Studies have shed light on when best to consume protein.
It is even more important to know the best times for ingesting protein for those aiming for lean body mass.
Previously there was a notion that one must take a protein shake at a particular time only.
However,recent studies show that a protein shake before bed or post-workout protein intake is beneficial as long as backed up by a balanced diet and proper workout.
The point is to take enough protein to fulfill your bodily requirements.
It is also pertinent to note that not every rule applies to everyone.
What you wish to achieve will determine how much protein you need.
It will also decide the most suitable timing for you.
Discussed below are some expected times for drinking a protein shake:
1) Morning Protein Intake
There is not much evidence to suggest that a morning intake of protein powder or shakes does anything for you.
Unless of course, you are working out early morning, which in any case comes under a pre-workout consumption.
This time is ideal for those looking for weight loss.
It helps control cravings and gives a feeling of satiety, thus restricting consumption to fewer calories.
This should be followed up by balanced meals and workout routines to reach your weight loss goals.
2) Pre-workout protein intake
Are you drinking protein shakes before a workout?
Yes, it has its pluses too.
Studies have established that the consumption of carbohydrates with proteins helps power workouts for athletes.
There is better endurance and reduced muscle wear and tear for them.
It is also seen that muscle protein synthesis is improved with pre-workout consumption of protein bars and shakes.
It also helps to lose weight more effectively. An informed choice of protein shakes with carbs will make it more easily digestible.
3) Protein During the Workout
Sipping on a protein shake during a workout?
It is not a bad idea at all.
It might not sound convenient but works well for athletes doing endurance training.
Sipping on a shake every 10-15 minutes helps maintain energy and reduce muscle damage. It also helps to control blood sugar levels.
This routine is good for those on resistance training to maintain a positive protein balance.
It has been seen to improve performance in athletes.
4) Post-workout Protein Intake
The most popular time for drinking a protein shake is after a workout. Its benefits have been established by studies and felt on the ground too.
It has been seen that athletes need 10 grams of essential amino acids within two hours of working out.
These are the building blocks for proteins, but the human body does not make them.
They have to be supplemented from the outside.
Dairy products like milk are rich in the amino acid leucine and help muscle gain.
Besides this, milk has casein and whey proteins, which are suitable for the body.
Supplements with whey protein suit post-workout need since it is absorbed faster by the body.
Check your supplement for these specifications:
Whey protein isolate. This is 90% protein with minimal lactose and fat.
Whey protein powder. This has 11-15% protein and is usually used in meal replacement shakes.
Whey protein concentrate. This contains 25-89% protein with lactose and fat and tastes better.
5) Protein before bedtime
Many people drink a protein shake before bedtime.
This helps with overnight muscle protein synthesis.
It also improves skeletal muscle adaptive response. MPS and MPB (muscle protein breakdown) are constantly cyclic processes in the body.
Taking a protein shake before bedtime helps to maintain a positive protein balance in the MPB phase.
There is also more energy that aids your endurance and resistance training the following day.
Overnight repair and rejuvenation of muscles are also aided when you take a protein shake before bedtime.
It is also believed to help in weight loss because protein boosts metabolism.
Bedtime protein shake also gives better sleep quality.
It is important to note that casein protein takes longer to digest than whey protein.
This makes it the choice of protein for bedtime shakes.
This helps maintain a higher essential amino acid level.
So, the consensus is that protein shakes are essential in building muscle and maintaining healthy muscle tissues.
They also play a big role in muscle protein breakdown.
This metabolic process helps in muscle remodeling to fit in with your workout regime. It is also essential for muscle growth.
When you take it depends upon your goals and supportive lifestyle changes.
Post-workout is the most popular time for all the benefits it offers.
Athletes should consult specialists in sports nutrition to finalize their choice.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When should I drink a protein shake?
Decide your timings and amount of protein intake depending upon your lifestyle and your goals. If you are going long durations without ingesting enough protein, plugging that gap with protein powder or shake will be good for you.
Is it better to drink your protein shake before or after a workout?
It is a common consensus that a post-workout protein shake is best for the body. It helps make up for losses during a workout. It is also important for muscle building and to address any wear and tear sustained during a workout.
Is it OK to drink a protein shake on an empty stomach?
For consumption on empty stomach, whey protein concentrate is supposed to be the best. It gives the required nutrition for the upcoming workout. Being in liquid form, it is easily digested and absorbed by the body.
Is it OK to drink a protein shake every day?
It is okay to drink protein shakes every day, whether you are working out or having a rest day. The point is about getting your daily dose of protein, irrespective of the timing. You will not burn enough calories on rest days, so make sure you are ingesting protein proportionately.
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