Did you know that protein synthesis varies for athletes depending on whether they are trained athlete untrained? In this article, we will delve into protein synthesis and explore its role in trained and untrained athletes. We will also discuss factors like exercise intensity, nutrient intake, and the diminishing returns of consuming more than .7 grams per pound of protein to build muscle.
Did you know that exercise muscle protein synthesis varies for athletes depending on whether they are trained athlete untrained? In this article, we will delve into protein synthesis and explore its role in trained and untrained athletes. We will also discuss factors like exercise intensity, nutrient intake, and the diminishing returns of consuming more than .7 grams per pound of protein to build muscle.
Proper athletic development and an individualized training program can help athletes reach their full potential. In the United States, the American Heart Association emphasizes the importance of protein intake in reducing the risk of hypertension, heart failure, and stroke for athletes, especially those involved in cardiology and exercise physiology.
Why Protein Synthesis Is Important for Muscle Physiology?
Protein synthesis is essential for muscle growth and repair in the body. Muscle hypertrophy or muscle growth occurs when protein synthesis rates exceed the protein degradation rates. Studies have found that blocking the crucial mTOR pathway reduces protein synthesis and results in muscle atrophy/ muscle loss. 
Essential Amino Acids for Protein Synthesis and Muscle Hypertrophy
In the past, trained athletes were recommended to consume BCAA’s to increase muscle protein synthesis, but BCAA’s do not increase protein synthesis . A complete spectrum of essential amino acids (EAAs) is needed to optimize protein synthesis. Research has shown that the ingestion of EAAs stimulates muscle protein synthesis, with a dose-dependent response observed up to a certain threshold (i.e., 10-14 grams). Endurance athletes and elite athletes benefit from EAAs to improve their athletic performance and sports performance.
Leucine and Protein Synthesis
Leucine, one of the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and an EAA, has been identified as a key regulator of muscle protein synthesis. Supplementing with leucine increased muscle protein synthesis rates in both young and elderly individuals, suggesting that leucine plays a crucial role in promoting muscle hypertrophy across different age groups. The optimal dose appears to be around 2-3 grams per meal.
Timing of Nutrient Intake
Much has changed regarding nutrient timing for athletes; we now know that total protein intake is a better driver of gaining muscle than nutrient timing. There might be a small benefit to consuming protein within a specific timeframe around exercise (i.e., the “anabolic window”); the importance of nutrient timing is diminished when daily protein intake is sufficient.
How does protein synthesis differ for Trained athletes?
While research papers are valuable, many studies use untrained athletes and make extrapolations to trained athletes. For example, a recent study recently compared untrained lacto-ovo vegetarian lifters to meat eaters in a 12-week study. The lacto-ovo vegetarian lifters consumed 1.26 g/kg of bw (.5 gram per pound of bw), and the meat eaters consumed 1.6 g/kg of bw (.7 gram per pound of bw). Despite the higher protein intake, the Lacto-ovo vegetarian lifters gained similar muscle. The Lacto-ovo vegetarian lifters gained 1.3 kg of muscle (.6 pounds), and the meat eaters gained (.7 pounds). The key point is that these were untrained athletes. The trained athlete’s protein synthesis response differs from an untrained athlete’s response.
Untrained Athletes have a Greater Increase in Exercise Muscle Protein After Exercise.
In contrast, trained athletes have a unique advantage when it comes to protein synthesis. A higher protein turnover rate requires more protein synthesis to rebuild and repair muscle tissue after intense workouts. Many research studies investigating the effects of protein intake on muscle growth and strength use untrained participants, which can lead to misleading conclusions. Untrained individuals typically experience greater increases in protein synthesis than trained athletes. As a result, if you have been training for several years, you can’t take a study on untrained athletes and justify that you will respond the same way.