Many athletes and active individuals often seek the assistance of protein supplements post-exercise for a variety of reasons. Some take them in an effort to increase physical performance, while others aim to reduce muscle soreness and enhance the recovery process. However, the majority of these individuals decide to buy and consume these supplements based on marketing claims that are not backed by scientific research. This article outlines a literature study that examines the correlation between protein and the enhancement of muscular performance and recovery. The study takes into consideration healthy adults under the age of 50, and evaluates the effects of these supplements alone or in combination with carbohydrates on varying performance metrics.1 The results indicated that the continued use of protein supplements significantly reduced muscle damage and soreness after training sessions, and led to a particular increase in physical performance when participants were negative in nitrogen and energy balance.1 Other studies confirm the benefits of protein supplementation on muscle recovery and performance post-exercise, but at different degrees and with varying limitations.
This article relates to the course because it describes a study and application of the research process that addresses exercise-specific responses to physiological changes. Not only does it discuss and define the metabolic changes that arise from the use of protein supplements, but it also mentions the measurement of exercises and performance for comparison. It details a systematic approach to evaluating a problem through the collection of data, data processing, statistical analysis, evidence based results, and consideration of limitations.
Over the past few years, I have experimented myself with different protein supplements and exercise regimens to observe the potential effects on muscle growth and recovery. Although there are numerous factors that come into play, I agree with the claim that supplements are beneficial when used appropriately. However, diet, degree of activity, and frequency of use lead to large degrees of variation and pose a major limitation when comparing use among individuals. Regardless, much research should be carried out when deciding which protein supplement will be most successful for you and in achieving your goals.
 Pasiakos SM, Lieberman HR, McLellan TM. Effects of protein supplements on muscle damage, soreness and recovery of muscle function and physical performance: a systematic review. Sports Med. 2014 May;44(5):655-70. doi: 10.1007/s40279-013-0137-7. Review.