For the development, maintenance, and repair of muscles, protein is a crucial nutrient. And if you exercise often, particularly if you’re attempting to put on muscle, it’s probable that your body needs more protein to produce enough energy and to ensure that protein synthesis—the process of making protein molecules for the body’s cells—is occurring.
Protein smoothies are a convenient method to get the daily necessary amount of quality protein while consuming fewer calories than usual.
The ideal time to have that protein shake, though, is a topic of some discussion. Should you consume it before to, after, or even during exercise? In order to address these queries, we evaluate current scientific literature in this article and draw on the knowledge of exercise physiologists and sports nutritionists.
When Is the Best Time for a Protein Shake?
According to Brian Carson, Ph.D., a senior lecturer and researcher in exercise physiology and head of science and innovation for Whole Supp, a plant-based protein shake company in the U.K., it’s crucial to take the type of workout—and the reasons you’re working out—into account when choosing which foods to eat around that workout. He notes that much older studies often suggests ingesting protein right after after exercising, which has demonstrated to enhance muscle protein synthesis. “With protein, the idea is to stimulate muscle protein synthesis to optimize muscular development and strength,” he adds.
Recent studies suggest that consuming a protein shake immediately after exercise may not be as important as previously believed. The significance of post-exercise protein supplementation was investigated in a small 2017 research with 21 young males with more than a year of strength training experience. One group took in 25 grams of protein before resistance training for 10 weeks, while the other group took in the same amount after the workout. Interestingly, both groups’ findings for muscular growth at the conclusion of the trial were comparable. Researchers came to the conclusion that an individual’s desire, tolerance, and availability should be the deciding criteria for protein consumption.
Similar findings were reported in an earlier research from 2006 that examined the effects of protein supplementation on elderly males. Between the before- and post-training protein drinkers, there was minimal difference in muscle growth and strength increases after 12 weeks of resistance training.
Dr. Carson notes that although further study is undoubtedly necessary—both of these studies were constrained by their small sample numbers and exclusive attention to men—the available data implies that there may be some flexibility in the timing of your protein shake. In reality, according to the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), the “proper” time for your protein shake may vary on when you last ate, the quantity and nutritional makeup of that meal, as well as how much protein is suggested for you to eat daily.