The myofibrillar protein synthesis (MPS) response to resistance exercise (REX) and protein ingestion during energy deficit (ED) is unknown. In young men (n = 8) and women (n = 7), we determined protein signaling and resting postabsorptive MPS during energy balance [EB; 45 kcal·kg fat-free mass (FFM)(-1)·day(-1)] and after 5 days of ED (30 kcal·kg FFM(-1)·day(-1)) as well as MPS while in ED after acute REX in the fasted state and with the ingestion of whey protein (15 and 30 g). Postabsorptive rates of MPS were 27% lower in ED than EB (P < 0.001), but REX stimulated MPS to rates equal to EB. Ingestion of 15 and 30 g of protein after REX in ED increased MPS ~16 and ~34% above resting EB (P < 0.02). p70 S6K Thr(389) phosphorylation increased above EB only with combined exercise and protein intake (~2-7 fold, P < 0.05). In conclusion, short-term ED reduces postabsorptive MPS; however, a bout of REX in ED restores MPS to values observed at rest in EB. The ingestion of protein after REX further increases MPS above resting EB in a dose-dependent manner. We conclude that combining REX with increased protein availability after exercise enhances rates of skeletal muscle protein synthesis during short-term ED and could in the long term preserve muscle mass.
Keywords: body composition; fat-free mass; myofibrillar protein synthesis; weight loss.