? Should I therefore have dextrose in my protein shake?

    Ultimately, yes.  Personally I believe that dextrose is a vital component of your post-workout protein shake.

    Insulin is a hormone that regulates carbohydrate metabolism within the human body.  Consuming dextrose will raise your insulin levels and thus encourage protein synthesis following exercise.  I'll explain in a little more detail:

    Once you consume protein, it is broken down into its' molecular components, amino acids.  Amino acids are then absorbed into the blood stream and taken up by muscle cells in order to undergo protein synthesis.  However, amino acid uptake is stimulated by insulin independently.  Therefore, if you have low insulin levels, amino acid uptake will be inhibited, thus leading to reduced protein synthesis within the muscle itself.  At the end of the day, this is bad news - the muscle building and recovery process is slowed which will hamper your progress in the gym.

  • Will HIIT cardio burn muscle as well as fat?

    High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) cardio is a very quick and effective way to lose fat. If fat loss or fitness gain is a primary goal, then HIIT definitely should be taken into consideration.

    Earlier this year I had an article published in Australian Ironman magazine The Fat Burning Zone. It takes a look at the effectiveness of HIIT cardio.

    Because of the short duration of HIIT cardio, it limits cortisol production - a major hormonal component inhibiting protein synthesis. That said, excessive HIIT cardio will discourage muscle growth (and even retention) due to lack of physical recovery. Not to be overlooked, diet and supplementation also plays a vital role in determining the effectiveness of HIIT for both fat loss and muscle retention.

    HIIT can very effectively be incorporated into a sound bulking or cutting plan.  It's all about finding the happy medium. I strongly believe that everyone's body will react differently to different regimes, so never be afraid to experiment

  • I am on a low carbohydrate diet. Will I be able to build significant muscle?

    There are two key factors when it comes to building muscle mass - training and diet.  Both are essential parts of the equation.  If one is not up to scratch, then you're wasting your time.

    It is possible to cut down and build significant lean muscle mass simultaneously.  However, for an adult male to do this on an extremely restricted carbohydrate (and calorie) diet, this is not a realistic goal.  The reason being that carbohydrates will facilitate protein synthesis (ie. assist building muscle).  By depleting yourself of carbohydrates (and calories) you will lack energy and your ability to recover from sessions will be severely hampered.  If your body cannot recover effectively, then it will not be able to build lean muscle mass - period.

    The primary goal of ketosis is to lose fat, not to build muscle.  For an adult male, once you reach a certain carbohydrate daily consumption threshold, you cannot realistically expect to build significant amounts of lean mass.  I am speaking both from theory and experience when I say this.

    Also just for your information, all muscle is built outside the gym - lifting weights is simply a tool to stimulate this biological process.

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