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Should You Take A Protein Shake Before Or After The Gym?

Protein is an essential part of any fitness enthusiast’s diet and is vital for several reasons: it helps to increase muscle size, improve recovery time after workouts and allows the body to generate more energy during exercise. 

Although it’s easy to get your fix from plentiful food sources like meat, eggs, beans and dairy products, pre and post-workout shakes provide an excellent way to replenish the body with vital protein quickly.

The question many fitness fans have when beginning their fitness journey is exactly when is the best time to take these bodybuilding supplements – before or after a workout? This will depend mainly on your individual goals – everyone’s needs differ, so we’ll explore what could work best for you in this article.

Why Is Protein Essential For Muscle Building?

Protein is essential for muscle growth, repair, and overall health. When we eat food containing protein, our body breaks down the proteins into amino acids. Amino acids are essential components of any cell, tissue, organ or system in the human body. They provide crucial building blocks for muscle, making it possible to gain mass over time. 

Eating a balanced diet with plenty of quality protein sources will ensure you have all the amino acids required to create lean muscle mass and strength. Consuming protein after a workout will also help your muscles to repair. 

The amount of protein you take per day should reflect your individual goals. If you want to add muscle mass, make sure your daily intake contains at least 1 gram per pound of body weight. This will help promote optimal anabolic results instead of solely using carbohydrates or fats for energy.

Should I Have a Protein Shake Before or After a Workout?

We hear you: knowing when to drink protein shakes for muscle building can be challenging. 

Recent research has shown that the timing of protein intake can have different beneficial effects, depending on your goal.

So when is the best time to drink a protein shake?

Pre-workout Protein Intake

Pre-workout nutrition in the form of protein is essential in helping the body to recover and grow muscle. It can also help with fat loss while maintaining existing muscle mass. 

20-30mg of protein should be present in the bloodstream a few hours before resistance exercise to start the muscle protein synthesis (MPS) reaction, which prompts the growth and repair of muscle fibres. So, you can have a protein shake before a workout to meet this critical time window. 

Post-workout Protein Intake

A post-workout protein shake can be a great way to help your body recover and aid muscle soreness after training. Protein shakes deliver excellent bioavailability, allowing your body to use them more efficiently than solid food. 

Protein consumption after a workout should range from 10 to 20 grams, depending on your weight. Adjust your carbohydrate-to-protein ratio based on the type of exercise you did, too, to ensure optimal post-workout nutrition.

Using a post-workout protein shake means that you don’t have to worry about bringing in containers of food to the gym or being able to make it home for a proper meal. If you bring enough water or milk with your shake, you’ll also replenish lost fluids. 

What is the Anabolic Window?

The “anabolic window” is a term that represents that after a workout, there is typically a 30-60 minute window of time in which protein should be consumed for maximum muscle growth. This period promotes optimal muscle building, allowing the body to use protein intake best. 

Many athletes and gym-goers use this window to optimise muscle recovery and make progress with their fitness goals; however, research has yet to definitively show how effective it can be compared to other methods. 

The Benefits of Protein Shakes For Muscle Building

man drinking protein shake

Muscle Gain

Protein shakes can help us to achieve a positive protein balance by providing essential amino acids that stimulate muscle protein synthesis (MPS). When the body has an adequate supply of amino acids, MPS is accelerated, meaning muscles have a greater capacity to recover and grow in response to physical activity. 

In a rested state, muscle protein breakdown mustn’t overwhelm muscle protein synthesis, causing muscle hypertrophy. This will result in a negative protein balance, reduced strength, and decreased muscle mass. Protein shakes are a convenient way for athletes and bodybuilders to ensure their bodies reach the necessary level of protein synthesis to maximise gains from physical activity.

Boosts Metabolism

Protein is one of the most beneficial nutrients for increasing our metabolic rate. It requires higher energy levels to break down than carbohydrates or fat, resulting in a higher rate of diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT). This process can increase caloric expenditure by as much as 15-30%, while the thermic effects of carbs and fat are relatively small, between 5-10% and 0-3%, respectively. 

Eating high-protein foods can be an excellent way to support your metabolism and ultimately assist you with weight loss efforts. 

Support Fat Loss

When it comes to losing weight, protein can be an invaluable tool. The most important part of weight loss is reducing calorie intake, but more protein can help you maintain muscle mass. 

A diet high in protein reduces hunger hormones and boosts several satiety hormones. For this reason, protein helps you lose weight by reducing your hunger. By doing so, you can automatically consume fewer calories.

Protein Shake FAQs

man preparing protein shake

Can protein shakes replace meals?

Protein shakes can help you gain muscle after workouts and boost your energy before exercising. However, they are not to be used as a complete meal replacement. 

Protein shakes are not nutritionally balanced and usually contain little to no carbohydrates or fats. The lack of dietary fibre and health-promoting phytonutrients such as flavonoids prevent them from adequately replacing a nutritious meal.

Can too much protein be harmful?

When consuming excessive amounts of protein, our bodies have difficulty digesting it all, which can lead to abdominal cramps and indigestion. Furthermore, specific organs, such as the liver and kidneys, may be overworked, resulting in long-term health complications such as kidney stones or abnormal lipid profiles. 

Therefore, paying attention to your protein digestion is essential to avoid adverse side effects.

Can vegetarians and vegans take protein shakes?

Yes, vegan and plant-based eaters do have the option of adding protein powder to their diets. 

Various vegan protein powder options are nutritious and delicious in flavour. 

The range of available vegan proteins is vast and includes options such as pea, rice, hemp, soy, alfalfa, chia seeds and even pumpkin seed protein powders – making smoothies more fulfilling while boosting nutrition content. 

Should you take a protein shake on rest days?

Rest days are an essential part of any fitness regimen, and you should drink protein shakes on non-workout days to help to maximise recovery and fuel growth. 

As we’ve touched on, protein shakes are particularly rich in branched-chain amino acids (BCAA’s), essential for building muscle, repairing tissue, and maintaining healthy muscles during rest.

When consumed on rest days, protein shakes help prevent muscle breakdown, maintain lean muscle tissue, and improve muscle strength. 

How UK SARMS Can Help You Build Muscle Effectively

SARMs (Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators) are among the best supplements to boost muscle mass. They have taken the world of bodybuilding by storm, not least because they are so much safer to consume than steroids.

When it comes to bulking up, SARMs offer many advantages over traditional methods. For starters, SARMs can help accelerate muscle growth significantly with little side effects. 

Additionally, they provide much more significant strength gains than most other compounds on the market.

 While the effects vary depending on the specific compound, the overall benefits are:

  • Increased lean muscle growth
  • Superior exercise performance
  • Decreased recovery time
  • Increasing bone density
  • Increasing the rate at which the body burns fat

Studies have repeatedly shown that when taking SARMs, people experience increased running performance, enhanced recovery times post-workout, higher bone density, and an increased fat-burning rate.

Taking SARMs has also improved cardiovascular health and reduced inflammation. People who take SARMs often report feeling more energised throughout their workouts and daily activities. 

You can use a SARMs muscle stack for bulking, which will involve using two or more compounds together for an even more significant strength boost. The RAD-140 and MK-677 stack is an excellent choice for those looking to increase their muscle mass and improve their overall body composition. 

We put all our SARMs through rigorous Certificate of Analysis (COA) testing to ensure quality assurance. Feel free to browse our FAQ section or contact us with any questions. We’ll do our best to help.