The main benefit of protein shakes is their convenience. If you are trying to build lean muscle you should be trying to get as much protein in your diet as possible. However, it’s not always feasible to chow down on a chicken breast wherever you go. Protein shakes and drinks can be taken anytime anywhere. One thing is certain - you should be having some form of protein for every meal - whether it is from food or a supplement.
How much protein should I be having per day?
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to your protein shake intake. There are things you need to take into consideration - such as your body mass and your goals. Just remember - with great protein comes great responsibility! Too much protein and too little fibre can wreak havoc on your digestion. To avoid the bloat while still maximising your results, this is what we recommend.
Work out your protein needs
As we said, this depends on your current body composition and your goals. Head to this protein calculator to work out your protein needs easily. It let’s you put in your sex, height, weight, activity levels and goals to figure out how much protein you should be having per day.
Work out your current protein intake
Log your meals for a week or two. This means writing down everything you eat - big or small. Using an app like myfitnesspal will make life easy when it comes to figuring out your macros. All you have to do is log what you have eaten and it will tell you how much protein you have had. You’ll find most foods in the database already. Average your protein intake over a week to estimate how much protein you are getting in the average day.
Make up the difference
Now that you know how much protein you need and how much you are currently having, you can start to incorporate protein supplements into your diet. How often you have protein powder will depend on how much extra protein you are aiming for in a day. For example, if you need an extra 20g, then you can get away with adding one shake per day. If your needs are higher than that then you should be having protein powder more often.
How much protein powder should I use?
There is such a thing as too much of a good thing - or at least too much at a time. The general consensus is that to get the most out of your protein shake you should aim for 20 - 25g per serve. Any more protein than that will be going to your waistline, instead of being used for muscle synthesis. So, if you want to get the most bang for your buck in the protein department, we recommend spacing out your protein intake throughout the day.
One word of warning from the team here at Elite Supps - avoid taking protein 60 minutes before hitting the gym - you don’t want an upset tummy during your workout. We learned this lesson the hard way.
When should I drink protein powder?
How often you should have protein powder may not be as important as WHEN you have it. Fast absorbing proteins like whey should be consumed after working out - when your body desperately needs them. By drinking something fast absorbing the protein will be available to your muscles when it is needed
However, there are some slower absorbing proteins too, such as casein. Casein takes up to 6 hours to be digested and used by the body. This makes it ideal to be consumed at night before bed. It ensures that your muscles have a drip-feed of nutrition and don’t break down while your body is recovering. It also really helps if you tend to get snacky at night time. Studies have shown that athletes that took both whey and casein protein built significantly more lean muscle over a 10 week period.
So to summarise, the best time to take a whey protein shake is directly after a workout, and the best time to take casein protein is before bed. Vegans and other miscellaneous herbivores - the fastest absorbing plant-based protein is pea protein.
When is the best time to drink a protein shake?
The benefit of a protein powder is that they are digested quickly, and therefore those sweet, sweet nutrients are available to your body quicker. Therefore the best time to drink a protein shake is straight after a workout. This will allow your muscles to receive the nutrition they need to grow big and strong. However, research has suggested that the window of protein synthesis is a little bigger than first thought. This is good news if the idea of chugging a protein shake straight after your workout sends shivers down your spine. As long as you consume your protein within an hour or two of your workout - you’re good.
Protein shakes are also a great benefit to people who are trying to lose weight. If you tend to get hungry between meals - a scoop of protein in water will help keep you full while only containing 100 calories. A protein shake between meals is a much better option than a chocolate bar or overeating when lunch or dinner finally does roll around.
When do you take protein powder?
A study from the University of Montreal found that 3 in 4 professional athletes were missing out on the benefits of protein shakes because they didn’t know how to take them properly. That means that taking the right protein at the right time is just as important as deciding to take it in the first place.
As with most things to do with health and wellness, the best method is the one that works best for you. However, if you follow our advice about when to take your protein powder, you can make sure you maximise your results and never let a workout go to waste. While you are here, check out our range of protein powders. You are bound to find something you will love taking every day.
Montreal study - https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100119121420.htm
Casein and whey works better - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16937979/
Gainful - https://www.gainful.com/blog/fast-absorbing-proteins-vs-slow-proteins/