How do you improve the response time of muscle protein synthesis?
It’s well researched that consuming protein after your workout is optimal for recovery by boosting protein synthesis. However, many people mix in a fair amount of carbohydrates with the anticipation of a greater effect on muscle growth. Why? Because carbohydrates will elevate insulin, which is required to maximize muscle protein balance and allow the growth of muscle cells to occur.
This train of thought is not incorrect. However, it’s often forgotten or not known that protein is also insulinogenic (can raise insulin levels). 20 grams of protein can stimulate enough insulin release to make post-workout carbs dispensable. In other words, save your Calories or place your carbs elsewhere.
We do need carbohydrates to store as glycogen. Glycogen is used for energy production and allows us to perform at high intensities. Generally, a strength athlete or bodybuilder burns around 15-25% of their glycogen stores each workout. Despite a person's dietary composition, glycogen resynthesis occurs after one day. Still, there is no rush for this type of athlete to slug a glass of dextrose just to “refill glycogen stores.”
If you’re an endurance athlete, the above recommendations may not relate to you. Especially if you’re participating in high volume long-duration exercise weekly.