Protein contributes to the building and maintaining muscles and helps with recovery after intense exercise. This is why it's common practice for many people to drink a protein shake immediately after their work-out

But is this the right time to have a protein shake? How important is protein timing really and do we need to have protein immediately after training?

Protein timing

Many people believe that it's necessary to drink a protein shake immediately after training to help with their recovery.

However, when it comes to protein synthesis (the build-up of protein in the body), research shows that your body first makes use of the protein (the amino acids) that you have eaten prior to your workout.

So it doesn't really matter whether you consume protein before or after your training session. Protein synthesis remains the same if your total protein intake during the day is sufficient.

Approximately 20 to 40 grams of protein per meal is enough to initiate the anabolic response of protein and prevent further breaking down of muscle tissue.

You can easily achieve this by drinking a high-quality protein shake or just by eating a protein-rich meal after your workout.

Should you drink a protein shake before or after a workout?

It is recommended to eat enough protein surrounding your training sessions as this has a beneficial effect on muscle repair and muscle growth.

If you have not eaten enough protein before your workout or you train early in the morning, then it is best to drink a protein shake 30 to 60 minutes before training.

Also, if you are unable to eat a protein-rich meal within a few hours after your training, then it's definitely a good idea to have a protein shake post workout to prevent further breakdown of muscles and speed up your recovery.

How much protein do you need?

The amount of protein that your body needs varies from person to person and depends on your specific goal and many other factors such as: gender, age, height,  lean body mass, hormone balance, activity level, etc.

An average person needs between 0.8 and 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. If you want to build muscle or if you want to lose weight, then a higher intake of 1.6 grams to 2.2 grams of protein per kg is a better guideline.

Conclusion

It is important to eat enough protein to optimize your results from (strength) training. This is why many people often drink a protein shake after their workouts.

Recent studies have shown that protein timing doesn't matter very much and it is far more important to look at your total daily protein intake.

The most practical advice is to eat 3-4 meals a day and have 20-40 grams of protein at each meal. This often works best for most people.

If you eat enough protein around your training, then it makes no sense to add an extra protein shake to your diet.

But if you have not eaten anything for hours, then a natural protein shake is certainly an affordable and easy way to get your protein in and maximize your results!

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