Some people like to take their whey protein just before a workout, some prefer it after – some take it in the morning, some at night. It seems getting a straight answer on questions related to whey protein are confusing at best. Most people have not really researched and looked at the facts. Lucky for you, you can skip the hours of combing sites, books and forums. We’ve got your answer right here.
Sometimes beginners get left behind. The assumption is that you are a seasoned weight lifter. So, backing up a bit, let’s make sure that when you take your whey protein powder, you are ready. You need to be in a consistent routine before beginning. It will do no good if you are lifting once a week and downing whey protein powder every day. You won’t reap the benefits and may end up gaining unhealthy weight. So first, a consistent, set routine. The second “must do” is to have your diet under control. To reap the benefits of working out you must get your diet in order. Think high protein, no processed foods and lots of water. Toss the Doritos and start eating boiled eggs and chicken (not nuggets). Vegetables, fruits, etc. Your body needs to be fed properly to work properly. Eating too much junk or not enough protein packed foods is sabotage for your workouts and the results won’t be there.
The top four times to ingest your whey protein powder are in the morning, before you work out, after a workout and before bed. Before we dive into these you should understand that taking a daily dose of whey protein should be done in increments. Figure out your total intake for the day and split it into four doses. This keeps it in your system throughout the whole day.
●First dose: It has been recommended that you take your first dose of whey protein powder in the morning. There are a few reasons for this. After hours of sleep, you may wake feeling refreshed but your body is a ravenous animal seeking food. Feed the beast some whey protein powder to kick start your protein power. At this point, it is debated whether or not to mix it with things like coffee or tea or juice. That is a personal preference – whey is hardy and will be okay in just about anything. Some will mix it in yogurt. Whatever way you choose, get it in your body. It has been recommended by countless weight lifters and bodybuilders that after a ½ hour or so, stack on a big healthy protein infused breakfast. Now, with that combination, your body is up and ready for whatever workout you throw its way.
●Second dose: The pre-workout dose. This is probably the most commonly accepted time to take whey protein powder. This infusion of high protein right before your workout increases energy almost immediately. Whey protein powder is absorbed into the body within minutes of consumption. No need to wait – get on those weights. The high protein burst adds greatly to your energy causing improved and longer reps as well as increased strength – maximum weight lifting benefits engaged.
●Third dose: The post workout dose. This is the second most popular time to drink whey protein powder but definitely the most important. Now that you have busted your hump and worked out like a boss, you have ravaged your body and it needs to recover. You need to give your body the protein it needs to recover and start the muscle building process. This helps tremendously in comparison to not taking protein and just drinking water. The body can break down the protein and send it where it needs it immediately, instead of waiting until the next meal. This means faster muscle recovery which bigger, stronger muscles faster.
●Fourth dose: Before bed. Before bed? Yes, you read that correctly. I know it goes against everything you have ever read when it comes to health and your body, but it is A-Okay. This is pure protein we are talking about, not a bag of chips or a side of beef. This is quickly ingested, pure protein that your body needs. You rocked your body hard during your workout and even though you have had whey protein immediately after your workout, and had a meal in between then and now, your muscles will be recovering all night. The best thing for them is to feed them protein, especially casein protein. This aids the recovery process and shortens the time between nothing in your system to the morning starvation calling.
There is another option that has been dabbled in but it’s not recommended for weight lifting. Some people like to consume their whey protein during their workout. This is not recommended. Whenever you consume anything, your stomach requires extra blood to be pumped to it to digest and metabolize the food. This might be a problem (although, not a big one) when trying to work out. If the blood is being focused on your stomach partially, then it won’t be used for other purposes such as assisting in exercising. So, this method is counterproductive. It is easy to think that a constant stream of whey protein would be a good thing, but your body will work against you on this method. The alternative if you want a steady stream of amino acids during working out is taking BCAA. This will give you the benefits of whey protein without getting the stomach cramps and nausea during max effort workouts.
The most important thing about whey protein and when you take it, is knowing that it is pure protein. Your body will benefit no matter when you decide to take it. Again, a lot of these choices are going to depend on your schedule and how your body responds. In the whole fitness game, there are so many factors that come into play. Individuality is always a key component. You are not a robot that will respond to stimuli in the same capacity as another. You will need to give your body time to adjust to whatever times you decide to take the whey protein powder. No matter the time, you can count on the whey protein powder being a consistent and most excellent source of protein.