Skeletal muscle mass is regulated by a balance between muscle protein synthesis (MPS) and muscle protein breakdown (MPB). In healthy humans, MPS is more sensitive (varying 4-5 times more than MPB) to changes in protein feeding and loading rendering it the primary locus determining gains in muscle mass. Performing resistance exercise (RE) followed by the consumption of protein results in an augmentation of MPS and, over time, can lead to muscle hypertrophy. The magnitude of the RE-induced increase in MPS is dictated by a variety of factors including: the dose of protein, source of protein, and possibly the distribution and timing of post-exercise protein ingestion. In addition, RE variables such as frequency of sessions, time under tension, volume, and training status play roles in regulating MPS. This review provides a brief overview of our current understanding of how RE and protein ingestion can influence gains in skeletal muscle mass in young, healthy individuals. It is the goal of this review to provide nutritional recommendations for optimal skeletal muscle adaptation. Specifically, we will focus on how the manipulation of protein intake during the recovery period following RE augments the adaptive response.
Keywords: anabolism; leucine; muscle protein synthesis; protein balance; strength; whey.