Protein Shakes: Before or After Your Workout?
Whether you're just beginning to dabble in the protein shake world, or you've been a longtime user of pre-workout and post-workout supplements, it can be challenging to keep up with all of the products on the market and how to incorporate them into your routine most efficiently. From finding the best brand — there's Allmax, Perfect Sports, ANS Performance, and PEScience, to name a few — to knowing which ingredients you need, where do you start?
Protein Shake 101
One of the most important things to remember is that timing is everything. Knowing when to drink your protein shake and which shake to choose is crucial to achieving your goals. But how do you know when you should consume your protein shake for the best results?
It may seem as though gym enthusiasts always have a protein shake in their hands. It's undeniable that protein helps fuel your workouts and adds essential nutrients to your body. However, there are many myths circulating about pre-workout and protein shake supplements that we need to clear up:
- Protein shakes are only for weight loss
- Protein shakes are only for weight gain
- You can consume a pre-workout shake any time of day before you work out and it will be effective
- Only serious athletes should drink protein shakes
The list goes on and on, but these are four of the most common misconceptions that we hear about protein shake and pre-workout supplements. Thankfully, it's not that hard to understand how you can use a variety of nutrition supplements to improve your daily health — regardless of the amount you can bench-press in the gym!
Types of Protein Shakes
There are three common protein powder supplements to consider when choosing the variety that is best for you: whey, casein, and soy.
- Whey protein: Milk contains two types of proteins — whey and casein. Whey protein, like the kind found in Allmax Isoflex, makes up roughly 20 percent of the protein in milk and is the watery byproduct of cheese making. This protein provides an extensive amount of the essential amino acids that your body needs to function. In addition to being used for its high protein content to improve athletic performance, whey protein can also reduce eczema and plaque psoriasis.
- Casein protein: This type of protein makes up the other 80 percent of the protein found in milk and is also a byproduct of cheese production. Casein contains a variety of bioactive peptides that can boost your immune and digestive systems, as well as provide different heart health benefits. (Pro tip: For maximum effectiveness, choose a blend of whey and casein proteins, such as PEScience Select Protein.)
- Soy: Soy protein comes from soybeans, which are ground into a meal and then processed into soybean isolate. Soy protein powder isolate has a high natural protein content and low carbohydrate content. Although it seems ideal on paper for those looking for a dairy alternative protein powder, many manufacturers make adjustments to their commercial soy protein powders to improve the texture, taste, and nutritional content.
Although these are three popular protein powder options, customers can also choose from protein powders made from rice, egg, hemp, and peas. The possibilities are endless, so it's just a matter of figuring out which type works best for your body and your goals.
All About a Pre-Workout Protein Shake
Once you've determined what base protein you need, you need to decide what type of product you're searching for. Although there are protein powders that cater to specific goals, there are also distinguishing factors between the two types of powders: pre-workout and post-workout shakes.
Like the names imply, there are protein shakes for consuming before your workout as well as for after. But what's the real purpose of a pre-workout shake or supplement, and when should you drink it?
To maximize a pre-workout shake's effectiveness, you should drink it approximately half an hour before you begin your workout. If you drink your protein shake too early, the nutrients won't have a positive impact on your workout. If you don't give your supplement enough time to digest, you could experience uncomfortable stomach consequences.
In terms of nutrition, we recommend picking a shake that is more than just pure protein. Dieticians recommend finding a pre-workout shake that blends protein and carbohydrates. A protein supplement without carbs won't provide fuel to maximize your potential and give your body energy to burn. A lack of adequate carbohydrates can also cause your body to sustain muscle damage.
Post-Workout Protein Shakes
A pre-workout supplement helps prime your body for the work it's about to put in. A post-workout supplement helps provide your body with the vitamins and nutrients it needs to recover as quickly and efficiently as possible. Although it's essential to give your body the sustenance it needs to thrive, there are things you should avoid when it comes to a post-workout drink.
The worst thing you can do after a workout is to pack your body with fats. Although there is a time and place for fats within your diet, your post-workout shake isn't it. Instead, look for a protein shake that has carbohydrates as well as whey protein. Research shows that carbs help accelerate the production of insulin in the body, which increases the movement of nutrients into the muscles. Whey protein is fast digesting, which makes it the best choice for fitness nerds looking to create lean, healthy muscles.
The most important part of adding a post-workout shake to your routine is ensuring you're consuming the supplement as close as possible to the end of your workout. Whether you're downing your shake before you leave the gym or as soon as you get home, ensuring your nutrient intake falls into the most effective time window possible is essential for getting the results you're looking for.
The Best Protein Shakes
The bottom line is that it's essential to know not only what to drink, but also to know when to drink it. It's not enough to chug a random protein shake at odd hours and expect it to do all of the hard work for you. To achieve your goals, you must find the best shake for your needs, consume it at the right time of day for your schedule, and put in the hard work physically as well. Once you create the routine that's right for you, nothing can stop you.
We're here to help you find the best supplements for your specific goals. Whether you're looking for a meal replacement protein shake or a pre-workout supplement, you'll find the best selection of products at Supplement Superstore.