When people ask us "when is the best time to take whey protein", it's hard to give a short and simple answer. There are optimal times to take whey protein depending on your training goals. Whether you want to increase muscle mass, lower body fat or just recover from sport and training, this will affect the best time to take your whey protein shakes.
What is Whey Protein?
Whey protein is simply the bi-product you get when making cheese. Once you remove water and casein content from this bi-product, you are left with whey protein concentrate. Whey protein is lauded by athletes and bodybuilders for the vast array of training and physique benefits it can provide. Whey protein products, such as our Whey Protein 80, are therefore quite possibly the most popular sports supplement on the market today.
Benefits of Whey Protein
Whey protein is thought to be the best form of protein for the body to digest and use. Whey protein is rich is glutamine and branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). These are considered essential amino acids for anyone who trains by providing an energy source to counteract muscle breakdown and support recovery. Whey protein can be used in several biochemical processes and is essential for muscle contraction, growth and repair. Whey protein is also used for maintaining several metabolic processes and for controlling body composition.
Taking Whey Protein in a Morning
As glycogen stores run low overnight, the body is forced to turn to amino acid stores to power metabolic processes. This places the muscle into a catabolic (or breakdown) state. Whey protein is a fast-digesting protein that is perfect for when you wake up, since it quickly delivers amino acids to your muscles and counteracts muscle breakdown. Most experts recommend consuming a quality whey protein shake, such as Whey Protein 80, first thing in the morning. This is because of its impressive Biological Value and great amino acid profile which ultimately 'sets' you up for the day.
Taking Whey Protein Pre-Workout
A whey protein shake pre-workout is integral to creating a positive nitrogen balance in the body. This is necessary to stimulate protein synthesis and increase muscle mass. Protein is the building block of new muscle growth. Research has found that protein synthesis is increased when whey protein were taken 'immediately before resistance exercise'. For this reason try including 25-35 grams of whey protein as the basis for your pre workout shake.
Taking Whey Protein Post Workout
Perhaps the most important time for athletes to take whey protein is immediately post-workout. This is because you've just put your muscles under a lot of stress and must now provide nutrients for repair and re-growth. A fast-acting protein source such as whey protein is the perfect choice. Research shows that after a strength based training session your muscles are starved and so have a 'sponge-like' property. Scientists believe you can therefore absorb more protein at this point compared to any other time of the day. Therefore it makes sense to add a large serving of whey protein post workout. This will serve as a great basis for your shake and kick-start the recovery process.
Taking Whey Protein Before Bed
Overnight some people will go several hours without food. With limited nutrients to your muscles, the muscle may then be forced to turn to amino acid stores to fuel metabolic processes. It is recommended to drink a whey protein shake prior to going to bed to stop your muscle from entering a catabolic state. Feeding the body in this way ensures that nutrients are available during the overnight fast and muscle breakdown can be avoided. Because of its fast release nature, many nutritionists prefer to recommend casein protein instead of whey protein before bed. This provides a tapered release of nutrients to the muscle overnight.