There’s a strategy to everything. I’ve learned that in order to maximize the result that we put into our strenuous workout, there are windows in which our body will need the protein supplements the most. So is there a best time for protein supplements? The answer is YES!
Protein supplements, which contain amino acids, facilitate a state of anabolism — the repair and construction of muscle. Because rigorous exercise breaks down muscle, protein synthesis is highest after a workout, and it is during this time that lean muscle mass is increased. Therefore, ensuring that protein is available for this process is of paramount importance for the serious athlete.
I’ve listed them in order of importance, so based upon what you can afford, start at the top of the list and work down.
- Right After a Workout
This is the most critical window that we need to know. Our muscles are like a sponge and need instant nutrition for muscle recovery and growth. In addition to R&R, we should feed our muscles protein within an hour after the workout, especially after the weight/resistance training. I’ve been using ON 100% Whey Isolates. It’s faster acting than whey concentrates. Each serving has 30g of protein and I got it from Costco.
- Right Before Bed
If you’re not already doing this, you should sleep for 7-8 hours a night so your body can get the rest it needs to function properly. Personally, I sleep somewhere from 6-8 hours but the point is that’s a long time without protein. While our body don’t need much energy during our sleep, it still needs some! Remember our muscles continue to repair themselves 48-72 hours after the resistance training so we should feed them what it needs during this long resting period. I personally use ON 100% Whey Isolates but you can try casein for this purpose since it’s slow acting and takes 2-3 hours to get absorbed into the body.
- Breakfast Time
Same as above. After 6-8 hours of non-feeding, our body needs to be fed. Adding a protein shake with your breakfast is going to ensure that you get a boost of protein and more importantly a caloric boost that is going to feed your muscles and keep you from burning unnecessary nutrients throughout the day that could be going towards your fitness goals instead. I drink the Chocolate Shakeology (17g of carb and protein) as part of my breakfast. It’s a nutrition packed supplement and taste absolutely delicious.
- An Hour Before Workout
This sets up the “anabolic window” before our workout and provides our muscles with adequate nutrition so that the effects of resistance training (resistance/weight training breaks down muscle-called catabolic) are not as severe. Consuming protein supplement an hour before workout will ensure that they get absorbed by our bodies before the workout begins. Another option here is to drink BCAA Amino Acids which is a fast absorbing protein that can be taken right before and during the workout. For my Intra-workout BCAA, I drink Purple Wraath from ControlledLabs.