When To Drink Protein Shakes

Without a question, protein shakes are one of the most well-liked supplements for achieving any kind of fitness objective.

Protein drinks may refill your muscles and improve the hard work you put into each training session, whether you’re a bodybuilder, an athlete, or just a regular gym goer.

When To Drink Protein Shakes?

Nevertheless, many people are unaware of how protein drinks genuinely affect the system to ensure the best outcomes, despite the simple supplements receiving widespread acclaim.

Let us clarify…

What Takes Place During Resistance Training?

Muscle protein production minus muscle protein breakdown is known as net protein balance.

Protein synthesis (the production of muscle proteins) should be greater than protein breakdown for protein balance to be positive, which is necessary for muscle growth and recovery.

It’s a popular misconception that during a regular strength training workout, protein and muscle fibers really break down, whereas muscle fibers recover larger and stronger afterward.

The following is the reality of what occurs before, during, and after resistance training:

Prior to exercise, the body will have a higher net protein balance, meaning that protein synthesis would be greater than protein breakdown.

The body will have a negative net protein balance throughout exercise; whereas tissue breakdown actually doesn’t increase and stays the same, protein synthesis declines.

Eventually, as training continues, breakdown will outpace synthesis.

Post-workout: The protein balance will temporarily remain negative.

At this point, breakdown somewhat increases, yet in the hours that follow, protein synthesis climbs quickly to outpace breakdown and reach a level higher than pre-training. 

The body must be given the proper nutrition in order for these adaptations to take place and for the training session to be as successful as possible because this is where muscle development occurs.

How Do Protein Shakes Work?

In order to maximize the responses mentioned above, drinking protein shakes and giving the body amino acids at these crucial periods is crucial and involves a two-pronged approach. People can:

Boost the production of muscle proteins and lessen the breakdown of protein.

A greater net protein ratio is attained as a result, aiding in the promotion of increases in lean muscle growth, strength, and recuperation.

Numerous chemical steps must occur in order for these crucial mechanisms to be triggered, and hormone secretion is crucial in this process. 

Maximizing the anabolic and recovery capacity of muscle requires both increased insulin secretion and amino acid availability (hyperaminoacidemia).

Insulin And Muscle Development

One of the body’s most anabolic hormones, insulin has its most impact when it comes to preventing protein breakdown.

These amino acids are provided to the body by protein shakes, and if the proper kind and quantity are ingested, insulin secretion can be maximized.

Protein Shake Timings For Effectiveness

Numerous studies have demonstrated how important it is to consume enough protein during the “window” following an exercise in order to maximize muscle growth, protein breakdown, create a positive protein balance, heal injured muscle tissue, and promote training adaptations.

When a protein shake containing glucose was given either immediately after or three hours after moderate-intensity exercise, Levenhagen et al. (2001) discovered that protein synthesis was enhanced by 300% as opposed to only 12% whenever the shake was delayed by three hours. 

In other terms, a post-workout protein shake tripled the likelihood of anabolic activity. However, the response was just 12% higher when the exact same drink was consumed three hours later. 

The lesson to be learned is that post-exercise protein shakes should be drunk as quickly as possible, even though 12% may be viewed as a positive response compared to not taking a protein supplement.

Another study used a protein drink supplement that was consumed before or right after resistance training and contained carbohydrate and necessary amino acids. 

They discovered that supplementation before exercise boosted muscle protein synthesis more than supplementation after exercise. 

This finding may be related to the increased availability of amino acids to the muscles while exercising and their preparedness for utilization in the post-exercise window.

When consumed within 30 minutes of or just after a workout, protein shakes were demonstrated in longer-term trials utilizing resistance training of many weeks or more to boost strength and muscle mass. 

Although the “window of opportunity” following a workout may vary from person to person and isn’t fully understood, the effects seem to be greater when consumed within 30 minutes of finishing an exercise than when done two to three hours later.

When To Drink Protein Shakes?

Should You Include Carbohydrates In Protein Shakes?

Your preference and how you handle carbohydrates in your diet will determine whether or not you decide to incorporate carbohydrates in a protein shake.

The inclusion of carbohydrates facilitates:

  • Increasing the insulin response
  • Increasing the anabolic impact
  • Replenishing the energy and muscle glycogen stores
  • Decreasing post-workout cortisol

As a result, carbohydrates have certain advantages.

However, it’s interesting to note that some relatively recent study has actually demonstrated that when taking roughly 50g protein by having a post-workout drink, the effects are comparable to those of carbohydrates, in an enhanced insulin response. 

When limiting carbohydrate, it may not be necessary to consume post-workout when enough protein is provided. 

Even though training times are the ideal time of the day to consume carbohydrates, the muscles can act somewhat like a sponge to soak up and put carbohydrates to better use, instead of storing it as body fat.

Aside from carbohydrates, most types of protein do offer some sort of advantage when ingested before to exercise.

However, there is a distinction between something that is only adequate and something that will optimize your work and your results. 

The ideal proteins during this time are typically those with a quicker onset of action, like Whey protein (both isolate and concentrate). Dairy-free proteins like pea and soy protein isolate also function well.

It has also been proven to be useful to blend a little amount of casein protein with whey post-workout because, while whey is better at boosting protein synthesis, casein may be better at lowering breakdown.

Hydrolyzed proteins, such as hydrolyzed whey and hydrolyzed casein, are strongly advised if you want to get next-level outcomes. 

These can be ingested while exercising as well due to their quick absorption. Given their multiple benefits, hydrolysed proteins are set to become the next wave of protein powders.

How Much Protein Should You Have?

Simply said, it is advised to consume 1.0 to 1.2g of quick acting carbohydrates for every kilogram of bodyweight along with 0.5 to 0.6g of protein for every 2.2 pounds (one kilogram) of bodyweight if you decide to drink your protein drink with carbohydrate.

The most recent suggestion would seem to be 50g of protein,per 2.2lbs or 1 kg of bodyweight, whichever is the highest amount.

A 12 stone 5 lb person (80 kg) would therefore consume a protein smoothie with 50g of protein and 80 to 96g of carbohydrates. Alternatively 50g of protein free of carbohydrates.

100 to 120g of carbohydrates and 50 – 60g of protein would be consumed by a person weighing 15 stone 7 lbs 100 kg. Or, if no carbohydrates are present, 60g of protein.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what protein shakes are genuinely good for. The benefits of protein shakes include:

  • Building lean muscle or increasing muscle mass
  • Minimizing muscle deterioration and maximizing muscle regeneration
  • Because of the satiating impact it has, it helps with weight loss and body fat reduction.

It’s important to get your timings right with protein shakes to maximize their positive effects.

Lindsey Morgan
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