Acute Effect of the Timing of Resistance Exercise and Nutrient Intake on Muscle Protein Breakdown

Nutrients. 2020 Apr 22;12(4):1177. doi: 10.3390/nu12041177.


Background: Combining resistance exercise (RE) with nutrient intake stimulates muscle protein net balance. However, it is still unclear whether the optimal timing of nutrient intake is before or after RE, especially on muscle protein breakdown (MPB) for an augmented muscle anabolic response. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of a substantial mixed meal (i.e., nutrient- and protein-dense whole foods) before or after RE, compared with RE without a meal on the acute response of MPB in a crossover-design study.

Methods: Eight healthy young men performed three trials: (1) meal intake before RE (Pre), (2) meal intake after RE (Post), and (3) RE without meal intake (No). Plasma insulin and 3-methylhistidine (3-MH), an MPB marker, were measured.

Results: Time course change in plasma insulin level after RE was significantly higher in the Post condition than in the Pre and No conditions. The area under the curve of 3-MH concentration was significantly lower in the Post condition than in the Pre and No conditions.

Conclusions: These results suggest that a substantial mixed meal immediately after RE may effectively suppress MPB in the morning.

Keywords: 3-methyhistidine; acute response; carbohydrate; crossover-design study; insulin; meal timing; muscle protein breakdown; protein; resistance exercise.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Circadian Clocks / physiology*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Methylhistidines / blood
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Resistance Training*
  • Young Adult


  • Insulin
  • Methylhistidines
  • Muscle Proteins
  • 3-methylhistidine