Influence of nutrition on responses to resistance training

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2004 Apr;36(4):689-96. doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000121944.19275.c4.


A variety of dietary practices designed to enhance acute responses and chronic adaptations to resistance training have been examined with little consensus on the optimal nutritional approach for maximizing muscle and strength gains. From a scientific and practical perspective, the quantity, quality, and timing of nutrient ingestion around a workout are important factors to consider. Manipulation of exercise and nutritional variables can alter events that impact adaptations to training by a variety of mechanisms related to nutrient availability and uptake into tissues, hormonal secretion and interactions with receptors on target tissues, and gene transcription and translation of proteins that eventually impact protein, carbohydrate, and lipid metabolism. If the nutrition-mediated postresistance exercise change in any of these processes is of sufficient magnitude and duration, then over time an effect of muscle size, strength, and body composition is possible. To date, the majority of research has concentrated on providing carbohydrate alone or combined with protein before or after resistance exercise. Carbohydrate and protein intake significantly alters circulating metabolites and the hormonal milieu (i.e., insulin, testosterone, growth hormone, and cortisol), as well as the response of muscle protein and glycogen balance. The pathway of adaptation is proposed as a model to assist in integrating research findings from the current body of literature and future studies examining various diet and resistance exercise configurations.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Hormones / physiology
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Physical Education and Training
  • United States
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Hormones