Exercise training and protein metabolism: influences of contraction, protein intake, and sex-based differences

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2009 May;106(5):1692-701. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.91351.2008. Epub 2008 Nov 26.


Muscle contraction during exercise, whether resistive or endurance in nature, has profound affects on muscle protein turnover that can persist for up to 72 h. It is well established that feeding during the postexercise period is required to bring about a positive net protein balance (muscle protein synthesis - muscle protein breakdown). There is mounting evidence that the timing of ingestion and the protein source during recovery independently regulate the protein synthetic response and influence the extent of muscle hypertrophy. Minor differences in muscle protein turnover appear to exist in young men and women; however, with aging there may be more substantial sex-based differences in response to both feeding and resistance exercise. The recognition of anabolic signaling pathways and molecules are also enhancing our understanding of the regulation of protein turnover following exercise perturbations. In this review we summarize the current understanding of muscle protein turnover in response to exercise and feeding and highlight potential sex-based dimorphisms. Furthermore, we examine the underlying anabolic signaling pathways and molecules that regulate these processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolism / physiology
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Resistance Training*
  • Sex Factors
  • Signal Transduction


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins