Personal Trainer Advice On Protein Absorption

Functional Foods

Hi Nick,

Now that I am leaving London and heading back to the USA I have a few questions for you. I am determined to keep off all the weight I have lost (editor’s note – over 50lbs! See our new page “fat loss success stories” for the full story, as well as the new transformations page to go up in this main website) and need to check a few things about my diet and keeping lean now that I don’t have constant access to your personal training advice:

Post workout generally — seems like it’s fast-absorbing protein coupled with some sort of fast-absorbing carb? Is this right?

Exactly. Now that you are lean, you can get away with carbs at selective times when you are at your most insulin sensitive. Most notably after a resistance training session. The fastest absorbed protein is whey protein powder. 


Some commercial brands will blend up whey and vitargo (or another type of carbohydrate such as maltodextrin) but I find it both more controllable and cheaper to purchase the two products separately.

What is a ‘fast-absorbing’ protein? If I needed to look for another product, what would I be looking for? Same question for the slow-absorbing protein.

“Fast absorbing” protein simply means protein that is rapidly digested and enters the bloodstream quickly. You want this after a workout to improve protein synthesis and decrease protein degradation (in the muscle cells) thus promoting anabolism (muscle growth). Whey protein powder is your number one choice here, nothing else really comes close. At all other times you want a steadier, slower release of protein into the bloodstream, so protein that takes longer to digest is preferred. Solid protein foods such as eggs/meat/fish/fowl are good, as are protein powders derived from casein. 

I’ve been having a slow-absorb protein shake for intermediate meals. It’s usually pretty easy, but are there alternatives to the shakes (like protein bars)? What should I look for? What would be the worst sort of thing to eat?

Protein bars are vastly inferior to shakes as they usually full of cheap binding oils and fillers that do you no good at all. I usually confiscate them if see any of our personal trainers scoffing them down!


Now that you are back in the States you could try organic beef jerky – just make sure that it is natural and not pumped full of sweeteners! 


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