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…
- 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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
- Calculate your protein needs.
- Divide over the course of the day, every 3 to 4 hours.
- Use a supplement if it’s necessary
I’ll give you two examples of how I do it:
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
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.
- The protein book by Lyle McDonald Paperback – November 20, 2007 by Lyle McDonald (Author)
- Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning
- Vegetable Proteins - Learn about the best sources of vegetable protein as an alternative
- Whey Protein Concentrate
- Is it better to take proteins or amino acids?