What’s the best time for protein shake: Before or after a workout?

Protein powders have become a popular dietary supplement for anyone who has a physically active life. Whether you’re heading to your gym for an intensive workout session or going for a brisk walk around the block, you may wonder when is the right time to have your protein shake. Some of us have it before our workout to get that much-needed energy boost before the session, while others prefer taking it after the workout to aid in muscle recovery. Well, as per an expert, you can have it at either time depending on the purpose of your protein shake. Confused, are you? Don’t worry, we’ll address your plight right here.

Health Shots got in touch with Dr Nirupama Rao, Nutritionist, Rejua Energy Centre, Mumbai, to find out the best time to drink protein shake.

Is it better to drink protein before or after a workout?

To consume a protein shake, either before or after a workout, depends on your specific fitness goals and personal preferences.

Protein shake-before or after workout
Power up your fitness game by having protein shake at the right time. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Reasons to have protein shake before a workout

1. Energy and performance

“Taking your protein shake prior to your workout can amplify your workout by giving you that boost of energy,” says the expert. It’s a no-brainer that you need some boost of energy before you head on for an intensive workout. Having your protein shake before a workout can amp up your performance by increasing your stamina during the workout.

2. Prevents muscle breakdown

A pre-workout protein shake can help prevent muscle breakdown during your workout. This is especially important for individuals engaging in prolonged or intense exercise.

3. You will feel fuller

“Protein can induce a feeling of fullness, which can be of benefit for those looking to control their appetite during or after a workout,” says Dr Rao. This also helps in weight management and can accelerate your weight loss journey by helping you refrain from binge eating owing to heavy hunger pangs post-workout.

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Also read: Protein: Why and how to include this nutrient in your diet

4. Convenience

Some people find it more convenient to prepare a shake before they head to the gym and consume it shortly before starting their exercise routine.

Protein shake-before or after workout
Protein shake-before or after workout? We answer it all here. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Reasons to have protein shake after a workout

1. Muscle recovery and growth

“Consuming a protein shake after a workout is a common practice because it aids in muscle recovery and growth. Exercise, especially strength training, causes micro-tears in muscle fibres, and consuming protein post-workout provides the necessary amino acids to repair and rebuild these muscles,” says Dr Rao.

2. Protein synthesis

After exercise, the body is more receptive to protein intake, a period often referred to as the “anabolic window”. Consuming protein during this time may enhance protein synthesis, leading to better muscle gains.

3. Refuelling

A post-workout protein shake can help replenish glycogen stores and provide the body with nutrients to repair and grow muscle tissues, especially when combined with carbohydrates.

4. Reducing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)

The expert suggests that post-workout protein intake may help reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery.

So, like we said earlier, whether one should consume a protein shake before or after a workout depends entirely on your set of goals. For most individuals, post-workout protein intake is highly recommended for muscle recovery and growth

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