How Much Protein Should I Eat After Workout


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What Time You Eat That Extra Protein Is Important

Eat This Many Grams of Carbs and Protein After A Workout

While getting enough protein is important, so is getting enough protein at the right time. If someone is wanting to get the most benefit out of a strength training session, Cooper says, then the optimal thing to do is to get a small amount of protein before the training session, and a small amount of protein after the training session. That will lead to the biggest increase in protein synthesis. Not only will it help you put on muscle mass, but it will also help you recover better. The only downside is convenience.

If youre able to eat before and after a workout, about six to 20 grams each time is ideal. The second best thing you can do, if thats not an option for you, is to focus on your pre-workout snack, contrary to popular wisdom. Most people focus on the recovery nutrition and getting protein in after they exercise, Cooper says. Actually, though, its the protein you get before you work out that seems to have the most benefit. So, in order of best-case scenario to worst:

  • Pre-workout protein and post-workout protein
  • Only pre-workout protein
  • No protein at all

Carbs Help With Recovery

Your bodys glycogen stores are used as fuel during exercise, and consuming carbs after your workout helps replenish them.

The rate at which your glycogen stores are used depends on the activity. For example, endurance sports cause your body to use more glycogen than resistance training. For this reason, if you participate in endurance sports , you might need to consume more carbs than someone engaging in weightlifting.

Consuming 0.50.7 grams of carbs per pound of body weight within 30 minutes after training results in proper glycogen resynthesis .

Furthermore, insulin secretion, which promotes glycogen synthesis, is better stimulated when carbs and protein are consumed at the same time (

14 ).

Try consuming the two in a ratio of 3 to 1 . For example, thats 40 grams of protein and 120 grams of carbs .

Eating plenty of carbs to rebuild glycogen stores is most important for people who exercise often, such as twice in the same day. If you have 1 or 2 days to rest between workouts, this becomes less important.

Why Are Workout And Post

When we work out intensely, we damage tissues at the microlevel, and we use fuel.

This is what ultimately makes us stronger, leaner, fitter, and more muscular, but in the short term it requires repair.

Repair and rebuilding occurs through the breakdown of old, damaged proteins and the construction of new ones a process known collectively as protein turnover.

Muscle protein synthesis is increased slightly after resistance workouts, while protein breakdown increases dramatically. Were doing a lot more breaking-down than building-up.

The relationship between these two parameters represents the metabolic basis for muscle growth.

Muscle hypertrophy occurs when a positive protein balance can be established during recovery in other words, when we make sure we have enough raw materials available for protein synthesis to occur, so that it doesnt lag behind protein breakdown.

This is especially difficult with endurance athletes as protein synthesis drops and protein breakdown goes up.

Studies show that this trend can be reversed specifically, protein synthesis is stimulated and protein breakdown is suppressed when you consume the right type of nutrients after exercise.

Protein is not the only concern, however. During exercise sessions, stored carbohydrates can be substantially depleted.

Thus, during the postworkout period, we require protein and carbohydrates.

Also Check: Are Pure Protein Bars Healthy

How Much Protein Should You Consume After A Workout

After we work out, it’s important to replenish our bodies, but we know that, right? No matter if it was a lengthy hike or a heart-pounding cardio burst, we need to refuel and rehydrateespecially if it was one of those workouts that leaves our muscles aching, our breath hitching, and our skin doused in sweat. After one of these intense workouts, we can take our muscle soreness and tension as a symbolic request for recovery in the form of rest, hydration, and nourishment. The first two are easy. Take a break to avoid overworking your muscles and drink lots of water. For the latter, consume some sort of protein to aid your muscle recovery. But how much and in what form?

According to Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD, CSCS, founder of Alissa Rumsey Nutrition and Wellness, first, we need to go back to basics and consider the nutrient content of our food. “The best foods for recovery include a mix of carbohydrates and protein, along with plenty of fluid to replace sweat losses,” she explains. “The protein you consume repairs damaged muscle tissue while encouraging the development of new muscle. Carbohydrates are used to replenish the muscle fuel you used during your workout while stimulating insulin release. Insulin, a growth hormone, helps your body to utilize protein better post-workout.

FageTotal Greek Yogurt, 0%, Plain

Garden of LifeOrganic Plant Based Protein Powder

The Benefits Of Protein Powder

STRENGTH FIGHTER: How much PROTEIN do you need after Workout?

Protein powder supplements help you get the protein you need, quickly and easily, and theyre ideal for a meal on the go or as a pre-workout or post-workout snack. There are different types of protein supplements. For example, whey protein isolate is digested and absorbed very fast and therefore quickly available to your body. On the other hand, casein is a slow-digesting protein that offers a slow-release effect.

You cant meet all your nutritional needs through protein alone, so dont forget about the other macronutrients carbs and fats. Also, make sure to include fruits and vegetables in your diet, which are packed with vitamins and minerals, not to mention the fiber you need to keep your digestion working well.

Try making a protein shake with protein powder, plus a banana, some Greek yogurt, peanut butter, oats, berries, spinach, and chia seeds. That way, all your bases are covered.

Also Check: Does Protein Give You Energy

Percentage Of Total Calories

Another way to calculate how much protein you need is by using daily calorie intake and the percentage of calories that will come from protein.

First, determine how many calories your body needs each day to maintain your current weight:

Next, decide what percentage of your diet will come from protein. The percentage you choose will be based on your goals, fitness level, age, body type, and metabolic rate. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-202 recommend that protein account for somewhere between 10% and 35% for adults.

Multiply that percentage by the total number of calories your body needs for the day to determine total daily calories from protein.

Finally, divide that number by 4.

How Much Protein Do I Really Need After My Workout

More protein is not always better. Just because you eat heaps of protein after your workout doesnt mean that your body is absorbing it. Studies show that about 20 g of protein after a workout is the best way to stimulate muscle protein synthesis.

So what happens to all the extra protein? It might be getting stored as fat as a result of the excess calories. It is important that you get enough protein post-workout , but dont overdo it.And did you know that protein is absorbed best if you consume it with carbohydrates?

Are you ready to find out what you should eat before and after your workout?

On the adidas Runtastic blog weve got the perfect shopping list and recipes for your post-workout nutrition.

Recommended Reading: How Long Does Whey Protein Last

Make Sure To Drink Plenty Of Water

It is important to drink plenty of water before and after your workout. When you are properly hydrated, this ensures the optimal internal environment for your body to maximize results.

During exercise, you lose water and electrolytes through sweat. Replenishing these after a workout can help with recovery and performance .

Its especially important to replenish fluids if your next exercise session is within 12 hours. Depending on the intensity of your workout, water or an electrolyte drink are recommended to replenish fluid losses.


It is important to get water and electrolytes after exercise to replace what was lost during your workout.

Calculating Your Protein Needs

What To Eat Before, During & After Training For Max Muscle Growth

While the above guidelines give you a good sense of where your protein intake should fall, calculating the amount of daily protein that’s right for you can help you fine-tune this further.

To determine your protein needs in grams , first, calculate your weight in kilograms by dividing your weight in pounds by 2.2.

Next, decide how many grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is appropriate for you.

  • Use the low end of the range if you are in good health and are sedentary: 0.8g per kg.
  • Use a higher number if you are under stress, pregnant, recovering from an illness, or if you are involved in consistent and intense weight or endurance training.

Then multiply your weight in kg times the number of protein grams per day.


154-pound male who is a regular exerciser and lifts weights, but is not training at an elite level:

  • 154 lb/2.2 = 70 kg
  • 70 kg x 1.7 = 119 grams protein per day

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Not All Protein Is Created Equal

Here is the twist, though: Not all proteins are created equal. What youre looking for is a complete protein . And while animal products might be the easiest way to get that, theyre hardly the only way. Soy and quinoa are both complete proteins, and if youre thoughtful about it you can also get complete proteins by combining different foods. If you combine legumes with grains or legumes with nuts and seeds, then youll get all of your essential amino acids, she explains.

Worth noting here, too is that six to 20 grams of protein isnt all that much. A cup-and-a-half of low-fat chocolate milk will do it. So will a Cliff bar. A three-ounce serving of chicken is more than enough. Meredith Price, sports dietician at the University of Washington, is a big proponent of peanut butter, which has the advantage of being both cheap and fast, as well as Greek yogurt, tuna, and cottage cheese. And yes, protein shakes are fine, too, if perhaps less ideal. The more we can do whole food, the better, but there is definitely a benefit to having a quick, easy, ready-to-drink protein source from a protein shake, Price says.

Read more: How Protein Shakes & Bars Stack Up Against All-Natural Protein Sources

What Type Of Protein

A previous article reviewed key differences between quality and the absorbability of plant- versus animal-based proteins, and between proteins within each food category. The most important outcome of protein consumed either before or immediately following exercise is rapid delivery to the muscles cells â âfastâ proteins deliver amino acids to the muscles more efficiently. Whereas casein can take hours to empty from the stomach, whey isolates can enter the blood within 15 to 20 minutes. Subsequently, individuals would be best served by consuming a fast protein like a whey isolate before and/or after their workout. But, because protein should also be consumed several hours later , an alternate strategy post-exercise is to consume a blend of both fast and slow proteins for the sake of convenience considering how some individuals may not have the inclination of ability to eat again several hours after their workout. Whether the inclusion of a slow protein with a fast protein impedes immediate MPS is largely unknown. Regardless, protein intake throughout the day should ideally follow a regimen of frequent, smaller protein dosages to sustain a more positive nitrogen balance . Preferably, this entails a practice of ingesting quality protein every few hours and complemented by the ingestion of a âslowâ protein like casein before bed to help reduce the catabolic state the body experiences during an overnight fast.

Read Also: What Is The Most Protein Dense Food

All About Nutrient Timing

Nutrient timing is the concept that, what you eat and when you eat it, before, during and after exercise, will make a difference in your performance and results. The traditional theory is that there is an “anabolic window” â a period of time just following activity in which your body is able to use nutrients to optimize training adaptations.

According to a review article published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition in January 2013, it’s widely thought that consuming the correct proportions of nutrients during this time supercharges the body’s ability to restore damaged muscle tissue and depleted energy reserves to optimally enhance body composition and exercise performance.

In its position stand on nutrient timing published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition in August 2017, the ISSN recommends consuming high-quality protein within two hours of a workout to stimulate the greatest muscle protein synthesis, called MPS.

Other experts say it’s more effective if it’s consumed even sooner. According to registered sports dietitian and strength and conditioning coach Justin Robinson, the anabolic window is 30 to 60 minutes post-workout, and registered dietitian Christopher R. Mohr, Ph.D., of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says that you should try to eat within 15 minutes of an intense workout.

How Much Protein Should You Consume Post

How Much Protein Should I Eat In A Day When Working Out

New research reveals just how much protein you need after a workout to optimize muscle building.

The conundrum surrounding post-workout nutrition isn’t so much about what to eat as much as how much to eat. You and I both know protein needs to be a priority following a workout, but the jury is still out on how much protein is needed to maximize muscle growth and repair.

Fortunately, new research has shed some light on the matter. A study published in Physiology Reports sought to determine the impact of two different post-workout protein portions following exercise. Furthermore, it also sought to determine how varying amounts of protein post-workout influenced individuals with significantly different amounts of lean body mass.

Subjects were split into four groups as follows:

  • Low Lean Body Mass , 20 grams of whey protein
  • Low Lean Body Mass , 40 grams of whey protein
  • High Lean Body Mass , 20 grams of whey protein
  • High Lean Body Mass , 40 grams of whey protein
  • Each group received their protein following two total-body workouts.

    Researchers observed a 20 percent greater uptick in post-training muscle-protein synthesis in subjects consuming 40 grams of whey protein compared to those consuming 20 grams. What didn’t make much difference was whether the subjects had low or high lean body mass.

    As long as they had the higher amount of protein, they tended to experience a greater degree of muscle- protein synthesis.

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    How Much Carbs After A Workout

    Most people tend to forget about consuming carbohydrates after a workout. It is very important to replenish your glycogen stores with carbs so your body doesn’t use protein in order to refill these stores.

    The number of carbs you should consume after a workout depends on the calories you’ve burned.

    You need 0.4 g – 0.7 g of carbs per pound per hour of exercise. Thus, if you weigh 170 lbs you should roughly consume 70 g – 120 g of carbs after an hour of working out. It’s recommended to consume them within 45 minutes after your workout. If you wait longer than two hours, your glycogen synthesis can be reduced up to 50%.

    What Happens When You Don’t Eat Protein Post

    As Schehr said, protein is essential to muscle repair. So in theory, not eating protein post-workout means that your muscles don’t have what they need to efficiently and successfully repair.

    Schehr confirmed this, saying, “When protein isn’t present in adequate amounts, the muscle is not able to fully repair and grow, which leads to inflammation and an increased risk for injury.”

    Naturally, she explains, this inability to repair is the culprit for many overuse injuries that people suffer from: “Many overuse injuries occur from a lack of the proper repair nutrients the body needs to support muscle and tendons and reduce inflammation.”

    Recommended Reading: High Carb Low Protein Diet

    Why Do We Need Protein Anyway

    First, a brief primer on protein. There is a reason everyone is so crazy about the stuff: Protein is essential for all kinds of body functions as in, pretty much all of them including repairing and rebuilding body tissues. Thats particularly critical for athletes, since their body tissues are undergoing more trauma than most. Youve heard this before when you exercise, you end up with microscopic tears in your muscle fibers. To repair those fibers you need protein.

    Why Is Eating Protein Post

    Should You Have a Protein Shake Before or After Your Workout?

    According to Schehr, Dietary proteins are made up of amino acids, which are largely responsible for both muscle building and muscle repair. And exercise , although beneficial to building muscle, works by creating microscopic tears or damage to the existing muscle. The protein we eat, in turn, gets broken down into amino acids, which supplies the nutrients needed for repair of these damages.

    In short, we need protein after a workout to support the healing of our muscles. Makes sense right?

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    This Is Exactly How Much Protein To Eat After A Workout

    There’s more to losing weight than just working out. And while you should be proud of yourself every time you leave the gym or roll up your yoga mat, the work doesn’t stop as soon as your exercise does. We hate to break it to you, but if you’re not putting just as much thought into your post-workout eats, you might be wasting your time.

    So pack on the protein! There’s no better way to recover after a sweat sesh and preserve muscle mass, and on top of that, a protein-rich diet can increase both your calorie burn and your satiety. But make sure you’re not ingesting too much or too little. We tapped Jim White, RD, ACSM, and owner of Jim White Fitness Nutrition Studios, to tell us just how much protein you need after a workout.

    When you hit the grocery store with his magic number in mind, don’t forget that all proteins aren’t created equal. Look out for best proteins for weight loss as you shop for your post-pump food.

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