The Best Kind Of Protein Powder To Look For
When you’re choosing a protein powder for your protein shake, Steinberg recommends focusing on a handful of different qualities to ensure what you’re getting is high-quality and healthy. “The best quality protein powders are the ones that contain all nine essential amino acids: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine,” she says. “Both grass-fed whey protein or pea protein powder are great options. Just be sure to look for protein powders that donât have added sugar or additives.”
Protein Shakes: Is Before Or After A Workout Best
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Protein shakes are a commonly enjoyed supplement for many, especially active individuals, whose protein requirements are higher than those who are more sedentary. Protein is one of the three macronutrients along with carbohydrates and fats and is responsible for muscle repair, preservation, and growth.
People often rely on protein shakes to aid in various body composition goals such as when building muscle, weight management, exercise performance, preserving muscle, and just out of convenience to help them meet dietary protein targets.
Getting enough protein is essential for meeting many body composition goals. The timing of when you consume a protein shakebefore or after a workoutdepends on your personal preferences and goals. For some, it comes down to preference, but for specific goals, protein shake timing can impact results. Read on to learn more about when it is best to consume a protein shake.
Protein Shake After Training
Your muscles are probably more receptive to the supply of protein after the stress of your workout, so protein shakes can make a valuable contribution to muscle building and muscle regeneration. One of the reasons for this is that proteins support muscle protein synthesis after exercise, effectively helping to increase and maintain muscle mass. However, just as with pre-workout protein shakes, there are a few factors to consider when taking them after a workout. Here, too, it is worthwhile to pay attention to an easily digestible preparation. Because directly after exercise, a rich protein shake with a lot of milk may be too much for the stomach. Some athletes therefore prefer to mix their Whey Protein with water after training to avoid this. In addition, it is worthwhile to pay attention to a protein powder with high value, because only then you can ensure the supply of the muscles with all important amino acids.
After an intense workout, the body demands energy. A shake with Whey protein after training is a good option, because it is quickly prepared and is available as a quick source of protein for the muscles. This is especially crucial if you want to stay within the anabolic window for protein intake after exercise. Because this plays an important role especially for muscle building.
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Protein Shake Before And After Training As A Compromise
For muscle building it is not very important whether you take your protein shake before or after training. Therefore, it is not harmful if you even drink a shake before and after your workout.
With a protein shake before and after your workout, you can provide your body with enough energy for the workout as well as support for the subsequent recovery. In addition, you can also meet your daily protein requirements more easily in this way. However, protein shakes are only one way to integrate protein into your diet. Whey protein can be much more than “just” a shake. You can use Whey Protein for baking or stir your protein powder into your quark or yogurt for breakfast. With a powder with a delicious taste, like our ESN Fruity Whey Isolate, this is no problem at all. You want to take your protein already in the morning with your coffee? This is also possible, for example with ESN FLEXPRESSO Protein Coffee. As you can see, integrating Whey Protein into your daily routine is not difficult at all. If you distribute your protein intake throughout the day, you will also reach your protein requirements. It’s up to you whether you choose to prepareyourprotein shake before or after exercise, or even both.
When Is The Best Time To Take Protein
This is a widely debated topic as there are benefits to be gained from taking protein at many different times throughout the day, from breakfast, before and after training, between meals and even before bed. The honest answer is the best time to take protein is entirely dependent on your personal preferences, lifestyle, and goals. The overall amount, quality and frequency of protein consumption is generally more important than the time of day it is taken.
Make sure to also checkout our article which answers the questions: should you have a protein shake for breakfast?
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Key Takeaways And Closing Thoughts
If you skipped to the end or need a summary, here are the key insights from this article:
- Pre-workout compared to post-workout protein timing isnt the game-changer some people claim .
- You should definitely consume protein before, during, or after your workout–theres certainly no benefit to delaying it, and there may be downsides.
- Carbs during or after training are good for performance if you train twice a day or longer than 90 minutes, but are mostly neutral for muscle building, and are bad for fat loss.
- Total protein intake probably trumps protein timing.
- Whey protein and high-quality whole foods will give you the fastest recovery and best muscular gains.
- For muscle building and recovery consuming protein every 3 hours is better than two large daily doses or smaller and more-frequent pulses.
- Day-to-day protein timing matters less for fat loss, even if you lift weights.
Take a moment to digest the above info and youll find most of your questions are answered.
But along with all the research-based insights about protein intake, other cutting-edge data indicates that the amount of calories you eat could help determine protein synthesis and recovery.
At this time, scientifically speaking, the exact caloric cost of building muscle is unknown, and eating extra calories may boost muscle growth independently of resistance training or protein intake.
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What Does This Mean
Anabolic means to build up whereas catabolic means to break down. Anabolism and catabolism are the two opposing sides of your metabolism. Exercise and consuming protein are two major anabolic stimuli that increase muscle protein synthesis rates.
The anabolic window strategy involves consuming protein within 30-60 minutes of exercise to shift the body from a catabolic state to an anabolic state. However, research shows that this window is much larger than previously thought and both pre and post-workout protein intake can produce similar adaptations to muscle tissue when paired with strength training. Research shows that consuming protein within this anabolic window to maximise MPS and minimise MPB is only significant if training fasted .
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What Protein Shake Is Best
Whey protein comes out on top and is the most bio-available protein on the market. It beats both solid foods as well as other protein supplements.
When a protein has a superior bio-availability, this means it is absorbed and utilised well in the body. Whey protein has a bio-availability of somewhere between 90% to 100% which means that it comes out on top when compared to other appropriate protein sources.
Theres also a timing benefit to utilising whey protein. Protein from whey is broken down very rapidly as compared to other proteins. This means that its amino acids are readily available within roughly an hour.
Alternative proteins such as casein break down at a much slower rate and this gives them an almost drip-feed effect. So, if you dont have a lot of time to eat a solid meal around your workout window need some fast-acting, high-quality protein you wont go wrong with whey. In addition, if you mix your whey protein shake with milk, it behaves more like casein and slows down the digestion.
Why Protein Shakes Are Used
Protein shakes are protein-rich drinks available either in the form of protein powder or protein-packed liquids. Protein powder is consumed by mixing it with water or milk while liquid protein shakes are ready to consume around your workouts.
The prime objective of protein shakes is to increase protein intake especially for individuals who used to do heavy workouts or want to increase their muscle mass and strength. Protein shakes serve as convenient drinks for people in their gym or during outdoor activities.
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Factors Other Than Protein Shake Timing
Whether you take a protein shake before or after workout is not the most important factor in ensuring you reach your health, fitness and sporting goals. The 3 most important factors in determining your success are:
Overall Protein Intake
As mentioned earlier a daily protein intake of between 1.6 and 2.2 grams per kg of bodyweight is optimal if you are pursuing lean muscle gain.
For athletes, the recommended protein intake will vary depending upon the number of calories consumed. In situations where a calorie deficit is being maintained a daily protein intake as high at 1.8 to 2.0 grams per kg of bodyweight is recommended. The reason for this is to promote fat loss whilst preserving muscle. In times where there is not a calorie deficit a daily protein consumption of between 1.3 and 1.8 g per kg of bodyweight is recommended .
For weight loss it has been found higher-protein diets which contain a daily intake of protein between 1.2 and 1.6 grams per kg of bodyweight provide improvements in appetite and body weight management . This is also supported by the satiety improvements caused by consuming more protein.
Protein synthesis is stimulated by resistance exercise, then further enhanced by the ingestion of protein. Without this initial increase from resistance training your results will not be maximised. This is especially true when pursuing goals relating to retaining muscle, increasing strength and growing lean muscle tissue .
Protein Before Exercise Vs Protein After Exercise
After a long time without a scientifically based answer as to whether it is better to drink protein shakes before or after exercise, Brad Schoenfeld, Alan Albert Aragon, James W. Krieger and others scientifically investigated this very question in 2016. In their study, they divided 21 men into two groups, each of whom was given a protein shake containing 25 g of protein. One group drank the protein shake before training, the other after. All subjects also trained according to the same training schedule on the same number of days. The result: the scientists could not observe any significant differences between the two groups. This result is also in line with a detailed meta-analysis of various studies from 2013.
What this means for athletes is that it doesn’t really matter whether you eat protein before or after exercise. It can be assumed, of course, that muscles are particularly receptive to protein intake after training in order to regenerate. However, the scientists came to the conclusion that it is less important for muscle building when protein is consumed, but rather that protein is consumed at all. The decisive factor is that the daily protein requirement is adequately covered. And also how many hours before and after the training one consumes protein, has influence on the training success. However, taking protein shakes before or after training offers different advantages and disadvantages that you should be aware of.
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Lets Find Out Through Research
One study investigated the effects of consuming a protein powder before or after a workout and how the timing affects muscle development.
In this short study, one group of males got a protein drink before their exercise, while the other got a protein shake after a workout. Then, each participant completed a full-body strength training regime 3 times a week for ten weeks.
Whats the end result? Muscle strength and size did not differ significantly between both two groups.
That implies it doesnt matter if you consume a protein powder before or after your workout as long as you do so around the same time. After that, it will work at whatever time is most suitable for you.
So What’s The Verdict Should You Drink A Protein Shake Before Or After Your Workout
The answer may depend on your goals. If you’re trying to build muscle, drinking a protein shake before your workout may give you an edge. If you’re mostly concerned with recovery, drinking a shake after your workout may be more beneficial.
Protein shakes are a great way to get the nutrients your body needs to perform at its best. Whether you drink them before or after your workout, they can help you reach your fitness goals. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian to find out what’s best for you.
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Faq #: Whats The Best Protein Supplement
Whey protein powder is most peoples top pickand for good reason.
Not only is it rich in the amino acid leucinean amino acid that plays a vital role in stimulating protein synthesisits rapidly digested and easily absorbed by the body. In other words, it kicks off the muscle-building process, then provides everything the body needs to get the job done quickly and easily.
Whats more, high-quality whey protein powder tastes good and tends to provide a lot of protein per dollar spent, so its convenient and cost-effective.
If you want to enjoy a 100% natural grass-fed whey isolate protein powder made with milk from small, sustainable dairy farms in Ireland, try Whey+.
For most people, casein is the next most popular choice after whey protein. It offers roughly the same benefits in terms of building muscle, but has a thicker, creamier texture that many people enjoy, and releases amino acids over a much longer period of time, which may offer some muscle-building advantages over whey.
When Is The Best Time To Drink Protein Shakes
Protein shakes make hitting your total daily protein target easier because theyre a convenient way to consume high-quality protein.
Theres nothing inherently special about them, though, which is why theres no best or worst time to drink one.
In most cases, the best time to drink a protein shake is whenever you want to drink a protein shake.
That said, depending on your goals, there may be slightly better times to have protein shakes than others. Lets take a look at some common scenarios.
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Is Glycogen Replenishment Essential
Glycogen replenishment is another reason some people take the timing of their shakes seriously.
Your body can store glucose for energy in the form of glycogen. Unless you trained hard recently or follow a very-low-carb diet, you have approximately 600 grams of glycogen stored in your muscles and liver.
During prolonged, intense exercise, glycogen plays a critical role as an energy source.
Some people add carbs to their protein shake to replenish glycogen lost during exercise, but is this practice necessary? And if so, when?
Heres when it makes sense to consume carbs and protein during or after your workout:
- If your workout approaches the 90 minute mark or longer, carbs during your workout can fuel performance and help prevent muscle loss.
- If youre training twice a day, youll want to replenish glycogen in between training sessions to sustain your performance.
Also, if you do need glycogen replenishment ASAP, a mix of protein and carbs appears to do the trick faster than carbs alone.
For rapid glycogen replenishment, try a 4-to-1 ratio of simple carbs to protein. For example, a 400-calorie blend of 80 grams dates, strawberries, or oats with 20 grams whey protein.
Protein Quality Vs Amount
In reality, not all protein is created equal. Along with your total intake, the type and amount of amino acids affect your results.
The larger the amount of essential amino acids , branched-chain amino acids , and leucine contained in a protein source, the more it boosts your recovery and muscle protein synthesis.
Now, lets dive into a much more controversial area: the best time to take your protein relative to working out.
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What Is A Protein Shake
Protein shakes can come pre-mixed or in powder form. Some contain other nutrients and are fortified with vitamins and minerals while others are primarily pure protein. Pre-made shakes are clearly the most convenient but are less versatile, while protein powders and shake mixes can be customized with additives of your choice, including milk, blending with fruit, or adding peanut butter.
The popularity of protein shakes lies mainly in their convenience, as a way to boost protein intake when it may be difficult to do so with food alone. For those who are aiming to increase their protein intake for certain goals, protein shakes make this easy, especially if you aren’t yet used to eating as much protein as you want to consume.
Some people also rely on high-protein diets when pursuing a weight management goal. This approach is based on protein’s role in preserving muscle during weight loss, which helps you prevent some of the metabolism slow-down that can occur due to reduced caloric intake. Protein also requires more calories to digest than carbs or fat, but this effect is relatively negligible in the big picture of calorie balance and weight management.
When To Drink Protein Shakes For Weight Loss & Fat Burning
If the goal is weight/fat loss, there are several benefits to supplementing your diet with protein shakes:
- supports retention of muscle
- increases satiety sweet flavours
- can help cravings
Some people might increase protein intake slightly while dieting to avoid losing any muscle and keep them full between meals. While you might be able to get away with a whey concentrate in the offseason, we’d look to keep trace macros to a minimum and going for a whey isolate vs whey concentrate instead.
Like when trying to build muscle, protein should be consumed regularly .
Examples of how to consume protein supplements for weight loss:
Breakfast: chicken/turkey sausages, egg whites, veg
Pre-Workout: oats, whey isolate, berries
Post-Workout: chicken, rice cakes with reduced sugar jam, veg
Evening Meal: salmon, veg/salad
Pre-Bed Meal: casein protein, almonds
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