Powering Performance: New insights in protein science and applications in sports nutrition

The annual congress of the European College of Sport Science is a major event for the sport science community, including sports nutrition, bringing together leading researchers, clinicians and health professionals from around the world. 

At the 29th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS) in Glasgow, Scotland, our team hosted a symposium titled: Powering Performance: New Insights in protein science and application in sports nutrition. 

This symposium drew on current research findings to highlight innovative strategies for protein in muscle recovery and enhancing performance. In this session our world-leading experts also dive into the application of the science into real life practice discussing the role of protein in team sports. 

Discover the key highlights of each presentation given by our experts: 

Protein intake to enhance muscle adaptation to exercise training

Prof. Luc van Loon: Professor of Physiology of Exercise and Nutrition, Head of M3-research group, Department of Human Biology, Maastricht University 


  • Dietary protein ingestion stimulates muscle protein synthesis following both resistance and endurance type exercise, leading to a greater skeletal muscle adaptive response and a more effective muscle reconditioning.
  • Protein ingestion and muscle contraction both stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Exercise sensitizes skeletal muscle tissue to the anabolic properties of dietary protein ingestion. 
  • Protein supplementation during exercise training supports muscle reconditioning and increases training efficiency.

Emerging Concepts in Dietary Protein Nutrition to Optimize Muscle Adaptation to Exercise 

Prof. Leigh Breen: Professor of Translational Muscle Physiology,      Director of the Metabolic and Molecular Physiology Group (MMPG),    University of Birmingham 


  • EAA/leucine availability following isolated protein ingestion (indicative of ‘quality’) corresponds to the acute postprandial muscle anabolic response. The EAA/leucine threshold for optimal muscle anabolic stimulation in active people may be lower than first thought, particularly when adequate protein is consumed in post-exercise.
  • Protein from whole-foods can stimulate postprandial muscle anabolism and adaptive remodeling despite lower amino acid availability than isolated protein sources. 
  • Other non-protein nutrient components of the whole food matrix also appear to support muscle adaptive remodeling. 

Translating the science: current dietary protein strategies in elite sports 

Prof. Graeme Close: Professor of Human Physiology, Liverpool John Moores University, Sport Nutrition Consultant 


  • Achieving optimal dietary protein for elite athletes may appear one of the most basic challenges for the sport nutritionist. However, it is not uncommon to observe significant inadequacies in an athlete’s protein consumption which could have major detrimental on their long-term performance and health.
  • One way to assess dietary protein intake is to consider the 3 Ts of sport nutrition: Total, Type and Timing. But recently, performance chefs have been looking for fun and innovative ways to help with protein intake. So, maybe a 4th T needs to be added for TASTE! 
  • Athletes are continuously searching for high protein tasteful whole food options to achieve protein intake requirements while still keep enjoyment and fun in their diet.