When Should I Take Protein Powder: A Beginner’s Guide

When it comes to protein powder, when to drink is just as important as what to drink.

Many of us are excited about the benefits of protein shakes – building and maintaining muscle, weight loss, weight gain, and recovery, to name just a few. But once you’ve grabbed your protein blend, you might ask yourself: when is the best time to take my protein powder for best results?

Why does it matter when I take my protein powder?

The “right” time to have protein powder depends on your health and fitness goals, but also on your preferences and schedule. Your body absorbs certain sources of protein faster or slower than others, which means the type of protein and time of consumption are intertwined. For example, micellar casein is a slow digesting form of protein – the ideal option for those drinking a protein shake before bed. On the other hand, most whey proteins are fast-absorbing, making them a fantastic post-workout option . In summary, when you take your protein impacts not only which type of protein is right for you, but also how effective your protein powder is towards achieving your specific goals.

Wake and Shake??

Taking Protein Powder in the Morning

When you first wake up, your body hasn’t had been nourished for many hours (unless you reached for a midnight snack!) This protein shortage may cause your muscles to break down in order to give your body the energy that it needs. A quick protein boost is great for maintaining muscle recovery and re-energizing before that breakdown even starts! For those who take their protein powder in the morning, consider mixing it in a fruit smoothie or baked recipe.

Pregame Protein

Taking Protein Powder Before Exercise

Though downing your protein post-workout has been considered the gold standard of workout nutrition, research shows that pre-workout can be beneficial as well. Think of pre-workout protein as priming the pump. Drinking protein before a workout can kickstart any muscle protein synthesis that will take place during your workout. Because muscle protein synthesis can actually increase for as long as 3 hours after taking protein, you will benefit from elevated blood amino acids during your workout, as well as after. Additionally, including carbohydrates in your diet before and faster a workout is an important way to give your body the energy it needs to fuel and refuel.

Post Workout? Protein time.

Taking Protein Powder After Working Out

Taking protein powder after a workout has long been considered the gold standard. Fast-absorbing proteins deliver amino acids into your bloodstream precisely when they’re needed the most. Consuming protein powder after a workout will help your tired muscles recover faster and bounce back even stronger. We recommend having a serving of protein powder within 30 minutes of exercise for best results.

Drink & Lift

Taking Protein Powder During a Workout

Helping yourself to nutrient-dense foods during a workout is both an art and a science. If your exercise involves a lot of movement, your protein shake could froth up in your stomach and cause discomfort. If you ate beforehand and continue to down that shaker bottle, you might be too stuffed to move an inch by the end of your workout.

Bedtime Protein > Bedtime Stories

Taking Protein Powder Before Bed

Apart from drinking water, sleep is the most important routine in your life. It’s arguably even more important than eating – you can go longer without food than you can without sleep. Pairing good sleep with great nutrition is one of the easiest ways to keep your body refreshed and healthy. Your body is most productive at repairing and rebuilding tired muscles overnight, which is why your bedtime routine is just as important as your exercise one. Having a protein shake – especially one that contains a slow-digesting protein like micellar casein – will feed your tissues the nutrients they need over the course of that long fast we call sleep.

Snack Attack

Taking protein powder as a meal supplement or snack between meals.

For many people, snacking means reaching for a bag of chips or other less healthy food options. Protein powder is a great replacement snack, providing you with a great boost, without the excessive sugar or calories. Mix up a quick shake for a convenient midday boost!

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