Protein Power Series Pt 1: When to Drink Your Protein Shake

Protein supplementation isn't just for the young and super active. Nor is it just for aspiring body builders.  Protein supplementation assists in the development of lean muscle and there is even evidence that that it is linked to improved immune function, blood pressure management, blood sugar balance, stress management and even weight loss through a curbed appetite.  But when are the optimal times to drink your protein shakes?  Read below to find out more.

When You Wake Up

This is a great time to drink protein if your goal is weight loss.  You've just completed a 7-10 hour fast and your body has been harvesting amino acids, a key protein component your body needs to run smoothly, from your muscles.  To stop this depletion, you need to provide your body with an alternate source and a protein shake is a great way to do that.  Furthermore, early morning protein will help regulate your blood sugar and curb cravings throughout the day.

Pre-workout

This is a great time if your goal is to build lean muscle.  Drinking a shake about a half hour prior to workout ensures that you have an ample amount of amino acids circulating through the bloodstream, readily available to be plucked up by muscles to be used as fuel.  Your branch chain amino acids (BCAAs), especially leucine, are known to be particularly good fuel sources, helping you work out harder for longer.  It also helps in the recovery process, which is really where you see gains.  The recovery process begins immediately when you have a pause in your training, even if you're not finished working out.

Post-workout

This is a good time if your goal is to build muscle.  This is prime time.  Your muscles are sufficiently broken down and they are looking to be rebuilt.  You want your muscles bathed in a healthy mix of circulating amino acids to improve protein synthesis and encourage muscle repair and growth.  It's usually during this conversation that people talk about having fast digesting proteins like whey versus slow digesting ones like casein. I've looked at the research (so you don't have to) and the real answer is it all depends.. on the person and their physiology and their eating habits (are you going to be protein starved like at night or will you be eating through the day like a morning workout.)  Ultimately, it probably doesn't matter.  Fast digesting versus slow, as long as you are getting it, and still balancing the remainder of your diet it will not likely be the difference between you seeing the results that you want.

Between Meals

Protein boosts hormones that will will help you feel fuller than a lot of other ingredients.  As such, protein shakes can be good for snacks between meals if you're trying to lose weight and make sure you hit your protein target. 

Before Bed

I recommend this the least, because personally it affects my sleep and I think sleep is paramount. There are some nutritionists that say its good to drink protein before bed so that your muscles have fuel for your 7-10 hour fast, but in my experience you don't lose anything by omitting protein before bed and you may actually gain in quality of sleep.  Remember, sleep is when your body produces testosterone and other hormones that promote muscle repair and growth.  There are also a ton of other benefits to sleep that are detailed here.  

Well that's it.  If you've made it this far in the post, I appreciate your dedication to reading.  I hope I've shed some light on the latest research on protein.  If you have any questions please feel free to email us info@thetvnway.com.  And if you're looking to lose weight and lean out, make sure you check out our TVN Beginner's Blueprint at the button below.