All kinds of gym goers need to take protein supplements to be able to get the best results from their workouts. Whether you are looking to lose weight, build muscles or boost your overall health, protein shakes are a must-have.
But just what’s the best time to drink a protein shake?
In this write-up, we will show you how and when to have that healthy protein shake.
What Are Some Of The Types Of Protein?
Protein is one of the nutrients your body needs to function properly. Unlike the other nutrients, it plays multiple roles, and your body cannot do without it. Apart from being a source of energy, protein repairs damaged tissues. It is also important for growth and prevents disease and infection.
Naturally, protein exists in abundance in foods such as legumes, seeds, grains, dairy products, eggs, fish, and meat. If you can’t eat enough of it in your diet, you may try protein supplements.
The following are some of the commonly available protein powders from which you can make protein shake:
Whey protein: This is dairy-based protein. It will supply your body with all the key amino acids and is quick to absorb.
Soy protein: This a plant-based protein. Like the rest, it contains loads of amino acids and has quite many health benefits.
Casein protein: Here is another dairy-based protein, which is sure to supply your body with essential amino acids. Due to its slow absorbability, people often take it as a snack just before bed.
Rice protein This is another plant-based protein that comes with very low levels of lysine, an essential amino acid.
Pea protein: Here is a plant-based protein. It contains low amounts of the essential amino acids methionine and cysteine.
Hemp protein: This plant-based protein is made from hemp seeds. It contains high amounts of fiber as well as omega-3 and omega-6 oils. It, however, contains low levels of the essential amino acid lysine.
If you are looking for an easy way to take more protein, try using any of these powders to make shakes. They work well for someone who is ever on the go, due to their great convenience, portability, and variety of flavors. While there are ready-made protein shakes on the market, you can make yours by simply mixing with a liquid such as water.
Best Time to Take Protein Shake Based On Your Goals
You might be wondering when the best time to take a protein shake is. Well, you may have to consider your specific health and fitness goals. Thus eating a protein shake at a particular time day may depend on these goals.
What are you planning to do? Preserve muscle, build muscle or lose weight? Here is the best time to take a protein shake on the basis of your workout goals:
1. Protein Shake for Weight Loss
People who are looking to lose weight are advised to eat protein in plenty. A high protein intake helps to reduce appetite and raise the metabolic levels.
To reduce the time after which you will feel hungry, protein inhibits the production of ghrelin, a hunger hormone. This is together with increasing peptide-1, peptide-YY, and cholecystokinin, which are hormones that work to reduce appetite.
To effectively lose weight, the best time to eat a protein shake is in between meals. This helps reduce the number of calories you eat in a day. In one study, it was established that eating high-protein yogurt in the afternoon leads to the consumption of fewer calories at dinner.
This is in comparison with those who eat chocolate or crackers as a snack in the afternoon. The constant is that the subjects got a similar number of calories from the yogurt, chocolate, and crackers. For maximum weight loss, you should eat and much protein throughout the day as possible.
2. Preventing Loss of Muscles
The older you get, the more you need to maintain your muscle mass. Research studies have established that people lose their muscle mass by 3 percent yearly, after age 30.
With the lost muscles, older individuals become more susceptible to shorter lifespans and increased risk of developing fractures.
To prevent muscle loss due to advancement in age, it is recommended that you spread your protein intake evenly throughout the day.
On average, you should eat between 25 and 30 grams of protein for each meal. To even out your protein consumption, you can try eating more of it at breakfast and lunch. Not just the traditional supper.
3. Exercise Performance and Recovery
If you are an athlete when should you take a protein shake to improve your endurance and performance?
When you are involved in endurance training, it is necessary that eat proteins together with carbohydrates during and after a workout for improved performance and recovery. That also helps reduce muscle soreness due to exercise.
In a study involving cyclists, it was established that taking a carbohydrate and protein beverage during a workout helps to reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery. When taken during resistance training, a protein shake can help with improved performance and recovery.
If you are not an athlete, it is much more about increasing your protein intake than the timing. For the athletes, taking a protein shake minutes before and after exercise can be very beneficial. After all, the muscles need all the protein they can get to grow and gain strength.
The Best Time of Day to Drink a Protein Shake for a Workout
Let’s say you are into strength training. What happens when you are exercising is that you get to damage your muscles by causing small tears to the tissues. As the muscles repair themselves, they grow bigger and stronger.
But they cannot do that without the amino acids from the proteins and energy from the carbohydrates. The following is a protein shake intake schedule you must follow:
1. Immediately before the Workout
To reiterate, you need the amino acids in protein for the muscle repair process to be done expeditiously. That’s the reason you should take a protein shake roughly 30 minutes before the workout.
When you do that, you make it easier for the body to recover, given that the protein will be available in the body when it is needed. Before the workout is the best time to take a protein shake consisting of 20 to 30 grams of protein.
2. Immediately After the Workout
The time to take a protein shake after a workout is dependent on when you took a protein before the exercise. You may want to give yourself a 3 to 4-hour interval between the pre-workout to the post-workout protein shakes.
Say you ate a protein 30 minutes before a 1-hour workout. What it means is that you have 2 and a half hours before you eat the next protein shake. That way, you are better placed to enable your muscles to repair themselves.
The reason for that is simple, the main source of energy burned by the muscles is in the form of glycogen. When your body starts running low on glycogen, it resorts to breaking down the protein in the muscles, which is counterproductive when you are trying to increase your muscle mass. You have to time your protein intake perfectly to rebuild any muscles that could have been broken down.
3. The Rest of the Day
It is true that your body absorbs more protein in the period immediately after a workout. But that doesn’t mean that protein synthesis ends there. In fact, it continues for the next 24 hours and has been established through the analysis of several research studies. The best time to drink a protein shake is all through the day. You may have to ingest 20 to 30 grams of protein every 3 hours from foods such as chicken. What you should avoid is eating small protein amounts frequently or large amounts less often.
4. The Rest Days
To recover from the workout, you have to take some time off for that to happen. This is what consists of the rest days. Muscle growth and recovery do not stop a day after the workout. It continues long after that.
For instance, muscle soreness or inflammation lasts for more than 48 hours after the workout. The best time to drink a protein shake to promote recovery is every day. It should be regular enough to enable protein synthesis and support muscle growth and repair both in the short-term and long-term.
How to Prepare a Protein Shake
To prepare the protein shake, you will require a blender and the ingredients that go into it. While most protein powders are sold with the promise that they should be mixed with plain water, this may not be palatable to some individuals.
Apart from the water and protein powder, add to it some peanut butter, almond milk, blueberries, strawberries, and banana. After going through a variety of combinations, you should be able to find one that works for you.
Add the ingredients in a blender and let it blend for at least 15 seconds. Within no time, you will have a drink to revitalize your muscles and make them stronger.
Does Taking Protein Before Bed Help?
If you are into weight training, you should take more protein shake just before going to bed to improve performance, increase strength, and build muscles.
This could be an excellent strategy for the elderly too. In a review of several studies, it was concluded that eating protein just before bed is useful when it comes to promoting muscle building and helping adapt to workouts.
The reason for that is simple. Protein consumed at that time of the night is digested and absorbed more effectively, thus making it more available to the muscles, for a quick recovery as you sleep.
Therefore you should take some 40 grams of protein just before sleeping. You will benefit through improved muscle adaptation and growth throughout the night.
A study done on 16 healthy elderly individuals showed that consuming casein protein just before going to bed can promote muscle growth, even among the less active individuals.
This is because the digestion of casein protein takes place very slowly and thus supplies the body with the right nutrition throughout the night. If you like, the benefits of casein protein can be gotten by eating Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.
Is Taking Huge Amounts Of Protein Necessarily Good For You?
Don’t be deceived. Overeating protein is not bad for your health. A lot has been said about how eating vast amounts of proteins can lead to damage to the liver and kidneys. Others have even claimed that too much protein can cause osteoporosis, which is characterized by porous, hollow bones that can easily break.
It turns out that, this is nothing but a myth. There is no evidence, whatsoever, to support those claims. However, evidence supporting the benefits of eating protein in plenty is all over the place.
In one of the studies that have been carried out, it was established that healthy adults could eat as much protein as they want. For healthy adults, eating between 0.6 and 0.9 grams of protein for every pound of body weight is recommended. In the final analysis, eating some protein is right for your health.
Protein can be very beneficial to your health. Once you have learned the best time to drink a protein shake, you can use it to help build or preserve muscles, lose weight, and improve the ability to do harder exercises.
To get all the benefits you need, the timing has got to be just right. When eaten between meals, protein helps to make you feel fuller for longer, thus helping you reduce the number of calories you consume.
To help your body use your protein intake in a better way, you have to follow the strategies discussed in this write-up. In the end, you will maintain and even reach your fitness goals.