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Protein shakes are necessary to supplement our bodies in growing muscle and repairing damaged tissue. There have been many debates on the topic of when the best time to enjoy our favorite shakes is. Consuming a protein shake after intense exercise seems to be most effective because of the anabolic window we fall into. But is this completely true?
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What is the anabolic window?
The term “anabolic window” encompasses 30 minutes after your body has been thoroughly stressed in a training session. During this time our muscles act in a similar way to protein and amino acids as a sponge would to water.
Recent studies found, however, that the anabolic window is longer than the aforementioned 30 minutes. A study consisting of 21 men in two groups was conducted. All men were of similar body types and were approximately the same weight. One group consumed their shakes before and the other after their workouts. There was no evident difference in either group of men.
Your body can use the protein taken both before and after working out, so it is entirely up to you to decide which makes you feel better and go for it.
A more important thing to note is your daily protein intake and at what intervals you supply your body with the much-needed amino acids in the protein.
How to meet your protein target and when to eat protein?
The first step to meeting your protein target is to set one, along with a calorie goal. If you are aiming to gain weight and build muscle, the simplest thing to do is to count your current calories that you consume each day and increase your intake by 10 percent.
Let’s say your calculated calorie goal is 2000 calories. Most athletes consume between 20 and 30 percent of their calories from protein and you should aim to not fall below or get above that percentage. This translates to a ceiling of 150 grams of protein per day since each gram of protein contains 4 calories.
Try to spread your protein intake throughout the day, since consuming more than 30 grams of protein per meal is not optimal and your body might have trouble digesting it. Drinking protein shakes with an omelet, for example, is a bad idea and the majority of the protein would not only go to waste but might also cause digestive stress to your body.
FAQs about protein consumption
What are the best times to consume a protein shake?
There is no best time. There is the worst time, however. You should avoid drinking protein shakes with high-protein meals. Instead, try to combine protein shakes with meals like rice or olives which are high in carbs or fat, and lack protein. Another bad time to drink protein shakes is before bedtime since some protein powders might be high in sugar.
What is the minimum age you can start drinking protein?
Drinking protein before reaching 16 years old is not recommended simply because the recommended daily protein intake for young kids is very low – 52 grams of protein per day, and consuming more than half of your protein for the day through a shake is not considered healthy. The majority of your protein should come from a balanced diet.
What is the best time to drink a protein shake if you want to lose weight?
The best time to drink a protein shake if you want to lose weight is a few hours before working out or early in the morning. The reason for that is that whey protein suppresses your appetite and makes you feel less hungry, which should result in you eating less and consuming fewer calories.
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