The dilemma of whether to have protein shakes before or after workouts seems to be troubling many. Protein shakes are had to supplement the body with necessary protein levels for proper muscle building.
Body builders need to furnish their bodies with ample amounts of protein, because the body uses protein to build muscles. Moreover, inadequate amounts of protein hinders quick healing of muscles, which can conduce to injuries after overtraining. This is where protein shakes become important. Protein shake is a convenient way to provide the body with the necessary protein content. However, there is a lot of confusion about when to take it. Let’s find out!
What are Protein Shakes?
Protein shakes are protein supplements available in the powdered form (protein powder), that comprise different combinations of protein, carbohydrate, and fats (minimal). Remember, not all protein shakes are the same. Protein shakes come in different combinations, with different types of proteins (whey, casein, etc.) in them. While some are meant for adding extra weight, others come with creatine content. Thus, before purchasing a protein shake powder it’s important to check its contents. Endurance athletes prefer to take protein shakes higher in carbohydrate content, while those aspiring for weight loss need to go for a protein shake with higher protein content. Moreover, how much you need will depend on the intensity of the exercises.
Protein Shakes: Before or After a Workout, or Both
Protein shakes are mostly taken by athletes who cannot prepare a protein-rich meal immediately after a workout. These protein shakes seem to be the best alternative for them. The shake restores the level of muscle glycogen, which was used up during the workout. It also provides the body with the necessary nutrients required to repair muscle damage caused during intense workouts.
The post workout meal is the most important meal, because after a workout, the body is beginning to heal the muscles. Providing protein at that time will enable the muscles to heal faster. Having high protein meals every 3-4 hours is important. However, after workout, a person is not prepared to eat a normal meal, simply because eating solid foods doesn’t seem very easy after a workout.
Thus, post-workout happens to be the best time to have a protein shake. This is because shakes are easy to have and are also easy to digest, which is why protein shakes are popular for post-workout. However, this does not mean it will result in sudden muscle building. Adequate protein supply is required even before a workout.
How Much to Have?
Muscle building is a 24 hour process and providing excess nutrients at a particular time is not beneficial. Remember, furnishing extra protein will not conduce to extra muscle generation. The body will absorb only the required amount of protein and the rest will be converted to fat. For proper muscle-building one should provide a steady supply of protein and nutrients to the body.
This can be done by having protein shakes all during your training in moderate amounts. For example, you can have ¼ of the shake before workout, another ½ during the workout, and the remaining ¼ amount after the workout. This way you will be furnishing your body with a steady supply of nutrients all throughout the day.
Protein shakes should be taken before sleep as well. However, whey protein shakes shouldn’t be taken before sleeping because they are fast-absorbing proteins. Ideally a blend of casein and hydrolyzed beef plasma, etc., should be had before sleeping. This slow-releasing protein will replace the protein levels that are being lost for muscle-building while you are sleeping.
Thus, the crux of the matter is to keep providing moderate amounts of protein to your body throughout the day in the form of a high protein diet and protein shakes. Hope this answers your dilemma of whether to have protein shakes before or after the workout!