WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO TAKE PROTEIN?
Should I drink protein before or after a workout has become one of the most confusing questions surrounding exercise and supplements.
Some people believe that protein shakes should be strictly saved for post workouts, while others believe that protein shakes can be taken sporadically throughout the day.
The short, but also complicated answer is...it depends on your lifestyle, activity levels, and goals.
We’ll dive into the importance of protein, nutrient timing, and how you can reach your goals with adequate protein consumption.
HOW TO CHOOSE PROTEIN POWDER...
There are different factors to consider when choosing a protein powder. Factors such as type of protein, protein-based on goals, and ingredients that go into flavoring (natural vs. artificial).
Before choosing a protein powder, take a look at the ingredient list and make sure that the source of protein powder matches your lifestyle by taking into consideration food allergies, animal vs plant-based ingredients, and the purpose of the protein supplement (recovery, lean protein, low carb, etc.).
TYPES OF PROTEIN:
- Animal Based
- Dairy Based
- Seed Based
- Plant Based
- Egg Protein
- Build Lean Muscle
- Weight Loss
- Natural vs. Artificial
- Look for protein formulas that don't use artificial sweeteners.
HOW MUCH PROTEIN DO YOU NEED...
Everybody is different; thus, “every body” needs a set amount of calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrates to function best. This shouldn’t come as a big surprise though since common sense should tell you that a 220lb powerlifter needs to eat a diet different than that of a 150lb cross-country runner.
There is a popular rule of thumb that you should strive to eat about as many grams of protein as your weight in kilograms. However, did you know that RDA only captures the minimum requirements necessary to prevent muscle atrophy?
The recommended dietary reference intake (RDI) for protein is 0.36 grams of protein per pound (0.8 grams/kg) of body weight, this is a minimal if not a modest amount for most sedentary individuals.
Sedentary males need 56 grams per day. Sedentary females need 46 grams per day.
These recommendations will increase depending on your lifestyle. For the average adult who lives a mainly healthy lifestyle and gets in some exercise here and there, their protein intake will increase.
Average males need 56-91 grams per day. Average females need 46-75 grams per day.
Lastly, we look at the protein needs of athletes. Athletes need a higher protein intake to help rebuild and repair muscles and connective tissues that were broken down during exercise. According to the American College of Sports Medicine the amount of protein that athletes need compared to normal individuals are two to three times higher - resulting in 1.4-2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
This means that while an 85kg male can function fine on 83-85g of protein, this individual is only meeting the bare minimum protein requirement.
Not only that, there are multiple factors at play here, and you should consider them when deciding how much protein is optimal for your lifestyle.
- Age: younger individuals may require less daily protein than older individuals.
- Health conditions: acute and chronic illnesses affect how much protein you should be eating.
- Physical activity level: related to what we have already discussed, a more active person exerting more energy per day requires more protein.
Taking protein at a time that fits your lifestyle includes considering your age, any existing health conditions, and how active you are in your day to day life. Dietary protein, luckily, is easy to incorporate into your diet without too much effort.
THE BEST SOURCES OF PROTEIN:
Extracted from whole foods using heat and enzymes, concentrates typically contain 60-80% protein and 20-40% carbohydrates and fats.
Also extracted from whole foods, isolates go through additional filtering to remove more fats and carbs. Isolate powders contain 90-95% protein.
A “predigested” form of protein, hydrolysates have undergone a process of hydrolysis, which uses heat to break down the amino acids allowing your body to absorb them quicker.
WHEN TO TAKE PROTEIN
Now, it’s time to dive into protein timing!
When it comes to timing your protein intake, you’ll have to factor in your health and fitness goals. Whether you’re supplementing with protein to lose weight, build muscle, or support your recovery, timing will improve your chances of hitting those goals.
PROTEIN FOR WEIGHT LOSS
Consumption of lean protein is crucial to fat loss.
One of the most important aspects of fat loss that’s commonly overlooked, diets high in lean protein have been shown to improve energy metabolism, decrease appetite, increase fat loss, and preserve lean body mass during weight loss.
The key to protein timing with a weight loss goal in mind, is to consume your protein in snack sizes to prevent overeating and unnecessary calories.
Protein shakes can be used as a healthy snack or as a meal replacement, anytime of the day.
Increase your consumption of protein by adding BUILD to your daily diet. The ideal high protein, low carb formula, BUILD can help you reach your goals.
How to use BUILD for weight loss:
- Use BUILD as a Meal Replacement.
- High Protein Snack: Divide your shake into two servings to keep you full longer.
- Add BUILD to your coffee, smoothies, and shakes to increase your daily intake of lean protein.
PROTEIN FOR BUILDING LEAN MUSCLE MASS
Protein timing for building muscle mass has been a controversial topic for some time now.
The ideal time to consume nutrients after a workout, known as the “anabolic window”, has been ingrained in our minds as 30 minutes post workout, however a recent review sheds new light on the anabolic window and the importance of total protein intake.
The International Society of Sports Nutrition reviewed 23 previous studies on nutrient timing and found that the anabolic window for supplementing with protein can last as long as 4-6 hours after a workout.
The review also found that total protein intake may be more important than timing when trying to build lean muscle mass.
In order to build lean muscle mass, increase your protein intake and supplement consistently! Remember, that you have up to 6 hours after your workout to take in protein and restore your muscle glycogen levels.
PROTEIN FOR RECOVERY
Protein and carbs are necessary for recovery after strenuous training sessions.
Combining protein and carbs shortens recovery time by restoring lost glycogen from intense exercise.
In a study on endurance athletes, it was shown that adequate carbohydrate and protein intake after exercise promoted optimal performance, by offsetting muscle damage and promoting muscle recovery.
Aside from consistent protein intake, if your goal is recovery, make sure to supplement with a POST workout immediately after your training session.
Your post workout protein should have a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein to ensure maximum recovery.
PROTEIN CALCULATORUse the protein calculator to below to calculate your daily protein needs.
ATH PROTEIN POWDERS
ATH protein powders use simple, natural ingredients and are third party tested for contaminants. Whether you’re looking for protein powder to build lean muscle mass, improve recovery, follow a plant based lifestyle, or simply increase your protein intake...we’ve got you covered.
Protein powder is derived from a variety of sources and can be used to increase muscle mass, improve overall body composition, and increase protein intake.
BUILDOur BUILD protein is packed with high-quality Non-GMO whey coming from grass-fed protein. A combination of both whey isolate and concentrate, BUILD fuels muscle growth, shortens recovery time, and increases lean muscle mass.
Sourced from 100% Non-GMO, grass-fed dairy cows, with zero added rBGH and rBST hormones, BUILD is processed through cold manufacturing that produces whey full of non-denatured proteins.
With a nutritionally dense profile, BUILD is the ideal high protein, low carbohydrate, post-workout shake. Due to BUILD’s low carbohydrate count, it can also be used as a guilt-free high protein snack throughout the day.
- Cinnamon Cereal
POSTOptimize your workouts with our POST Non-GMO protein and carbohydrate blend. Designed to shorten recovery time after intense training sessions, POST was developed to help you recover and come back stronger!
After an intense workout, your body needs carbohydrates to drive nutrients to your muscles in order to restore muscle glycogen levels, especially if you are pushing the limits and working out more than once a day.
POST is packed with 58g of carbohydrates and 20g of our cold processed grass-fed protein. Designed with the widely studied 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein, POST has a well-balanced serving of electrolytes, antioxidants, vitamins, and amino acids to rebuild and refuel your muscles.
- Birthday Cake
Our Plant Protein uses Organic Rice Protein and Organic Pea Protein to give you 16g of protein in every serving with a touch of stevia for the perfect amount of sweetness.
On top of that, we added in four of the best superfoods around - Organic Goji Berry, Organic Camu Camu, Organic Maca, and Maqui Berry Powder to give you a balanced nutritional profile.
Unflavored and tasteless, ATH Collagen can be added to your favorite necessities without altering their flavor or texture. A perfect addition to your morning coffee, smoothies, juices, baked goods, and the list goes on and on.
Collagen Powder Benefits:
- Supports Joint Functions
- Promotes Gut Health
- Improves Skin Health
- Prevents Bone Loss
- Improves Muscle Mass
The key takeaway to this article is the importance of your overall protein intake.
No matter what your goal may be, be sure to take in a consistent amount of lean protein.
If you're looking to lose weight, spread out your protein consumption to keep you fuller, longer.
If you're looking to build lean muscle mass, increase your protein intake throughout the day, consistently supplement, and remember to use protein as a post workout shake up to 6 hours after exercise.
If you're in need of recovery, take your protein, with carbs, immediately after strenuous training.
Remember, protein is king.