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When Is Best Time for Protein Shakes?

By Craig Smith

Getting the scoop on the optimal time for protein supplementation can enhance well-deserved results from muscle building efforts. Protein is a vital component to muscle repair and recovery. By understanding that all proteins are not created equally, individuals can make educated selections on the types and timing of protein products.

Purpose

Protein supplements repair and build muscle after intense exercise, which create an anabolic effect on the body. Protein shakes are most important after workouts due to the breakdown of muscle caused by intense exercise. According to the Diet Channel, “protein synthesis levels are heightened after a workout.”

Fast vs. Slow

Two common forms of protein supplements are whey and casein. Each variety breaks down in the body at totally different rates. According to an article hosted by Bodybuilding.com, “whey protein negotiates through the stomach quickly and then is rapidly absorbed in the intestine.” In contrast, an article on the Muscle and Strength website reports “casein protein is a slow digesting and rich protein source that continues to feed muscles for up to seven hours.” Using both types of protein can ensure proper recovery throughout all hours of the day.

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Optimal Timing of Whey

The best time for consuming whey protein shakes is before and after you work out. An article on Stay Fit Central explains the reason for this is that "whey is digested and absorbed very quickly after you drink it.” The rapid rate of digestion and absorption enables protein and nutrients to assist the body in activating the recovery process. Consistent nutrient and protein delivery before and after workouts will ensure muscular gains

Optimal Timing of Casein

Casein protein is best used before bed and during the day. This type of protein is known as night-time protein as many strength athletes and bodybuilders use it before bed. According to Muscle and Strength, “the majority of muscle repairing and rebuilding takes place during sleep.” For prime muscle recovery, the body needs a constant supply of nutrients and protein. Casein will provide the body with a protein source for up to seven hours, which significantly reduces muscle catabolism.

Protein Supplements are Just That…

Protein shakes play a key role in recovery and protein synthesis in damaged muscle. However, folks must remember to not rely on protein supplements as their sole protein source. A balanced diet filled with lean meats and other sources of protein are required in conjunction with supplementation.

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