Reviewed By Kyle Crowley MSc Sports Nutrition
If you’re someone who incorporates protein into your diet, you’ve probably asked yourself: when is the best time to drink protein shakes? Whether you’re a seasoned gym-goer, an aspiring athlete, or just trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle, the timing of your protein intake can make a difference in achieving your goals.
With countless opinions and conflicting advice swirling around, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure about when to take protein shakes throughout the day.
We’re going to shed light on the science behind when to take protein shakes and help you make informed decisions about the ideal timing to reap the maximum benefits for muscle growth, weight management, and overall well-being.
Keep reading to find out when to drink protein shakes and how to add them into your diet…
Research suggests that the best time to take whey protein is within 1 hour of finishing your workout to optimally help the recovery of your muscles. However studies show the repair and regrowth of the body actually takes up to 48 hours and this is why it’s recommended to take between 20g to 30g of whey protein at multiple intervals, evenly spread throughout the day.
In total, it is recommended that if you are looking to build muscle, you should be consuming at least 1.7g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day. For example, if you are a 70kg male it would be recommended that you take 70 x 1.7 = 119 g protein each day.
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 360 Extreme, are therefore quite possibly the most popular sports supplement on the market today.
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.
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 360 Extreme, 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.
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.
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.
During the overnight hours, our bodies might go without food for an extended period, leaving our muscles with limited nutrients. To prevent muscle breakdown, Micellar Casein comes to the rescue. For muscle building and recovery, having a casein shake before bedtime is highly recommended. Its slow-release nature ensures a steady supply of amino acids throughout the night.
However by drinking a casein shake before bed, you will be providing your muscles with a much slower, more constant supply of protein which reduces the amount of time that your muscles go without nutrients whilst you sleep. Feeding the body in this way ensures that nutrients are available during the overnight fast and muscle breakdown can be avoided.