Should You Have Protein Shakes Before or After Workouts?
Protein is an essential nutrient. You need protein to survive because your body cannot properly function without it.
Protein is a macronutrient that aids in muscle growth and repair and in the creation and maintenance of enzymes and hormones that impact a number of processes within your body. It does way more than just help you build muscle.
Protein is the foundation of everything in your body, down to the smallest cells.
THE BENEFITS YOU CAN EXPECT FROM A PROTEIN SHAKE
When it comes to your fitness goals, it doesn’t matter if you’re trying to figure out how to gain muscle or lose weight and get toned up -- you benefit from ensuring you have adequate protein intake. Here’s a look at the role protein plays when it comes to three very different fitness goals.
BUILDING LEAN MUSCLE MASS
Protein is essential for muscle growth. It’s a basic building block of muscle tissue. Protein shakes are a staple supplement for athletes and gym-goers who are looking to build lean muscle mass. Protein helps repair the small tears in your muscle created by resistance training, which then leads to increased muscle growth over time.
Protein is an important nutrient for weight-loss. Getting enough can boost your metabolism, reduce your appetite, enhance protein synthesis and help you lose body fat while preventing you from losing muscle.
Plus, eating protein-rich foods and taking supplements may help people feel fuller for longer. Feeling full tends to result in smaller portion sizes and less frequent snacking, which can help you maintain a healthy weight or lose weight if necessary.
Protein can help repair damaged muscles and tissues. As a result, athletes and fitness enthusiasts use protein powder to speed up recovery from muscle soreness after a tough workout. And that means keeping up the intensity of your workouts without feeling too depleted.
Beyond ensuring you’re getting enough protein, you also need to think about protein timing. In order to get the most from your protein shake, you need to drink it at the right time. Let’s look at some facts to see if you’ve been taking your protein at the right time or if it’s time to move your shake around.
WHY YOU SHOULD DRINK A PROTEIN SHAKE AFTER A WORKOUT
Is a post-workout protein shake your standard operating procedure? If your aim is to bulk up, gain lean muscles or lose weight more effectively, a post-workout protein shake is key.
It will help replenish your body and prepare you for your next workout. If you haven’t incorporated a post-workout shake into your routine, it’s time to start now.
OPTIMAL MUSCLE GROWTH
After a tough workout—whether you’re at the gym or at home crushing reps of burpees, squats, planks and pushups—drinking a protein shake allows your muscles to soak up the nutrients for muscle recovery and growth. During tough workouts, your body uses carbohydrates for energy, and as a result, your glycogen stores get depleted.
That means your body starts tapping into protein for energy -- something you want to avoid when building muscle. Post-workout protein shakes help fill the gap to ensure you continue to gain lean muscle mass.
For weight loss, muscle mass is critical. Muscle increases your caloric burn at rest. The more muscle in your body, the more likely you are to hit your weight loss goals (because your muscles help you along the way). What’s more? It’s really hard for the body to turn protein into fat. That’s why protein is so popular in weight loss diets.
When you train, your body breaks down protein and your muscles get depleted. Ingesting protein after your workout helps ensure that your protein levels stay balanced, which decreases muscle fatigue. Decreased muscle fatigue means more effective recovery -- helping you get back to your next session feeling strong. A post-workout dose of protein helps ensure a positive protein balance, which is vital for muscle growth and effective training.
CHOOSING A PROTEIN PLAN THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU
Clearly, the best timing for protein consumption is post-workout. But there’s a way to optimize your protein intake to make it work for you.
Here’s three things to look for in your protein powder:
Research suggests that consuming protein can help support the immune system—which fends off illnesses. Without getting too scientific, avidin (a protein found in raw egg white) is an essential growth and immune cell precursor. Translation? Egg-white protein helps build up your immune system.
But why stop there? Super Greens—typically dark, leafy greens like kale and spinach—are immune-boosters and they contain a high level of vitamin C. Adding super greens to your protein shake can greatly enhance your transformation potential. But you don’t need to run to the store to bulk up on kale. Instead, try adding a scoop of Super Greens to your post-workout recovery shake.
The quality of your protein powder is just as critical as the consumption of protein. As a rule of thumb: always read the back of the label.
Avoid harmful ingredients like artificial sweeteners or flavors, colors, dyes or additives. Sucralose, aspartame, saccharin, or Acesulfame K (AceK) are most commonly found in protein powder. You want to avoid those.
Carrageenan is a common additive in protein powders used as a thickener, it comes from a family of red seaweed and has been shown to cause digestive distress, IBS and lesions in the colon.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are nine essential amino acids in protein that your body needs for post-workout recovery and to prevent injury.
Leucine is arguably the most important amino acid, as it’s the key to muscle growth. Look for a protein powder with all nine essential amino acids.
THE BEST PROTEIN POWDER FOR POST-WORKOUT RECOVERY
Whether you’re trying to figure out how to build muscle mass, lean muscle, lose weight or achieve better recovery after your workouts, try Transformation Protein.
This premium egg white protein blend contains 30 grams of protein per serving. It’s Amino Optimized formula—focusing heavily on Leucine—helps increase muscle development and fat loss. Let’s not forget that it mixes quickly and easily, which is key for the best protein shakes.