Protein powder before or after workout
A protein shake after a workout can help kick-start your body's recovery process.
Protein shakes are one of the most popular supplements on the market. You won't find them only in bodybuilding supplement stores anymore; they've made their way into health-food establishments and grocery stores, too. You need protein for optimal health; it aids in repairing and building cells. While advocates disagree on the best time to get the most from a protein shake, after your workout may be the best choice.
After a Workout
When you train, your body breaks down protein and protein synthesis decreases. Your body also uses its stores of carbohydrates, resulting in lower glycogen levels, notes the "Journal of Sports Science and Medicine." A post-workout dose of protein helps ensure a positive protein balance, which is vital for muscle growth.
Before a Workout
Before a workout, your primary dietary focus should be on carbohydrates, writes dietitian Katie Clark on TheDietChannel. Carbohydrates digest far quicker than protein and fat and are your body's preferred source of energy, so they should be the basis of your pre-workout meal. However, adding protein to your pre-workout carbohydrates can produce greater strength increases and lead to favorable changes in body composition compared to eating carbs alone, according to sports nutritionist Brooke Kugler.
Types of Shake
Many different types of protein powder are available, including whey, casein and egg, along with vegan sources, such as pea or hemp protein powder. The supposed benefits of one type of protein powder over another has yet to be convincingly demonstrated, notes the International Society of Sports Nutrition. So try various types of protein powder to find what you prefer, advises nutritionist Nanci Guest in "Oxygen Magazine."
Protein powder has benefits both pre- and post-workout, but if you must choose, then opt for after working out. A protein shake is not a necessity, however. Protein is important for optimal growth, development and recovery, but you could just as easily get adequate protein from whole foods, such as meat, fish and beans, or from milk. Ensure that your protein shake fits your calorie and protein requirements. MayoClinic.com recommends that a 2, 000 calorie diet should contain 50 to 175 grams of protein a day. Consult your doctor before introducing any supplements into your diet and only buy them from a Food and Drug Administration-approved manufacturer.