What are ESN Protein Spikes?
For the stimulation of muscle protein synthesis (MPS), and the associated muscle building, sufficient protein intake throughout the day is very important.
Like our ESN athletes, bodybuilders and other strength athletes seek to maximize muscle growth and optimally stimulate MPS through various nutrition and training strategies to achieve their personal goals.
The most efficient strategy to promote muscle growth is the combination of strength training and adequate protein intake.
Here, the type and amount of protein source, timing of intake and distribution throughout the day play an important role. Special attention is paid to the distribution of protein throughout the day, the so-called protein spikes.
First and foremost, it is important to understand that the total amount of protein we consume per day is much more important than the amount of protein in our individual meals. You can't go wrong with 2g per kilogram of body weight per day! For a 100kg athlete, that would be about 200g of protein a day.
Protein Timing with the ESN Protein Spikes.
One study (Moore et al. 2012) compared 3 groups with different protein timing strategies. The results show that it is beneficial to spread the total protein amount over about 4 meals a day, with regular intervals (3-4h) between each meal. Depending on the total protein amount, 3-5 protein spikes may also be beneficial. Thus, one meal with one protein source equals one protein spike. Here is a small example from Benni aka Smartgains, who himself makes sure to achieve 4 protein spikes a day! You can follow his protein timing and the adherence to the 4 protein spikes, in his Instagram Story: Smartgains
This way you stimulate your MPS optimally every few hours. Installing even more protein spikes (>6) does not bring any further advantage.
Amount of protein per ESN protein spike
Another important role plays the amount of protein per protein spike. As mentioned above, the total amount of protein plays a bigger role, yet an even distribution per meal or protein spike is optimal to boost MPS in the best way possible.
Protein timing strategies, where moderate amounts of protein (20g-40g) are fed every three to four hours, best support muscle growth. 40g of whey protein increases MPS more than just 20g in this regard (MacNaughton et al., 2016). However, even higher amounts have no further advantage. Here, the MPS is maximally exhausted.
Digression: Protein intake before bedtime
Protein intake right before bed is a controversial topic in bodybuilding. Several studies with casein-containing meals consumed 30 minutes before bed confirm a positive effect in terms of MPS, muscle recovery, and overall metabolism (Kinsey and Ormsbee 2015, Trommelen and Van Loon 2016).
In a similar vein, in another study (Madzima et al. 2014), 30g of whey protein, 30g of casein protein, and 36g of carbohydrate intake before bedtime in young athletes resulted in increased resting metabolic rate in the morning.
So taking 30-40g of casein 30 minutes before bedtime , which can increase MPS rates and increase resting metabolism in the morning, will provide you with optimal protein overnight. This is where our Bedtime Protein helps you best.
Short Reminder: To optimally stimulate your muscle protein synthesis and thus maximize your muscle growth you should:
- consume at least 2g of protein per kg of body weight per day
- divide your total protein intake into about 4 protein spikes
- optimally consume 20-40g of protein per protein spike
- about 30 minutes before going to bed, rely on a combination of whey protein and casein protein
- remember that the total amount of protein is the most important for your success!