Protein shake before or after workout: Best practice

This is a drawing of a girl making a protien shake

Protein shake before or after workout

Best time to drink protein shake

It doesnt matter if you drink your protein shake before or after workout. The reason why you should choose to drink your protein shake before or after your daily exercise is how the protein affects your stomach and digestion. Instead, focus on how much protein you get daily for optimal weight loss and gain.

Here is Protein shake before or after workout: Best practice.

In this blog I am going to share what makes protein a guilt-free macronutrient and some of my favourite protein shake brands and recipes. But before I dive into any of these important topics surrounding protein powder and its value to you I need to answer the big question… When is the best time to drink your protein shake, before or after your workout?

Welcome to this blog focusing on clarifying what protein is and the reasons why protein shakes are so useful. 


Let’s get something out of the way, there is no “window of opportunity” for protein-intake timing for the general population. What matters most is the total amount of protein that you consume.


With that said, let me also say that I’m not here to promote any type of body composition preference or muscle building bias. I am here to applaud you for doing some digging and to encourage you to eat a bit more protein because it is literally going to fuel your physical and mental health. 

Let’s return to the specifics of protein intake because there’s enough conflicting info out there to make anyone’s head spin.

Many people fear that taking protein supplements in combination with a high-protein diet can harm their health. That’s because high protein diets have been erroneously associated with kidney disease. However, here is no evidence to suggest that a high-protein diet causes harm in people with healthy kidneys. 

Now that we know protein isn’t going to hurt us, let’s dive in to all the benefits of this wonder macro called protein!

How much protein do you need and what’s all the fuss about

I don’t want to bog you down here but it helps to know a bit of the numbers so if you ever want to do the quick math you can.

The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) is the approximate daily amount of a nutrient that a person needs. The RDA is a minimum value and doesn’t specify the amount needed to really get a goal moving.

For protein, the RDA is quite low Remember, that’s to avoid becoming protein deficient. 

People who exercise need to double the RDA (0.8 grams per pound) to really support their goal. Just knowing this stuff gives you and edge toward anything you want to change in life.


Let’s return to the initial point about the “window of opportunity” for your protein shake and say again that you don’t need to worry when you get your protein each day. I suggest having something that contains protein with every meal because that way you will feel fuller and get all the mind/body benefits.

The long term goal your trying to achieve with learning on when to take your protein is to get in the best shape possible correct? Make sure you understand all that needs to be put together in your days’ to understand how long does it take to get in shape.

What do protein shakes do 

Protein shakes are a dietary supplement that provide amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and can come from plant as well as animal sources. Supplementing your diet with a protein shake will help complete or enhance your diet if you need an extra boost to meet your dietary protein target. But that’s not all that protein shakes do.


Protein shakes also promote muscle gain, improve performance and recovery, and promote fat loss in the body. Most of us might assume that protein shakes are only for bodybuilders or people who want to pack on serious muscle. But protein shakes may be your best aid for weight loss due to their ability to boost metabolism and increase your feelings of fullness. 

I could go on and on. The benefits are many and they are immediate. If you increase your protein intake today you’ll notice positive effects almost immediately.

How long before a workout should I drink a protein shake

I always love this question because the answer blows people’s minds. You ready? It doesn’t matter! That’s right, have your shake when it feels right for your stomach/digestion. The only study that tested the pre- vs post-workout shake hypothesis found that it might not matter.

That’s a relief because life is busy enough without worrying about some special time to eat protein. For most of us, the total amount of protein consumed is more important than timing protein intake.

How many protein shakes in a day

If you are just getting started with raising your protein to the recommended levels then you could have up to two shakes per day until you get used to getting most of your protein from food sources. 

To be clear, there is no rule about drinking protein shakes and if you need to have a few of them in one day there’s likely won’t be any long-term detrimental effects. If you can reach your protein targets from whole foods alone that would be ideal as the nutrient profile of whole foods bring benefits that support total body health and the vitality of your organism.

Does protein give you energy

Protein does not give you energy. 

Protein is really useful to the body and makes fills our stomach’s up really really well. When we eat protein our body senses a lot of dense food has entered our system and we quickly feel full.
Protein shakes provide essential amino acids that our body uses to build complete proteins for healthy muscles, bones, and other systems and structures in the body.

So, it is likely that when we feel “more energized” what we are actually feeling is less hungry.

5 other ways to get protein

There are many many ways to get protein so I won’t overwhelm you with an exhaustive list but rather share some of my personal and client favourites. 

Edamame

With over 10grams of protein per 100gram serving it packs a yummy protein punch. Edamame is a snack made from immature soybeans still in their pod. Talk about a guilt free treat.

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a fresh cheese curd that almost creamy and soupy at the same time. 1 cup of low fat cottage cheese has 28grams of protein with only 163 calories. I’ve never been able to eat this (maybe a texture thing) but so many people swear it was the number one  reason they started enjoying eating more protein. Save it for a bed-time snack.

seitan

Seitan is a food made from gluten which is the main protein of wheat. With 20grams of protein per 100grams it makes a much more convincing meat substitute than tofu or tempeh. Pre-packaged seitan can be a quick and hearty vegan protein option.


Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is a high fat and high protein yogurt made from straining regular yogurt. There is 10g of protein per 1 cup of greek yogurt. What problem does greek yogurt not solve? Blend it, flavor it, eat it straight up. It’s just the best. 


Canned Fish

Literal convenience in a can. Throw a can of tuna in your bag with a couple slices of bread and your post workout meal is complete. Of course add some seasoning and sensible sauces to give this meal some life. 

  • Canned in water tuna has 20g protein
  • Canned salmon has 22-25g protein

5 best protein powders

Here are some of the most well-known protein powders you can buy. We chose these protein powders for a mixture of their taste and quality of ingredients.

Poliquin Group: Whey Stronger 

The Poliquin Group’s Whey Stronger Grass Fed & Hormone Free whey isolate is made from certified grass fed and free of artificial hormones dairy cows.

Whey protein: A dairy-based protein. Each scoop contains 20.5g of high quality protein. It also contains all the essential amino acids and is quickly absorbed. This protein powder comes in vanilla, chocolate and unflavored.

ATP LAb: Supreme Beef

ATP Lab’s Supreme Beef Protein is made from beef bone broth and hydrolysed grass-fed beef collagen.

Beef Protein: A non-dairy based protein with 24g’s in each scoop. People who are sensitive to whey can benefit from beef protein. This protein powder comes in chocolate and vanilla.

Vega: Sport Protein 

Vega Sport Plant Based Protein is made from a complete plant-based protein blend of pea, alfalfa, pumpkin seed & organic sunflower seed.

Pea protein: A plant-based protein with 30g’s in each scoop. It has low levels of the nonessential amino acids cysteine and methionine. This protein powder comes in chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, berry, mocha.

BioSteel: Plant Based 

Biosteel’s Plant-Based Protein includes brown rice, pea, and pumpkin seed proteins.

Rice protein: A plant-based protein with low levels of the essential amino acid lysine. There are 22g’s per scoop. This protein powder comes in chocolate and vanilla.

Manitoba Harvest: Hemp Yeah 

Manitoba Harvest’s Hemp Yeah! Max Protein is made with organic hemp protein concentrate, natural oregano extract.

Hemp protein: A plant-based protein made from hemp seeds that has high levels of fiber and essential omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Hemp protein is low in the amino acid lysine and 20g protein per scoop. This protein powder comes in unflavored.

5 protein shakes to make

Experimentation is fun and I’ve enjoyed these simple recipes over the years. Put all the ingredients into a blender and set to high. Blend until fully mixed together, then pour into a cup or enjoy straight from the blender.

Kevin’s basic chocolate peanut butter banana shake

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz water 
  • 2 scoops chocolate flavored  beef protein powder
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tbsp of natural almond butter

Coconut Banana Shake

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup coconut water
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 scoop whey protein powder
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup ice

Strawberry Banana Shake

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz water, milk, or yogurt
  • 2 scoops vanilla or strawberry flavored protein powder
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup of frozen strawberries
  • 1 tbsp hulled hemp seeds

Berry Power Shake

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz water
  • 1/2 cup frozen cherries
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 scoop chocolate whey protein
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed

Orange Creamsicle

Ingredients:

  • 12oz water
  • 1.5 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 orange
  • 1 tbsp walnuts
  • 2 tbsp flaxseed 
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 2-4 ice cubes

So, protein shake before or after workout...

The straight answer is that it doesn’t matter.

Make the choice of when to drink your protein on how your stomach and body feels after you consume the protein drink.

What time works best for you, before or after your workout? Let me know in the coments.

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