When is The Best Time to Have a Protein Shake

Chocolate protein shake imageYou want to take a protein shake but are confused about the best time to drink it. Well not for much longer because I am going to tell you everything you need to know about incorporating protein shakes into your diet.

When we speak about protein shakes we are usually referring to protein that comes from whey, one of the most popular supplements in the world, lauded by bodybuilders, athletes and even those who want to shape up and lose a few pounds.

When is the Best Time to Have a Protein Shake?

The best time to take your whey protein shake is linked intrinsically to your reasons for lactose-free it. I have written about general use towards the end of the article but let’s focus on protein shakes connected to training because the time you take it is crucial for proper repair and growth.

A Shake on Rising

Whether it’s a training day or not, having a protein shake for breakfast has its advocates. During the night when sleep occurs glycogen stores become depleted and muscles start to break down. An ingestion of protein on rising stops this process and floods the cells with amino acids and other beneficial substances such as cysteine, a powerful antioxidant and immunoglobulin which fights off viruses.

A Shake before Training

Taking your shake before you train also has its fans, and there is evidence that taking protein before working out is just as effective as afterwards. In this scenario, muscles are replenished as soon as the breakdown process kicks in and the rebuilding process begins afresh with a consequent increase in strength.

One issue about drinking your shake shortly before training is that the workout occurs contains the stomach is full. This might not suit some people and particularly those who are high-intensity aerobic training. In the end, it comes down to personal choice.

Drinking a Shake during Training

This isn’t a strategy used by bodybuilders, but some endurance athletes will take sips out of a shake made with whey that contains carbohydrate to maintain energy levels during training and to keep the muscles enriched.

Working out at the gym

A Shake after Training

After training protein synthesis and breakdown are high, and the only way to restore the nitrogen balance of the body and begin the rebuilding process is by taking in protein. Research has shown that the body is better at absorbing protein following a heavy workout than at any other time.

If training takes places first thing on a morning on an empty stomachnumber you will be burning energy stores, and this may be particularly effective for those on a low carbohydrate diet who are trying to reach or maintain ketosis.

Working out at the gym

The Anabolic Window

The anabolic window is the time during which the body is able to make the most effective use of protein following training. It used to be thought that to get the best result from a protein shake it should be taken no longer than 50-60 minutes after a work.

However, no detriment in effect has been shown in those that have taken protein up to two hours after training and the anabolic window, although diminishing in efficacy, lasts for up to 48 hours. This is why it is important to keep protein intake high, both from whey shakes and natural sources.

Taking a Protein Shake before Bed

Taking a whey protein shake before sleeping will help compensate for the catabolic breakdown of muscles during the night. However, rather than having something that is absorbed quickly, a slow release protein source is more beneficial. Because casein is ingested slowly over 7-8 hours is the reason it is the favoured bedtime protein drink of strength athletes.


Casein, like whey, is a derivative of the cheese making process and a major component of cheese. It is rich in amino acids and users need to note carbohydrate content. Casein also supplies useful doses of calcium and phosphorus.

Protein Shakes as an Aid to Fat Loss

Protein is an essential nutrient when it comes to encouraging the body to shed its fat stores. A high protein diet raises metabolism and reduces the appetite. This is due to a reduction in the release of the hunger hormone, ghrelin and an increase in appetite reducing hormones such as peptide-1 and digestive aids produced by the digestive system such as cholecystokinin.

Taking a protein shake between meals is a great way to both make sure that you get sufficient protein in your diet without having to eat lots of meat or other good sources of protein and to try and cut the amount of calories you consume at each meal.

A study has demonstrated that people who took a protein drink made with yoghurt in the afternoon when compared to another group who snacked on other foodstuffs such as crackers or chocolate (with the same calorific value as the protein and yoghurt drink) consumed on average 100 fewer calories at dinner.

What is Whey Protein?

Whey is a by-product of the cheese making industry and is what is left once water and casein have been removed. It is an animal source of protein, rich in essential amino acids (essential because unlike nonessential amino acids, the body cannot produce them). Amino acids are what help the body rebuild and repair and when taken properly and supported by the right type of training, are the means whereby bodybuilders are able to develop their muscular, ripped physiques.

Vegetable Protein Shakes

There are other types of protein shakes made of vegetable matter, such as pea, rice, hemp. While these can contain substances beneficial for the body, such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats or fibre, their amino acid profile is incomplete as they include primarily nonessential amino acids.

Buying Whey Protein

Google whey protein and you will be surprised not just by how many brands there are out there but also the difference in price. You should choose a product that has 7-10 natural ingredients. If something looks like it’s full of artificial additives, it probably is so leave it alone. luckily for you we have previously reviewed the best optimum whey protein powders.

Don’t Get Duped by the Publicity

Celebrity endorsements and cartons with pictures of famous sporting faces are more likely to make a product more expensive than more effective. Also, don’t take too much notice of claims that the product contains a magical ingredient that will stimulate muscle growth beyond your wildest dreams. Yes, it may contain the ingredient, but not a quantity that will make a difference. And in any case, there are no magic potions.

Whey Concentrate

Although concentrate is the cheapest form of whey it is still a good source protein, and the body can absorb it at a moderate pace. This type of whey is likely to contain small amounts of lactose and carbohydrate.

Whey Isolate

Isolate is high-grade whey that the body can absorb rapidly. It is also likely to be lactose free and contain no carbohydrate, fat or cholesterol.

Why take Whey Protein?

People take whey as a shake mixed with water, milk, juice or yoghurt. Most commonly it is used by bodybuilders and other strength athletes to repair muscles after strenuous workouts and to help muscles grow. Muscles will only get bigger if the body consumes more protein than it breaks down in training. Endurance athletes also consume whey. Among the ordinary public whey is used as a part of a weight-loss strategy and to maintain muscle mass.

Protecting Against Muscular Degeneration

Once a person reaches age 30, muscle mass begins to decline by about 3% each year. Supplementing the diet with enough good quality protein is a great way to guard against this.

The Benefits of Whey Protein

  • Convenience – you don’t have to eat lots of protein rich solid food many times a day.
  • Whey contains on average between 63g-66g of essential amino acids per 100g of product;
  • Whey is absorbed quickly, and the absorption rate can be as high as 92% of the protein contained in the powder;
  • Because it is in a refined state, whey is better absorbed than solid food which first undergoes the digestive process; and
  • You can replenish your amino acids just when you need them.

How Much Protein

0.8grams per kilogram of bodyweight (or 0.36 grams per pound of body weight) is the recommendation for ordinary people, somewhere in the range 46g-56g of protein a day.

For bodybuilders and other athletes who are continually training their muscles and causing them to break down, the recommendations are higher, 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight or 2.2 grams per kilogram at least and for competitive athletes as much as 1.5g-1.7g

Protein Absorption

Modern nutritional science has challenged the notion that the body can only absorb so much protein in any given time window. It’s a complex area but it does look like the old pre-Schwarzenegger bodybuilders with their milk, steak and egg diets might have been on to something.

Nevertheless, the evidence suggests doses of 25g-35g taken at intervals throughout the day to either replace meals or supplement other sources of protein in the diet is the best way to deploy this supplement.