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When to Drink Protein Shakes? Before or After Workout?

When to Drink Protein Shakes? Before or After Workout?

Protein is an essential nutrient for muscles and overall body health. It is a hot debate whether to drink a protein shake before or after a workout. Fitness enthusiasts seem to be chugging protein shakes before or after a workout nowadays. Well, there is no harm in taking protein shakes; however, one must be fully aware of the timing, i.e., when to drink protein shakes.

Protein shakes are indeed an essential and wise-to-buy supplement these days. There is enough scientific evidence supporting the intake of protein shakes before or after a workout. 30 grams per meal is the average value of protein that every individual should consume.

Experts say that consuming protein shakes before or after a workout does not matter much for gaining muscle mass. A small study conducted concerning when to drink protein shakes also showed that there is not much difference in strength and body composition of people consuming a protein shake either before or after a workout. Let us now further dive into the nitty-gritty details of protein shake consumption- 

Who Needs Protein?

Every human being requires protein for various body functions. The daily recommended value of protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. Now, this value is an average one allotted to keep deficiency away. It does not state the value needed for body composition optimization.

The daily value given is meager for healthy muscle recovery and growth. Research shows that people indulged in muscle training and heavy workouts require double the daily protein requirement, i.e., 0.72 grams to almost 1 kg of weight. Someone needing this amount of protein should evenly spread the intake in fewer parts of the meal.

As far as protein shakes are concerned and when to take protein shakes, the amount of the supplement should be clear. Protein shakes before or after a workout works almost the same, but it is wise to add them between the meals or snack them during the workout session. 25-30 grams of protein per scoop is a sufficient amount of protein supplement intake. 

When To Drink Protein Shakes? 

It’s time to hit the mark and answer the most controversial question regarding protein shake intake. Before figuring out when to take a protein shake or whether to drink a protein shake before or after a workout, make sure to keep in mind the subjective priorities.

These may include the individual’s present health condition, convenient hours of working out, daily nutritional value intake, etc. All these factors present the big picture and contribute to determining whether to take protein shakes before or after a workout. Another important consideration is the calorie value.

Understanding if the body requires more or an average amount of calories is also vital while relying on a protein supplement. Now further adieu, let us understand both the perspectives- whether to consume protein shakes before or after a workout. 

Protein Shake Before Workout

The body undergoes stress while going through exercise and exertion. While working out, the common goal is to lose the existing body fat or allocate the fat evenly to achieve a toned body. In both cases putting the muscle mass at work is inevitable. Achieving a toned and firm muscle mass for a healthy body is the usual goal.

Ideally, having protein in the body pre-workout is a good idea to sustain the energy and willingness to work out longer. It helps in the healthy circulation of the amino acids that encourage a phenomenon known as “muscle protein synthesis” (MPS). This activity tells the body to grow muscles and recover fast. Irrespective of the fact whether a person consumes a protein shake before or after the workout, the digestion rate depends upon the type of protein a person is consuming. 

Pros of Consuming A Protein Shake Before Workout: Cons of Consuming A Protein Shake Before Workout:
Many people do not prefer working out on an empty stomach. Catching up on a protein shake at least before an hour of workout is a good idea for them not to feel hungry. A sensitive stomach cannot efficiently digest protein on an empty stomach and may suffer from a stomach upset.
Drinking protein shakes before a workout ramp up the muscle-building process. People drinking protein shakes before a workout may miss out on carbs after the session as they may feel full.
They efficiently absorb other nutrients as the amino acids are present in the bloodstream.  
Protein shakes are a convenient option for those who work out early and not in the middle of the day.  
It can suffice the daily protein requirement of the body.  

Also See: Protein-Rich Vegetarian Foods And Vegetables List

Protein Shake After A Workout

The anabolic window refers to the 30 minutes right after the workout session. This time window is the one during which the body is able to soak the protein optimally. The protein intake during this time can enhance the results of weight training and contribute immensely to the muscle-building process. After tough resistance training, a protein shake can do wonders for bodybuilding, and a high-quality protein at this time can cover the damage (if any) done during the workout. A fast-acting protein shake after a workout can rebuild the body’s energy and stamina. So, now when it is clear that protein is great after a workout, get one asap! 

Pros of Protein Shake After Workout: Cons of Protein Shake After Workout:
Post-workout protein shakes have a high bio-availability. There are no significant cons involved in consuming a protein shake after a workout. However, ensuring the right type of protein is crucial.
A protein shake after a workout may ensure better absorption of nutrients compared to solid food sources of protein. Making sure of the carbs to protein ratio, which is 3:1, is also vital as it stores energy for the activities of the day and another round of the workout.
Post-workout protein shakes with water or milk can replenish the body’s fluid requirements and contribute the growth and muscle building.  
A protein shake after a workout is convenient as well, as it is easy to get your hands on a drink rather than on full-fledged meals.  

Also See: Best Weight Loss Diet Plan

How To Meet The Daily Protein Requirement Targets?

Protein-rich foods procured directly from primary sources are the best way to add protein to the daily diet. Animals and plants both have a variety of protein-rich sources. Meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products, all are high-quality animal protein sources. On the other hand, legumes, soy, beans, and nuts are rich vegetarian protein sources. Research shows that animal protein is superior to vegetarian sources of protein in terms of muscle building.

However, it is much more beneficial if both are consumed in a combination. Protein shakes are also a good source of protein and come into the picture when a person is trying to gain muscle mass. As we are now clear on whether to consume a protein shake before or after a workout, it can be safely said that protein shakes are a convenient way to increase the daily intake of protein. Let us now have a look at the types of protein to be sure of the right selection- 

Whey Protein:

Whey protein is a milk-based protein that the body absorbs quickly, making it effective both before or after the workout. Whey protein also contains forms of bioactive proteins that may provide other health benefits.

Casein Protein:

Casein is another milk-based protein. Its digestion is much slower than whey, making it ideal for periods when an individual is on a fasting or low-calorie diet. Some brands even offer a high amount of calcium in the casein protein supplement.

Egg Protein:

Egg protein powders mostly contain pure egg white protein. The digestion rate of this protein is medium. These types of protein supplements are one of the costliest in the market.

Soy Protein:

Soy protein is one of the rare plant proteins that contain all of the essential amino acids. This fact about soy protein makes it a complete protein source for vegetarians.

Rice and Pea Protein:

Rice and pea proteins lack a little bit in terms of essential amino acids, but combining them with this protein makes the rice and pea protein a complete protein. Sot proteins are low-allergenic, making them suitable for those who have egg, dairy, or soy allergies.

Also See: GM Diet Plan for Weight Loss

Vitality And Safety of Protein Shakes

Protein shakes and protein supplements do contribute to muscle mass and maximize the gains of workout sessions. However, some research results have raised eyebrows if the protein intake around workout is even necessary!

The studies give out mixed results, with some saying the protein supplements are beneficial while others say it has no significant impact. These confusions clarify that the most important thing to consider is not when to drink protein shakes but to ensure that the body gets enough protein necessary for optimum health. 

As far as the safety of protein shakes is considered, people with no underlying diseases can safely consume protein shakes. Also, health supplements, especially shakes, cannot replace wholesome meals. Therefore, one must make sure to adjust the protein shakes either in between meals or around the workout sessions.

However, too much protein can harm bones and may intensify kidney disorders. Thus, it is not wise to consume both a protein-rich diet and protein supplementing shakes as they may stuff more than required protein in the body.


Protein plays a crucial role in repairing and rebuilding the muscles after exercise, and many people drink protein shakes before or after the workouts to aid this process. However, studies suggest that it does not matter much whether a person drinks a protein shake before or after the workout. Interestingly, the total daily protein intake is what matters the most.

While protein shakes around workouts and between meals suffice the daily protein intake and make it easy to go through the day without feeling tired due to workout. Both foods that are the original source of protein and supplements can help achieve the daily recommended protein value goals and gain muscle mass. Hence, healthy people do not have to worry much about when to drink protein shakes and can effortlessly enhance their health and body structure with the help of such protein supplements. 

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