Updated: Apr 27
Did you know that approximately 40% of your body weight is made up of muscle and 20% of that #muscle is protein? Protein is an essential nutrient for many functions of your body, and increasing your protein intake provides additional benefits.
Protein is a macro-nutrient, along with fats and carbohydrates, meaning your body needs a significant amount of it to perform well. You’ve probably heard of low-fat or low-carbs diets, but never low-protein. This is because protein is virtually unanimously accepted as important for fitness and health.
Trying to build muscle? The answer is protein. Want to lose weight? Increase your protein. Getting a little older and trying to stay fit? #Protein.
But when is the best time to drink protein? Should you drink it before or after your workout? What are the best types of protein to take?
If you’re feeling lost when it comes to protein, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve got the answers to all of these questions and more in this article!
Now then, let’s get started!
The Types of Protein Supplements
Before we get into when to take protein, it’s important to discuss the types of protein supplements available and what makes them different. When shopping for protein, you’ll encounter claims such as, get ripped with these six supplements and lose weight fast by adding this to your shake. And while these claims may very well be true, be sure to do your research to determine which is right for you.
A few of the most popular choices, for example, include whey protein, soy protein, and hemp protein. Whey protein is perhaps the most commonly available. It’s dairy-based, as it comes from bovine milk, it’s rapidly absorbed by your body, and includes all essential amino acids.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, however, they are not produced by your body and must be acquired through diet. They help to regulate many basic functions of the body but also play an important role in muscle development and repair.
If dairy products aren’t for you, soy or hemp protein could be better options, as they are both plant-based. Like whey protein, the soy variety contains all essential amino acids. Hemp protein, on the other hand, is low in the amino acid lysine but provides other benefits such as high fiber and omega 3 and 6 fats.
Keep in mind that protein is present in high quantities in meat and dairy products, as well as some seeds and vegetables. Protein supplements are a great companion to a healthy diet, but you probably won’t get the results you’re looking for if you pair them with poor lifestyle and diet choices.
The Best Time to Drink Protein
You’ve done your research, you know the type of protein you’re going to add to your favorite #smoothie or shake, now you need to decide when you will drink it. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all answer. It’s going to vary based on your goals and exercise habits.
Here are a few options and their differences to help you pick the right time for you:
First Thing in the Morning
Did you know the first meal of the day is called breakfast because you’re breaking the fast your body endured while you slept? Because you’re going 8 or more hours without food, your body goes into a catabolic state, meaning it begins to break down proteins to power basic functions.
Whey protein, in particular, is an ideal choice for early morning protein consumption, as it is full of amino acids and absorbed quickly. Therefore, it helps to combat this catabolic protein breakdown and get your muscles off on the right foot for the rest of the day.
Drinking a post-workout protein shake is a popular choice, and for good reason. After a workout, your body goes into recovery mode.
This is because, as you’re lifting weights, you’re actually damaging your muscles. Your body repairs any damages post-workout, strengthening your muscles in the process to compensate for the extra strain they’ve been put under.
Because your body is searching for nutrients to help with this process, your muscles will soak up the additional protein like a sponge. In fact, research shows that muscles may absorb protein easiest at this point.
If you want to take your post-workout to the next level, consider drinking protein before you exercise as well. Just keep in mind that, in order to get optimal benefits, you need to time your protein shakes just right.
Drink your pre-workout shake 30 minutes or so before your weightlifting regimen to stimulate an increase in muscle mass, and finish your routine with a post-workout drink within 3 to 4 hours of the first drink to aid recovery.
Right Before Bed
Older people who are trying to stay fit and healthy, especially, can reap great benefits from drinking protein right before bed. This isn’t to say that those simply looking to improve strength and muscle mass should ignore this option, but as mentioned previously, sleep triggers a catabolic state in the body.
It’s important to remember that your body repairs and strengthens itself when you’re resting, not when you’re exercising. Boosting the protein levels in your body before bed can help to counteract the breakdown of amino acids as you sleep.
When is the Best Time to Drink Protein?
Building muscle and improving your fitness and physique can feel extremely complicated. Many people go into it wondering when is the best time to exercise? When is the best time to drink protein? What is the best protein to drink?
The best thing you can do going into a new #fitness or #health regimen is to keep a level head. Take your time, do your research, and try not to get overwhelmed. Make a list of your goals first and go into your research with them in mind to help make the many choices easier.