Protein Shake Before or After Workout?

Protein Shake Before or After Workout

by The Fitness Enthusiast on April 19, 2014

Protein Shake Before or After Workout? When To Take Protein Shakes

Ever walk into a supplement store, and think to yourself….Huh? All these supplements, all these colors, all these ridiculous claims, and overly scientific crap, all you wanted was some protein, right? Not an infomercial. You don’t know when to take any of these protein shakes, I mean, should you take a protein shake before or after you workout? Is it worth the 50 dollar price tag?

You’re not the only one.

A very common question that I am frequently asked is what kind of protein should I be taking? Should I drink a protein shake before or after my workout? Do I NEED protein after a workout? Do I need protein in general? Why?

If this is a question you find yourself asking every time you take a trip to the nutrition store, don’t worry, I got you covered.

When to Take Protein Shakes Tip #1: There are many forms of protein

There are a few different forms of whey protein and often times advertising for these products can be quite misleading.  To keep things simple we will break whey protein down into three categories; isolate, concentrate, and caseinate.  Well, what is the difference between the three? The main difference and most important one to know is the time it takes for the body to digest.  Isolates digest at the quickest pace and therefore should be used as your post-workout source of protein.  After a lift you have a 30-45 minute “anabolic window” in which you must digest your protein so the body can use it for proper recovery.  It is essential to deliver protein and amino acids into the muscle after your workout.  There are many 100% whey isolates out there that would definitely get the job done.  There are also new products that consist of “hydrolyzed whey isolates”.  This is a predigested form of a whey isolate and is actually soluble through the lining of the stomach and travels directly to the blood and into the muscle.  A hydrolyzed isolate may be ideal, but a 100% isolate protein will do the job.

When To take protein shakes

When to take protein shakes

What about Whey Concentrate or Casein in my Protein Shake Before or After my Workout? Tip #2

Products that contain Whey concentrate are good sources of protein, but take longer to fully digest and therefore are not the absolute best for post-workout protein intake. The best use of a whey concentrate would be as a meal additive or meal replacement, i.e. a snack.   If you absolutely do not have time to prepare and eat something like a chicken breast or steak then drinking a whey concentrate shake is an okay option, but certainly not optimal.  The third category of whey proteins mentioned is whey caseinate. Casein proteins are derived from dairy and take a very long time to digest, sometimes up to 8 full hours. Therefore the time in which it takes to digest caseinate makes it an optimal pre-bedtime meal because it releases protein into your system as you sleep and thus prevents catabolism (breakfast would be a good time for casein as well).  Catabolism, or being in a catabolic state simply means that you are losing muscle rather than gaining, which is something no one desires.  So the next time you head over to the nutrition store to pick up some protein, and you are wondering what type of protein shake you should drink before or after your workout remember this guide on when to take protein shakes, and the process should be much easier.

Although, there is buzz regarding a 50/50 mix of whey and casein protein post workout; I am not so sure about this as the casein might slow down the absorption of the whey and there aren’t many legitimate studies on this. Rather, why not take only whey post workout, and down a casein shake 90 minutes or so later? Again, from an anabolic perspective I think taking only whey post workout makes the most sense considering your body wants a flood of amino acids after working out to prevent catabolism, you can follow that up by consuming some casein an hour or two later, and before bed.

*Disclaimer: Regardless of type of protein shake you whip up to drink before or after your workout: know what you are buying. Take supplements at your own risk. Protein shakes can never replace whole food chicken, beef, fish, etc.. Remember, supplements are just there to supplement, i.e. something that is added to make up for a deficiency.

Protein Shake Before or After Workout

Should I drink a Protein Shake Before or After I Workout?

How many grams of protein per pound of body weight?

Generally speaking, 1 Gram of protein per pound of body weight is what you should aim for everyday, but I would go for 1.25 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily. Also, the more you decrease your fat and carb intake, the higher your protein intake should be. Excess calories from protein are unlikely to be stored the same as carbs and fat, and although 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight sounds like a bit much you need to vary your protein intake based off your glucose tolerance and your energy expenditure because the intensity, frequency, and duration of your workouts will factor into how much and when you should consume protein. I mean, are you the type of person who can eat a bunch of carbs with minimal fat gain? Do you workout 2x a day? Adjust accordingly.

What about my post workout protein intake? How much protein should I take after my workout?

Bonus Tip*

My general recommendation for post workout protein intake directly after lifting weights is 25-50 grams of whey for males, and 20-30 grams of whey for females with some simple carbohydrates. You would then eat a combination of protein and carbs 2, 4, and even 6 hours post workout (entirely different subject to be addressed). Minimum you would want to consume some whey protein post workout, but of course I always preach going above and beyond. This is just the beginning of a series of articles that will cover all the insanely interesting and mouth watering topics about protein.

Again, these numbers will vary widely depending on a numerous amount of factors. This is just a general recommendation after a strenuous lifting session, and is by no means the end all be all answer. Everyone is different and as such would be trained and treated differently in terms of post workout protein intake, and recovery protocol.

The biggest mistake you can make is to not care about protein. I am an advocate of the whole food approach, and a protein shake before or after your workout, at breakfast time or before bed is just a supplement and a part of a much bigger picture. With that said, making sure you are eating enough protein is pivotal and DEFINITELY beneficial in burning fat and maintaining muscle.

*Post workout protein intake will be bundled with my post workout recovery and nutrition article to come in the future. This is an entirely different subject that people write books on, and as such it deserves its own article.

{ 27 comments }

Get Your Mind Right

by The Fitness Enthusiast All Health & Fitness Articles

Getting Your Mind Right As many of you may be doing, I want to fine tune a few trouble spots as summer days draw near. Now before we’re ready to drop a few founds of fat, or reach any goal, it’s important to understand the enemies and obstacles that are inevitable so that when they […]

Read The Fitness Enthusiast Article →

B&R Bar Review – Burgener & Rippetoe Powerlifting & Olympic Weightlifting Bar

by The Fitness Enthusiast Workout Equipment Reviews
BR Bar review Burgener Rippetoe Bar Review

We’re warriors when we train in the gym, so I review equipment to aid warriors in the gym. It’s hard to write a review for bar, how technical does one need to be? For a good part of my life I trained on different bars and stepped up and under each one ready to rock […]

Read The Fitness Enthusiast Article →

Strength Training For Women – Physical Preparation

by The Fitness Enthusiast All Health & Fitness Articles

Strength Training For Women – Physical Preparation All women desiring to lose weight, give me a chance here, puh-lease, just one second, before you go on your date with the elliptical,  please listen to me, it is for your own good. It will make your lives a lot easier. It’s just that almost every time I just […]

Read The Fitness Enthusiast Article →

Set the Tone with a Great Attitude and get Great Weight Loss Results

by The Fitness Enthusiast Lose Weight - Practical Advice to Help You Lose Weight

Ok Attitude, Ok Results, Great Attitude, Great Results Most people don’t understand its losing the first 15 to 20 lbs that set the tone and build momentum. They don’t get what setting the tone means.  When I played high school and college football coaches would always say set the tone. He meant to be excited […]

Read The Fitness Enthusiast Article →

The Potential Benefits of Skillfully Managing Your Calorie Intake

by The Fitness Enthusiast Lose Weight - Practical Advice to Help You Lose Weight

The importance of caloric manipulation: Most people associate dieting with losing weight, and so they should. Like a profitable business, it’s all the bottom line, in this scenario its about calories in versus calories out. To diet properly would infer you are in a calorie deficit and living in that state for a period of […]

Read The Fitness Enthusiast Article →

Lose Weight by Following These Basic Steps to Success

by The Fitness Enthusiast Lose Weight - Practical Advice to Help You Lose Weight

Every time I meet a new person trying to get in shape they seem discouraged. They claim that it is almost impossible to lose weight, but when I ask them what they know about losing weight, they shrug their shoulders in confusion, because they don’t know much or they haven’t given it much thought. I […]

Read The Fitness Enthusiast Article →

Stressed Out For An Interview? 5+ Tips to Kick Butt!

by The Fitness Enthusiast Lose Weight - Practical Advice to Help You Lose Weight
Thumbnail image for Stressed Out For An Interview? 5+ Tips to Kick Butt!

Better income, a job that you like, or a job that is more appropriate for your career development typically leads to reduced stress. I want to help reduce your stress and take the pressure off of you during that next interview. Why? We all know stress and healthy fat loss don’t go well together and given […]

Read The Fitness Enthusiast Article →

Does Gaining Muscle Burn Fat?

by The Fitness Enthusiast Lose Weight - Practical Advice to Help You Lose Weight

An age old question, does gaining muscle burn fat is something that surfaces in your head every once in awhile as it’s easy to think twice about what your doing before getting under the bar given the effort your about to put in. It’s easy to think that building muscle burns an extreme amount of […]

Read The Fitness Enthusiast Article →

Top 5+ Benefits of Drinking Water for Weight Loss & Overall Health

by The Fitness Enthusiast Lose Weight - Practical Advice to Help You Lose Weight
benefits of drinking water for weight loss

Water is Your Best Friend Water, water, Everywhere. Now all we need to do is drink. In a recent article I wrote that we need to avoid drinking calorie-filled beverages and just go for water. Now let’s take it a step further… Water is so crucial to our life and health. Whether you are sitting […]

Read The Fitness Enthusiast Article →

5 Lifestyle Changes to Lose Weight

by The Fitness Enthusiast Lose Weight - Practical Advice to Help You Lose Weight

5 lifestyle changes necessary to lose weight and keep it off. Let’s be honest. We are all striving for perfection, how can we not with the models and actors and new celebrity moms who lose their baby weight in what seems like impossibly short amount of time everywhere we turn? We all have a part […]

Read The Fitness Enthusiast Article →

Nike Romaleos 2 Weightlifting Shoes Review – Best Squat Shoe?

by The Fitness Enthusiast Workout Equipment Reviews
Nike Romaleos 2 Weightlifting Shoes Review

The Nike Romaleos 2 are the best weight lifting shoes I have ever worn.  It starts with the contoured TPU Heel Wedge, officially called Power Bridge adds a level of stability I have never had in a weightlifting shoe my entire life. You can see in the image above how sturdy the Nike Romaleo TPU […]

Read The Fitness Enthusiast Article →

Legend Fitness Half Rack Review – Is This Half Cage Legendary?

by The Fitness Enthusiast Workout Equipment Reviews
Legend Fitness Half Rack Review

I don’t really see a lot of legitimate reviews on half cages or any type of squat rack in general so I decided I would write one considering I looked for a half rack for about a year for the best option before making an investment on a legend fitness half cage. I found Legend […]

Read The Fitness Enthusiast Article →