Protein – The 3 Ts – Timing

By Danny Webber
Danny Webber is a SENr registered practitioner, an ISAK certified Anthropometrist and a UK Anti-Doping accredited adviser.
| Updated on March 22, 2023

Nutrition Advent Calendar – Day 17

Protein intake – The 3 Ts
Part 3: Timing

Total & Type have been covered, now for the 3rd and final T for protein needs…Timing.

Firstly, the order I have done for the 3 Ts is actually based on priority for MPS. More protein is best, of this the type of protein enhances those effects, and then distributing the protein will complete the set. Getting each of these rights will optimise your protein intake.

Athletes recognise that a good time to consume protein is after training (within 20-30 mins after) because muscles are more sensitive to enhancing MPS, however this is not the only time that protein needs to be prioritised. MPS sensitivity is actually sustained for 24 hours after training, particularly resistance training which is essential for increasing muscle mass & strength. So this is why the total daily amount of protein is more important.

However, distributing protein intake can further enhance MPS:
 Even distribution of protein (3 meals of 30g) is better than skewed intakes i.e. 10g at breakfast, 15g at lunch, 65g at dinner.
 4 x 20g (every 3 hrs) > 8 x 10g (every 1.5 hrs) or 2 x 40g (every 6 hours).
 Consuming 20-40g protein within 60 mins after training
 20g protein before high intensity/volume fasted training.

Take home messages:
Distribute your daily protein intake (TOTAL) that is made up of high quality, leucine rich food/supplements (TYPE), with each meal & snack evenly throughout the day, across approx. 4-6 meals to support training times based on personal preferences (TIMING).

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