When to Drink Protein Powder for the Best Results
Protein is a vital part of a balanced meal, but if you're thinking about supplementing protein, then you probably have a few goals on your mind. Whether you want to kickstart your metabolism to burn fat or build some extra lean muscle, protein powder can help you out. But like any supplement, when you take it is important for reaching your goals.
Your metabolism is a complicated group of interconnected processes in your body. If you want to get the most out of your protein shake (or another protein-based treat), then some people say you need to take it in a small window fo time.
Do you know when to drink protein powder to get the body you want? We've got your protein shake schedule below.
Help Burn Fat
Protein is an important nutrient for kick-starting fat loss because it stops us from snacking.
When you eat protein-rich meals and snacks, you have a lower level of the hormone that makes you hungry (aka ghrelin). Protein also increases your appetite-reducing hormones (aka peptide-1, peptide YY, and cholecystokinin). It's a double-whammy for your metabolism and your snacking streak.
So, if you want to drink protein powder to help burn fat, consider replacing your snacks with protein shakes or other protein-heavy snacks throughout the day. You'll be less likely to graze later and also less likely to help yourself to seconds at dinner time.
Protein for Building Muscle
Building lean muscle is at the heart of one of today's hottest looks. Never have you seen so many women rocking six-packs all over the internet.
Protein is a core element of building lean muscle. Thankfully, the formula is fairly simple: you need to consume protein in your diet than your body metabolizes when you're in the gym.
But when do you take protein to get the best results from your booty-shaping workout? It's a question at the heart of a decades-long controversy.
In theory, you can get all the benefits you need if you take your protein shake in the first two hours after you leave the gym. This period is called the anabolic window, and it's a period where your body makes the most of the nutrients you give it.
For most of us, the exact timing of the shake doesn't matter quite so much. You could go to the gym in the morning and have a protein shake in the afternoon, and it will be fine.
The only exceptions might be if you're going out of your way to build and maintain a body shape that requires a huge amount of maintenance (like an IFBB Bikini Pro might). Then, just getting the extra protein in is your biggest worry, which often means you'll be taking multiple shakes per week or even per day.
Even still, if you love to hit the gym in the morning, and you typically go on an empty stomach, then you should mix up that shake right away. Because you trained in a fasted state, you might be more likely to break down muscle. So, for those early birds, getting protein in ASAP can be of help.
Training for Your Next Walk, Run or Race
Are you training for your first or next race? Increasing protein in your diet can improve your performance and help you recover after you longer runs.
You don't need to take a shake after every single run. But if you're going to go for a run and you won't be eating for a few hours, then protein can be a great option. The same rules that apply to the gym also apply to the road. If you can, try to drink it within 30 minutes after getting back from your run. Getting your protein in during the anabolic window can help your body pick up nutrients and speed up your recovery.
Should You Ever Take a Protein Shake Before Bed?
By now, you know that you should be shaking it up after a workout or instead of your mid-day snack. But if you're a regular reader of health and fitness magazines, you might have noticed an interesting trend: drinking protein shakes before bed. The idea came from a study that found older people benefit from a little nightly protein nightcap: it helps improve muscle growth and prevents loss of muscle mass.
The truth is that if you're under 60, then this probably doesn't apply to you. Your body's regenerative properties are still going strong, and loss of essential skeletal muscle mass isn't a concern yet.
Some research has found that young, healthy men who take protein after intense resistance training may see benefits. It's unclear whether men really need more protein than women because there are so many factors at play. Research says that the sex differences in protein metabolism (if they exist) are most evident during puberty and menopause. But it's worth keeping in mind that your protein recommendations depend more on your weight than your sex, so your meal plan accordingly.
The bottom line: you probably don't need a protein shake before unless you're an elite athlete or you're over 60. Sticking to your daily routine will work just fine.
Boost Your Protein Intake for Better Skin, Hair, and Muscles
Getting your daily protein is important because it's one of the building blocks of life. Skimping on protein can leave your body feeling tired and achy, particularly if you're working out.
Our guide to when to drink protein should clear up some of the popular misconceptions about increasing protein during the day. In most cases, you only need to make sure you take your protein shake within a few hours after your workout or replace one of your snacks with it instead.
Are you on the hunt for a protein powder that tastes amazing and works perfectly in baked treats? Learn more about Teami's Organic Plant-Based Wellness Protein.
Adi Arezzini | @adiarezzini
Co-Founder + CEO, Teami Blends
Certified Holistic Nutrition Coach
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