A recent study compared protein intake after a workout in young and over-40 subjects. The young men showed elevated muscle protein synthesis after they got 20 grams of protein, but the older men did not experience significant changes with that dose. When the older subjects took in 40 grams of protein postworkout, however, they matched younger men’s protein synthesis.
As you get older, your body exhibits a type of “anabolic resistance,” in that it requires greater amounts of protein to produce the same increase in muscle protein. This study is similar to other studies of older people that showed better muscle-protein-synthesis response in those who got most of their protein in fewer meals rather than spaced out in multiple feedings. Again, the greater amount of protein consumed in one larger meal—compared to several smaller meals—overcame the anabolic-resistance effect.
If you’re age 40 or over, you’ll need to take in larger doses of protein but in fewer meals. If that isn’t convenient, consider using a combination whey-and-casein protein supplement, which provides both rapid amino acid delivery and long-acting—seven-hour—delivery of aminos via its casein content. Older bodybuilders should make sure to get at least 2.5 to five grams of leucine per protein feeding to overcome anabolic resistance and maximizing protein synthesis. Using a whey supplement will make it easy to do.