Is It Better To Drink A Protein Shake Before Or After A Workout?


The ongoing debate in the fitness world revolves around the timing of protein consumption in relation to your workout. Some argue that pre-workout protein is the key to a successful training session, while others emphasize the benefits of post-workout protein for optimal muscle growth. However, it's time to settle this debate once and for all, puns intended.


So, what's the better choice: a protein shake before or after your workout? To be honest, the decision is entirely yours and depends on your specific needs, lifestyle, and fitness goals. According to India McPeak, a CSCS-certified personal trainer and former competitive gymnast, the key is to meet your daily protein goals from various sources and use protein shakes when it aligns with your routine. Furthermore, Jordan Hill, a registered dietitian from Top Nutrition Coaching, stresses the importance of nourishing your body with the right nutrients, with carbohydrates and protein being the primary focus before and after a workout.


While protein plays a crucial role in enhancing performance and building muscle, research indicates that the timing is less critical than your daily protein intake. Nevertheless, there are advantages to consuming a protein shake both before and after your workout.


Experts weigh in on the benefits of pre-workout and post-workout protein shakes, as well as strategies to meet your daily protein requirements.


Should you opt for a protein shake before or after your workout? Once again, the answer depends on your goals. Protein shakes are an effective way to increase your daily protein intake, but the exact timing of consumption is less important than you might think. According to McPeak, the key is to ensure that your pre- and post-workout meals are no more than four to six hours apart to maximize muscle growth. Pre-workout consumption helps activate and prepare your muscles for exercise, reduces mid-workout hunger pangs, minimizes muscle breakdown, and eases soreness, as explained by Hill. Meanwhile, post-workout intake aids in muscle recovery, reduces inflammation, and provides an energy boost when needed.


For high-intensity workouts such as long-distance running, CrossFit, and HIIT classes, Hill recommends consuming both protein and carbohydrates 30 to 45 minutes before and after the session. Conversely, for less demanding workouts like yoga, walking, and bodyweight training, a regular daily diet with three meals and occasional snacks should suffice.


In summary, there's no definitive answer to the age-old question of whether to consume protein before or after a workout; it's a personal choice. Studies have shown that pre- and post-workout protein intake has similar effects on muscle size, strength, and overall body composition.


Benefits of Drinking a Protein Shake Before Your Workout:


·       To boost your pre-workout protein intake, aim for 15 to 20 grams of protein and 25 to 30 grams of carbs about 30 to 45 minutes before exercising.


·       Fuel your workout: Protein is essential for brain, body, and muscle function, providing the energy needed for a successful workout.


·       Minimize muscle breakdown: Despite the paradox, exercise breaks down muscle fibers, making a protein and carb combo snack before working out crucial. Protein contains essential amino acids that facilitate rapid absorption and muscle cell repair.


·       Feel satiated: If you haven't eaten in several hours or lack time for a full meal before your workout, a protein shake can stave off hunger and promote fullness, especially if you have less than an hour before exercise.


Boost muscle adaptation: Pre-workout protein primes your muscles for optimal performance and adaptation to training efforts, enhancing endurance during challenging workouts.

Comments (4)

Elizabeth Ochieng 2023-09-23 06:15:56

I prefer to have protein pre and post workout to fuel my body. If im running definitely postworkout

David Burro 2023-09-22 17:27:29


Mary Ng 2023-09-22 08:27:50

I prefer protein shake after workout. And also to maintain my protein intake I consume protein shake for breakfast on rest days.

jenny 2023-09-22 08:05:13

Protein after the gym makes me gain weight