15 grams of whey before strength training, and 15 grams afterwards

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Athletes build up more muscle mass and strength if they ingest 15 g whey before a strength training session and another 15 g after they’ve finished. Researchers at the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland discovered that the stimulatory effect of whey at molecular level has nothing to do with myostatin inhibition, but everything to do with activation of the growth enzyme cdk2.

Scores of studies show that strength training is more effective when combined with extra protein, for example in the form of whey. That’s logical, as trained muscles need extra amino acids for recovery and growth. The Finns were curious as to whether they could demonstrate the effect of extra proteins at the molecular level.

Strength training reduces the production of the muscle-inhibiting protein myostatin, and the Finns speculated that ingesting whey proteins close to a workout might further suppress the production of myostatin.

The researchers got ten males in their twenties to do nothing for a period of 21 weeks [Control]. Another group of ten young men did strength training twice a week during the same period. The researchers got the men to do a basic exercise programme with leg-presses, leg-extensions, leg-curls, leg-adductions, leg-abductions, calf-raises, plus basic exercises for the abdominal muscles, lower back, chest, shoulders, upper back and upper arms. The group were given a placebo during the workout [Placebo].

A third group of eleven young men followed the same regime, but were given a shake containing 15 g whey [Protein] immediately before and after the strength training session.

Using MRI technology the Finns showed that after 21 weeks the men in the Protein group had built up bulkier muscles than the men in the Placebo group. The figure below shows that the increase in the circumference of the quadriceps vastus lateralis was faster in the men that were given whey before and after their strength training sessions.

The whey supplementation also resulted in an increase in static and dynamic strength.




The whey supplementation did not lead to a further decrease in myostatin production, however. It seemed that the whey supplementation actually reduced the decrease. So the added value of whey supplementation during strength training has nothing to do with myostatin, but has something to do with the cell-cycle kinase cycline-dependent kinase 2 [cdk2]. This is a protein that plays a key role in the life cycle of cells. Cdk2 is involved in the growth of young cells.

“The increase in cdk2 gene expression suggests a higher proliferating cell activation response with protein supplementation that can be advantageous for muscle hypertrophy”, the Finns write.

A randomized controlled trial of progressive resistance training in depressed elders.

Singh NA, Clements KM, Fiatarone MA.


Division on Aging, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts, USA.



Depression in elderly people may be contributed to by the multiple losses of aging. Exercise has the potential to positively impact many of these losses simultaneously. We tested the hypothesis that progressive resistance training (PRT) would reduce depression while improving physiologic capacity, quality of life, morale, function and self-efficacy without adverse events in an older, significantly depressed population.


We conducted a 10-week randomized controlled trial of volunteers aged 60 and above with major or minor depression or dysthymia. Subjects were randomized for 10 weeks to either a supervised PRT program three times a week or an attention-control group.


A total of 32 subjects aged 60-84, mean age 71.3 +/- 1.2 yr, were randomized and completed the study. No significant adverse events occurred. Median compliance was 95%. PRT significantly reduced all depression measures (Beck Depression Inventory in exercisers 21.3 +/- 1.8 to 9.8 +/- 2.4 versus controls 18.4 +/- 1.7 to 13.8 +/- 2, p = .002; Hamilton Rating Scale of Depression in exercisers 12.3 +/- 0.9 to 5.3 +/- 1.3 versus controls 11.4 +/- 1.0 to 8.9 +/- 1.3, p = .008). Quality of life subscales of bodily pain (p = .001), vitality (p = .002), social functioning (p = .008), and role emotional (p = .02) were all significantly improved by exercise compared to controls. Strength increased a mean of 33% +/- 4% in exercisers and decreased 2% +/- 2% in controls (p < .0001). In a multiple stepwise regression model, intensity of training was a significant independent predictor of decrease in depression scores (r2 = .617, p = .0002). CONCLUSIONS: PRT is an effective antidepressant in depressed elders, while also improving strength, morale, and quality of life. Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9008666