When Is The Best Time To Drink A Protein Shake? Hello everyone, I hope you are well. In today’s post, I will share a guest post from Aria Beheshtaein, founder of B’liev. Aria will share advice on the best time to drink a protein shake to get the most significant benefit. Protein shakes can be used effectively as part of a healthy diet. But when is the best time to drink one? Morning? Evening? Before or after your workout?
When Is The Best Time To Drink A Protein Shake?
Ah, the healthy balanced diet… the holy grail for so many who want the best diet possible for well-being. Probably combined with increased water intake, a sensible exercise routine and robust mental health. Most of us have a good idea of what we need to include in our diet for optimal health. We mainly strive to achieve that – even those of us who like a naughty treat too – but that does not mean it is always easy to achieve!
During the Covid lockdowns, we all had much more time on our hands and, with heightened consciousness about the importance of being healthy. Many of us used that time to work on a balanced diet and as much exercise as restrictions allowed at any given time. Although working from home and hybrid working is still available to some, many of us are back to old working patterns, and life has returned to being busier in every other way. We are going back to the hobbies and pastimes we enjoyed before. Socialising again in the evenings and at weekends, planning and going on holidays and other breaks. And, of course, that means we are short on time again, making it harder to get our nutrient levels right.
Many of us will return to old—or develop new—health hacks:
- Smoothies to up fruit and vegetable intake
- Omega three supplements when you cannot fit in two portions of oily fish a week, or, of course, if you choose not to eat fish.
And if you are someone who worries about getting enough protein in your diet. Perhaps someone who does a high level of exercise and is vegetarian and vegan. A protein shake is a quick and easy way to boost your grades and is an ever more popular choice of drink. But when should you drink it? Morning or evening? Before or after a workout? Let’s take a look.
Brief History Of Protein Shakes
Protein supplementation is still widely regarded as applicable to athletes, sportsmen, and women generally. It may not surprise you that in Ancient Greece, Spartan warriors were reportedly given huge meals to boost their strength and size. At the same time, legendary wrestler Milo of Croton consumed 9kg of meat, 9kg of bread, and a whopping 10 litres of wine a day!
However, protein supplementation as we know it today started in the 1950s, when competitive bodybuilders started using egg protein to build muscle. At that point, it was very niche, but things picked up in the 60s as more research was conducted. Meaning an increase in quantity and quality regarding protein supplementation.
During the 70s, protein used within the bodybuilding industry continued to grow steadily. By the late 80s / early 90s, protein was becoming mainstream, and more and more protein powder supplements were available.
Fast forward to today, and protein is no longer seen as the preserve of hardcore muscle men but is used by all sorts of athletes and non-athletes who have seen its benefits for weight loss and muscle health. Not only that, but you also no longer have to make drinks from powder painstakingly. You can buy ready-to-eat bars, and ready-to-drink shakes, including vegan options, which is increasingly important as more people make the switch to a plant-based lifestyle.
How Much Protein Do You Need?
It is recommended that women consume around 45g of protein per day and men 55g, but it does depend on other factors. Indeed, you use an online calculator to calculate your protein needs. It will ask for gender, age, weight, height and activity level. Men generally need more protein than women. Athletes are also recommended to have a higher intake, as are people aged 40 to 50 plus, as that is the age at which muscle mass begins to decrease.
When Should You Consume Protein?
Protein is used for many critical bodily functions (hormone regulation, blood sugar stability, energy creation and maintenance). Still, people tend to consider its inclusion in our diet in terms of optimal muscle mass. Whether for athletic performance and muscle building/repair or for older people worried about muscle loss. So, speaking in those terms, the body uses nutrients from your food to stimulate muscle growth for around four to five hours after eating. This means that, ideally, you should consume protein every four hours or so. This does not mean waking halfway through the night. But ideally, a little protein should be included at breakfast and lunch, in your evening meal and form part of an afternoon snack or supper before bed.
I believe the most critical time to consume protein is in the morning. You have gone without protein all night, so you must top your levels up before starting your day.
If you are a regular gym-goer, you may have heard the term “anabolic window” and “anabolic window of opportunity”. Simply put, the principle is that you break down muscle tissue during a workout, and there is a 30 to 60-minute window in which you should consume protein to achieve optimal muscle tissue repair and growth. Having been a popular theory for some time, various studies have been carried out, and while it seems logical, the scientific evidence is not conclusive. I would suggest you consume protein post-workout, but it does not need to be within a specific timescale. Indeed, the four times daily intake should ensure you consume enough protein to rebuild and repair the muscle tissue used during exercise.
How To Get Your Protein Intake – When Do You Need A Protein Shake?
So, we have established you should aim to intake protein around four times per day. Evenly spaced throughout the day, and that protein with breakfast is essential. For non-vegans, small portions of meat, eggs or specific dairy produce with each meal and at snack times, will suffice. For vegetarians and vegans, it is not as hard as you might think to get vegan proteins – eat foods such as pulses, legumes, grains, seeds and vegetables.
And, yes, protein shakes have their place. I would not recommend relying on them too heavily, and they should certainly not be used as a meal replacement. Still, nevertheless, they remain instrumental, particularly for people who are busy and very active. Some people may have time to include beans at breakfast, some nuts with lunch, and hummus in the afternoon. Life is hectic for many of us. Protein intake is not always first on your mind as you dash out the door in the morning. Grab lunch at your desk, or whiz to the gym before heading home for dinner. Perhaps you are so exhausted at the end of the day that you are more likely to doze off on the sofa in front of the TV than jump up and fix yourself a nut butter snack.
Of course, it is even more challenging to get proteins into your diet if you are vegan. While vegan proteins are perfectly abundant, they aren’t always to hand. So this is where a high-quality, ready-made vegan protein shake can serve its purpose. Are you running late for work and have no time to prepare breakfast with a protein element? Remember to prep a salad for lunch but not so hot on the protein this mealtime. A shake can be drunk to boost those levels quickly. Or in the evening, before bed, why not sup on a protein shake to top up? And, even if having a protein shake after the gym is more of a ‘trendy’ thing to do than a necessity. What harm can there be to topping up your protein as you hydrate post-workout? Especially if you’re on your way home and fancy an easy pasta dinner?
Protein shakes have their place in a varied and healthy diet and lifestyle. If you have tried shakes in the past and found the taste to be a bit predictable, some great new flavours are available from companies like B’liev. Look out for chocolate brownies, blueberry muffins, cookies & cream and always seek shakes without added processed sugar or artificial flavours.
I hope you enjoyed that.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aria Beheshtaein is the founder of B’liev, a new plant-based protein shake available in three unusual but utterly delicious flavours: Blueberry Muffin, Cookies & Cream and Chocolate Brownie. Packed with protein and fibre and fortified with vitamins and minerals, B’liev delivers much more than hydration and great taste and encourages us all to believe that anything is possible. We have to believe in ourselves.
online protein calculator https://www.calculator.net/protein-calculator.html
Very useful information on a protein shake. Thanks for sharing
I agree that protein shakes can be really dangerous if you have added stuff that you don’t really want. Sugar and lots of processed stuff can be so harmful.
Didn’t know there are so many things to consider about having your protein shake for the day. Thanks a lot for your insights and I am looking forward to trying them too. – knycx journeying
Angela Ricardo Bethea
I usually thought people drink protein shakes for extra help bulking up and didn’t know about this other info till now. Thanks for sharing this informative post with us.
I don’t drink much of the protien shake but my uncle does when before going to the gym. I think this will be good information for him.
Smart reason to drink it in the a.m. Probably way more beneficial than my coffee and toast!
I have never taken a protein shake but now I think my body needs it. Thanks for this informative post. Very useful post indeed.
This is a very informative post about protein. I found it very useful as I am trying to increase my protein intake.
Agree! It’s morning for me also. Helps to keep you full and avoid any crazy cravings later on in the day.
Great information, it is always nice to learn more info on health topics like this.
This was a great read. I use protein shakes after a workout or if I’m rushed for time in the morning.
This was a great resource. I’ve never considered the timing of protein shakes. I’ve just drank them when I was on the go.
This article answered all of my questions about protein shakes and when the best time to drink them is. I appreciate all of the information!