Protein shakes are great for building muscle mass and helping you recover from workouts.
They also contain essential amino acids that promote lean body mass and help build muscle. However, knowing the best time to drink your protein shakes can be tricky.
In this article, we'll take a look at the recommended times for you to take your shakes as well as the different types of protein you may come across and what they offer.
So if you're ready to lose weight, build muscle, increase your training performance or maybe even just find out more about the world of protein, let's dive in!
Types of Protein
Before we discuss when is the best time to drink protein shakes, let's first look at the different types of protein that are available.
Protein is essentially a source of energy that is vital for keeping your body in great shape. It helps repair damaged tissue, contributes towards the prevention of infection and disease, and is also essential when it comes to muscle growth.
As well as finding protein in different foods such as meat, fish, and eggs, many gym-goers decide to take protein in powder form. The different types of protein you may come across are:
This is a dairy-based protein that contains essential amino acids and is quickly absorbed.
This is a dairy-based protein that contains essential amino acids but is slowly absorbed.
This is a plant-based protein that contains essential amino acids and studies have shown that it has been linked to impressive health benefits.
This is also a plant-based protein that has low levels of both cysteine and methionine which are nonessential amino acids.
This is a plant-based protein that has low levels of lysine which is an essential amino acid.
This is a plant-based protein made from hemp seeds. These seeds contain high levels of omega-3, omega-6, and also fiber. It is also low in the amino acid lysine.
If you live a busy life but are conscious about keeping your protein intake high, taking it in powder form is a great way to achieve this.
As protein powder is easy to take - simply mix it with water or another liquid - it's convenient, portable, and the even better news is that they are available in many flavors to satisfy everyone's tastes.
When Is the Best Time To Take Protein?
Knowing when the right time is to take protein typically depends on what your health and fitness goals are. If you are aiming to lose weight, the time you take your protein would differ from someone who was aiming to build muscle.
Here are our suggestions for when to take protein.
If You Want To Lose Weight
When it comes to fat loss, protein is considered to be one of the most important nutrients to include in your diet. Eating a high-protein diet can reduce your appetite and raise your metabolism.
It helps to suppress your hunger by reducing the levels of ghrelin, also known as the hunger hormone. While reducing this particular hormone, it also increases appetite-reducing hormones to keep hunger at bay for longer.
If you are trying to lose weight and find yourself turning to a high-protein diet, try eating a protein-rich snack between your meals.
By eating plenty of protein-rich food throughout your day, you'll find yourself feeling fuller for longer resulting in fewer calories being eaten and eventually weight loss.
If you are trying to build muscle, eating a protein-rich diet is incredibly important.
Essentially, you should plan to eat more protein than your body breaks down during your training sessions if you want to build muscle and strength. Knowing the best time to take protein, however, is a little controversial.
If you speak to fitness enthusiasts, they would recommend taking a protein supplement 15-60 minutes post-exercise during your 'anabolic window'.
This time is when it is believed that you get the most out of your protein and your body receives the essential nutrients it needs to recover.
On the other hand, research by the International Society of Sports Nutrition has shown that the anabolic window is actually larger than 15-60 minutes.
This research has shown that you can consume protein any time up to two hours post-workout and still increase your muscle mass.
For those who train in a fasted state, it is advised that the sooner they consume protein after their workout, the better to provide their bodies with the nutrients that it needs.
Preventing Muscle Loss
Taking protein to prevent muscle loss is something that grows increasingly important as we age.
For each decade after the age of 30, research has shown that we can lose between 3-8% of our muscle mass which increases the risk of fractures and injuries.
To prevent this, it is recommended that we eat between 25-30 grams of protein per meal.
Exercise Performance And Recovery
For athletes or those who enjoy endurance training, it might be beneficial to combine protein and carbs both during and post-exercise to improve performance, speed recovery, and reduce any muscle soreness.
For those who enjoy resistance training, protein is always recommended to improve the results of both performance and recovery.
Taking protein either immediately before or after a workout is the perfect time to benefit from it.
Whether it is combined with carbs is down to the individual, but protein is essential when aiming to improve your performance and reach your goals.
Should You Take Protein Before Bed?
Taking protein before bed has long been questioned regarding if it’s the most beneficial way of incorporating protein into your daily diet. However, is it really the best way to get your protein intake?
For both the elderly and those who want to build muscle, strength, and improve their workout performance, taking protein before bed can be beneficial.
This is because it is easily digested and absorbed and increases the availability of protein to muscles to help you recover throughout the night.
It allows your muscles to adapt to exercise and promotes growth and strength.
Research has shown that consuming 40 grams of protein before bed is the perfect amount for your muscles to benefit from this nighttime protein hit.
For the elderly, consuming casein protein before bed is a great way of promoting muscle growth, even for those who aren't particularly active.
This type of protein is digested slowly , so it can provide the body with a constant supply of protein during the night.
For those not wanting to take a powder form of protein, casein can be found in dairy products such as cottage cheese and Greek yogurt which both have high levels.
Incorporating these into evening meals is a great way to introduce more protein into your lifestyle.
Protein shakes are often seen as a quick and easy way of getting some extra protein into your diet. But there's plenty of evidence to suggest that they're not only effective but also beneficial for improving your health and fitness.
So whether you're looking to bulk up, maintain lean muscle, or simply just boost your energy levels, protein shakes should definitely be part of your routine.
And now you know the best times to take your shakes, you'll be able to achieve your goals before you know it.