The Beauty of Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS)

  • Girl with muscular back

Think you don’t need a boost in your protein consumption? Think again.  

It’s so easy to take for granted all the amazing things our bodies do for us on a daily basis. You may not realize the importance of your body until you’re sick or injured. One process you probably don’t think about is muscle protein synthesis, or MPS.    

When you work out consistently — whether that’s hitting the weights or doing CrossFit, Pilates, or even yoga — your muscles change and evolve. If you want to increase muscle mass or create lean muscle for more of a sculpted look, get to know how MPS works.  

Once you learn about MPS and how to nourish your muscles, you’ll be more in control and aware of how you have the power to change your body through nutrition.   

What Is Muscle Protein Synthesis?

Muscle protein synthesis is your body’s process of rebuilding and repairing muscle fibers after being active.  

Luckily, you can get a basic understanding of the concept without having to sit through a science class. 

First, know this: Your body needs protein to grow, rebuild, and sustain your life. Muscle protein synthesis refers specifically to building muscle protein.    

This process occurs in all your muscle fibers, but if you’re someone who has an active goal of building up or leaning out, you’re more than likely interested in the muscle groups found in your legs, arms, glutes, and even abdominals. (Who doesn’t want abs?)   

The more you optimize the amount of protein you ingest, the better the sustenance for your muscles. In short, the right amount of the right types of protein equals happy, healthy, and nourished muscles.   

Back to Science Class 

Because we cannot ignore amino acids, we’re going to dig into the science. If you can recall from high school, amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are key to initiating MPS.   

You need to pay attention to the type of protein you are taking because MPS happens over time. It’s not like you flick a switch, and BAM — your muscles are synthesized. Just like all good things, this process takes time.  

 Here’s a breakdown of three common proteins your muscles can benefit from:  

  • Whey protein: a fast-acting protein with high levels of BCAAs. 
  • Egg white protein: a medium-release protein for sustained MPS support. 
  • Milk protein: a slow-release protein with whey and casein for gradual amino acid release.  

Whey protein is the most common choice for protein supplements because it is digested quickly, providing a boost to your muscles as they start rebuilding. But what happens later? You may get that initial shock of whey that you need, but the effects will wear off long after your workout when you’re at rest. 

To optimize MPS, consider a protein drink that contains not just one but three types of protein that can help sustain muscle recovery over time. 

Find out more about the types of protein that can aid you in:  

  • Recovering quickly with sustained results.  
  • Muscle rebuilding.  
  • Creating and maintaining lean muscle. 

About the Author:

Writer, content strategist and octopus aficionado. Lover of haikus and random coincidences. Phoenix is home.