Do you have to get your protein at ideal times for optimum muscle growth? Not really!It's Six A.M., Where's My Protein?Some guys bend on building maximum muscle have timers set to remind them of their protein needs. When one goes off, they stop everything they're doing to get their protein.Imagine it: boy meets dream girl, they sit on a park bench, the sun is setting over a romantic evening sky, the world holds its breath for their first kiss and ...beep, beep, beep, "sorry, gotta go, I need my protein!"But does optimum protein timing really ensure optimum muscle growth? In bodybuilding circles, the belief is widespread to the point of OCD.It's Not The Time, It's The AmountNow a large and reliable scientific review begs to differ.It was published a couple of months ago and compared the results of more than 40 studies on building muscle and protein consumption. After correcting for training status, age and all other variables that could influence results, it found you can save yourself all the timing pain (PDF):
With respect to hypertrophy, total protein intake was the strongest predictor of [effect size] magnitude. These results refute the commonly held belief that the timing of protein intake in and around a training session is critical to muscular adaptations and indicate that consuming adequate protein in combination with resistance exercise is the key factor for maximizing muscle protein accretion.Translated this means for building muscle the most important things are a) doing the right workout program, and b) getting the right amount of protein. The time when you have the protein matters very little.Who Was Behind This Study?It's interesting to note that behind this review were Brad Schoenfield and Alan Aragon, both no unknowns in the colorful world of fitness personalities.Visiting Brad's website I see a tendendy to push products, but after reading his and Alan's paper in full, I have to say they took a sound approach in conducting their research.What About You?I know that the question of protein timing it hotly debated. Personally I couldn't care less. I build my fitness around my life, not my life around fitness. I don't want to become a slave to my dumbbells or my protein shaker. Even if Brad's and Alan's review had shown that the "have your protein in six meals a day" approach was worthwhile, I wouldn't have bothered.But what about you? Do you follow a strict protein timing? Or did you experiment with following and not following it? Did it make any difference?Picture courtesy of Brett Jordan.