Martial arts training is physically demanding, especially if you are in a tournament. The timing of protein consumption is critical for muscles to rebuild and recover. It all depends on something called protein synthesis.
Protein synthesis is a process that repairs broken down muscles, mainly happening from training or competing. However, your body is constantly going through this process, fluctuating at low levels throughout the day. Conveniently, when you train or compete, your muscles break down, and, at the same time, it stimulates protein synthesis. Protein synthesis also simply happens when you ingest protein.
Most people and athletes have poor timing replenishing. How well you utilize protein synthesis will make a difference either enhancing your training and athletic performance or being adequate. The key to using protein pre, during, and post-training or competition, is to reduce the level of muscle breakdown for optimal recovery.
Eating protein before training activates and increases protein synthesis. It has a greater effect on muscle repair and growth, not just afterward. Plan to minimize damage.
Eating protein before training and competition will:
- Improve muscle recovery, inducing a faster more effective recovery.
- Suppress muscular breakdown to increase performance.
The only issue with eating before is less time to digest. So, consuming 20g of whey protein 1-2 hours before is perfect! About 2-3 hours before, you can have a balanced meal containing carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Keep it naturally cooked and as light as possible for easy digestion. Digestion uses a lot of energy so eating a big meal with oils or sauces can be counterproductive. A pre-workout meal could be half chicken breast, potatoes, and vegetables.
The focus is to repair and minimize damage caused by training/competition for faster recovery.
- For training less than two hours, you don’t need to worry about protein during the training. Pre and post are ok.
- Training lasting more than two hours- tournaments, multi-round fights, etc., consume 20-25 grams of protein per hour, as well as 40g carbohydrate drink.
- If you don’t want to consume protein, you can use essential amino acids (EAA) and branched amino acids (BCAA) together, to prevent breakdown as well.
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