When’s the best time for a protein shake?

When’s the best time for a protein shake?

Do you know what one of the most popular queries we receive through social networks or comments to our posts? If we could specify when the best time to take protein shakes is. Let’s try to clear that up.

Maybe you are one of those who quickly google anything you want to know more about, getting carried away with whatever opinion you find… Here are some of the opinions you’ll find on the network of networks…

Search proteins internet

  • Advising you take it after workouts.
  • Or to have it with breakfast, just as you get out of bed.
  • That at night it’s good to have a slow assimilation shake…
We’ve written this post to clarify some of this information. When would be a good time to have your protein shake? This is, without a doubt, the quintessential supplement in the weight and fitness world, where it seems that if you don’t take it, you are not doing things correctly, right?

How much protein do we need?

We know that this is what interests you the most. However, first, you need to find out if you need to take a protein supplement or not.

First of all, we’ll try to make clear what the necessary amount to take to complete our nutritional requirements should be.

There are a lot of different opinions as to protein requirements. Why? There’s no totally accurate method. Besides, there’s something important we need to take into account: the body is very wise, and it adapts quite easily to high and low protein loads.

Should it be measured by the percentage of macronutrients? I don’t share that opinion. I think that the minimum need for protein in g/kg body weight should always be covered (except for people with a high fat percentage, above 20-25%, for whom it would be better to use the lean mass weight).

This way, we’re going to separate sedentary people, those that should take in 0.83 g/kg of protein, with the aim of maintaining the nitrogen balance (which is, roughly, the one that marks whether or not we’re gaining muscle). Why? Because if the training is intense, it causes a great deal of stress to the body, hence the need to increase the amount of protein.

Then why do we usually scale up? Because any excess is oxidised. Therefore, an intake of 2.5-3g/kg in power/strength athletes, without being harmful, could improve performance.

The general recommendation for resistance athletes is between 1.7-2g/kg as taking more than 2g/kg does not grant any improvement. However, our recommendation is to always try for an intake of 2g/kg body weight.

Protein shakes tips when to take

Reaching daily protein amounts are important, not only for athletes, but for anyone for the good of their health. For this reason, we recommend finding out the amount you consume when eating, and the supplement the rest with shakes, and of course, under a previously established calorie frame

When to take it

We’re going to try find you an answer. Although with time, new studies have changed the previous ways of thinking. That’s to say, it’s no longer considered so important when it’s taken.

However, one thing must be very clear, and that’s that unlike energy, in the form of glycogen or fat, protein does not have a store in the body to be accumulated, except what we have in the body tissues.

Fitness halteres

And it’s clear that destroying tissue is not what you’re wanting to do, in any case, let alone in fitness

What about excess protein? As it cannot be stored, part of it is converted into energy, or in some cases even stored as fat, if the energy pathway is covered, something that is not usually looked for in fitness either.

Our recommendation, after what we have seen, is that in order to reach optimum levels of protein, it should be taken in different doses throughout the day, either in the form of food, or as a supplement, to provide the body with amino acids for as long as possible.

By this I’m not saying that you have to eat protein every hour, you can divide the doses to every 3-4 hours, typically at breakfast, brunch, lunch, as a snack, and dinner

And after training?

It’s not entirely necessary

And this is what our colleague Sergio Espinar told us in his post about the need for the post-workout shake (here). In that article, we saw that as protein synthesis is maximised with weight training and amino acids, it was not necessary to take them in the first hours after training.

Protein “timing” is not as interesting as carbohydrates, as the range of hours is greater (5h versus 2-3h for carbohydrates).

That’s not to say that it’s bad to take protein post-training – that it’s not mandatory doesn’t mean it’s not okay to put it in after training, they’re two different things

Conclusion

  1. Calculate your protein needs.
  2. Divide over the course of the day, every 3 to 4 hours.
  3. Use a supplement if it’s necessary

I’ll give you two examples of how I do it:

Fasting

06:00: Protein shake (here we can go for the hydrolysed protein fasting pre-training.
10:00: Protein shake
14:00: Solid food with protein
18:00: Snack with protein
22:00: Solid dinner with protein

Day with midday training

08:00: Breakfast + Protein shake with milk (here we can take casein directly)
11:00: Solid good with protein
13:00: Training
14:30: Protein shake (here we can go for hydrolysed protein)
15:30: Food solid with protein (less quantity)
18:00: Solid snack protein
21:00: Solid dinner with protein
23:30: *If I need to reach my daily 170g of protein I add in a multi-phase assimilation shake.

Sources

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About David Diaz Gil
David Diaz Gil
David Díaz Gil contributes with excellent articles in which he deposits the essence of his experience as well as scientific rigor.
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