The Best Time of Day to Drink a Protein Shake
When it comes to losing weight and meeting your fitness goals, getting sufficient protein in your daily diet is key. For many people, protein shakes and smoothies are an easy (and delicious) way to boost daily protein intake. But what is the best time of day to drink a protein shake to keep you fuller longer? Here’s everything you need to know to get the most out of your meal replacement shakes and keep yourself feeling full to curb cravings and stick to your goals.
Understanding Protein Shake Benefits
Protein shakes supplement your body with protein in an accessible way. In addition to being more easily digestible than many foods that are high in protein, they’re also easily transportable, meaning you can get a protein boost on the go, anytime, anywhere! Using protein powder in your shakes also aids with weight loss, as it helps control your appetite and enhances muscle growth.
Good protein supplementation critically increases your supply of the nine essential amino acids that your body can’t get access to in any way other than by eating complex protein sources. Your body can’t build essential amino acids out of sugars or fats, so they have to come from your diet and your environment.
Why Timing Matters
The start of your muscle repair process begins immediately and the entirety of that process is going to need fuel (AKA, protein). If you don’t have enough protein on hand when the process begins, then you aren’t going to get as much out of your workout as you could. However, if you take your protein too early, you could end up fueling the creation of storage tissue rather than muscle tissue.
A protein boost delivered at the correct time can reduce the amount of other food that you are hungry for throughout the day. One of many factors that impact appetite is whether you are meeting the energy demands of your workout, and protein is much more effective than carbohydrates or fat at doing the repair work that your muscles need. While it’s not a guarantee, a higher protein diet that addresses the body's needs can potentially help with weight loss.
When you are bulking up or just looking to build a little extra muscle, your success is going to be limited by what nutrients you are putting in your body and when. While fat and other cells contain protein, they have significantly less functional protein than muscle cells. The growth and repair of muscle cells is thus much more limited by your supply of protein. In particular, protein supplements deliver the nine essential amino acids, compounds that we cannot produce in our body and therefore need to get from food. Without a sufficient supply of those essential amino acids, it is not as easy to build the muscle you want.
Preventing Muscle Loss
One of the possible outcomes of mistiming your protein is that if you already have a lot of muscle built up, you could actually lose it. For bodybuilders, athletes, or other people trying to retain mass, not having protein on hand can result in your gains slowly as your body starts to scavenge the tissue to repair the damage that was done during your workout. Putting protein into your system effectively can be an important part of a plan that will both pack on mass and prevent muscle loss.
Exercise Performance and Recovery
If your muscles aren’t getting what they need to bounce back, you have to deal with the pain and damage that is leftover from your last workout. This is going to affect how long you can work out and how much you can safely do. Insufficient recovery can also lead to long-term injury if you continue to ignore it and work out as if you had fully recovered. This makes considering your protein intake timing essential for anyone who is going to be doing long-term high-intensity work.
When Is the Best Time to Take Protein?
So when is the best time to drink a protein shake? To put it simply, drinking a protein shake right after your workout is ideal, no more than 30 minutes after finishing. This will get the amino acids you need in place during the period when your body is doing most of the work.
Is It Better to Drink a Protein Shake Before a Workout or Post-Workout?
Drinking a protein shake significantly ahead of your workout helps you to manage hunger and sows the seeds for your workout without weighing you down. The protein shake after your workout helps you to keep that recovery going. If you have to choose only one, though, post-workout is best.
Boost Your Protein Intake and Meet Your Goals With Nutmeg State Nutrition
Ready, set, get fit! With Nutmeg State Nutrition’s delicious protein shakes, getting sufficient protein is easy (and tasty!). Whether you’re looking to bulk up or slim down, do it with the best of the best.