The Effect of Whey Protein on Muscle Hypertrophy and Strength:A Case Study
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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To increase muscle mass through muscular hypertrophy, individuals must create a positive protein balance between synthesis and breakdown, through adequate protein intake. Whey protein contains high levels of the amino acid leucine, which plays a key role in initiating muscle protein synthesis. The aim of this case study was to examine the effects of a whey protein supplement on the muscular hypertrophy and strength of an individual involved in a resistance training program. The participant completed an eight-week training program; four weeks without a protein supplement, and four weeks with a supplement. The participant’s diet was recorded in a food diary during the period without supplementation, and repeated with the addition of the supplement. The supplement increased the participant’s daily protein intake to 1.8 g per Kg body mass, and was also consumed post training. The supplement significantly increased both the participant’s protein intake, (104 gday-1 ± 19.3 to 148.9 gday-1 ± 6.7), and total energy intake (2280.3 ± 377.8 kCalday-1 to 2459.8 ± 348.5 kCalday-1). Supplementation had little effect on the reduction in total body mass, which decreased 2.7% with the supplement and 2.6% without. However the participant’s upper arm and thigh girths increased with the supplement, (+0.6%, +0.8%;) (without: -0.8%, -2.7%) and the skinfold measurements decreased (-12.7%, -19%, -6.2%, - 22.6%, -7.9%) (without: -2.7%, -6.4%, +15.4%, -2.4%, +23.5%). The results suggested an increased lean cross sectional area of the upper arm and thigh with the supplement (4.2%, 3%) (without: -0.8% and -6.2%), decreased body fat percentage (-1.2%) (without: +0.7%) and attributed a greater percentage of total body mass reduction to fat mass (With supplement: -2.3% lean mass, -3.9% fat mass; without: -2.8%, -1.9%). The supplement did not affect strength, as squat 1RM increased both with, and without supplementation (3.8%; 1.8%), whilst the bench press demonstrated little change (0%; -2.5% without). This study highlighted that using a whey protein supplement is a simple, effective method of increasing protein intake. The results provide support to the notion that increased protein intakes during an energy deficit can preserve lean mass, but did not have an effect on strength.
DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (HONOURS) SPORT AND EXERCISE SCIENCE
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