Should I Take Protein Before Workout or After?

protein before workoutIf you have been involved in fitness training for a while, chances are you already asked yourself whether it is better to take protein before workout or after.

In fact, one of the main questions in the fitness world is: when is the best time to take proteins, before or after exercising?

The answer is...both, and I believe most people would consider after workout to be the best time. But in this article we will focus on why it is also beneficial to take protein before workout.

When it comes to consumption of proteins, the main components of your diet are lean whole foods. This includes foods like fish and chicken (and white meats in general).

The purpose of the extra protein is to prevent the breakdown and help the growth of muscle tissues.

Let’s say you just stocked up with protein. Right now you are not  sure why and when exactly you should take the protein before workout. We have been there and can help you.

When Exactly Should I Take Protein Before Workout?

Knowing that you should also consume protein prior to working out is simply not enough.

If you want this to have positive effect on your body and health, timing is everything.

Taking protein recklessly prior to working out can lead to mechanical digestion during your workout and you don’t want this.

The recommended time for you to do this is approximately 45 minutes before you start your routine.

This will give your body enough time to distribute the protein and regain a proper distribution of blood.

The best time often varies depending of the digestibility of the protein you are eating. If it is more digestible, you may need less time before workout.

In a series of articles published on the website of the American Council of Exercise, Natalie Digate Muth, an MD  recommends a protein snack being digested 30 to 60 minutes before a workout.

This, of course, does not mean that you should take the same amount of time for full meals as for protein snacks.

If you are having a full protein meal, try to consume it two to three hours before working out.

Your body may need more time to adjust and digest the big amount of food you have just consumed. 

Why Protein Before Workout?

Consuming bigger amounts of protein prior to working out can be a great advantage if done with utmost care and proper timing.

This can have a positive influence both for your bodybuilding and muscle growth.

The reason why you would want to take protein before workout is to build more muscle.

As you must already know, muscle is built by amino acids, and proteins are the most common source of these acids.

The main reason behind this idea is to fill the gaps in your muscles with amino acids. These gaps will need filling right after you stop lifting weights and exercising.

Taking protein in this pre-workout window is not only smart, but also affordable.

However, if you can afford to do this, try switching to amino acids to speed up the process.

An amino acid supplement taken in smaller doses has the same or even better effect on your body.

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How Much Protein Before Workout?

When taking protein before workout, do not exceed.

More than 20 grams of protein before working out can be too much for your body.

Of course, this amount always depends of your weight, but try to calculate and consume the amount that suits you best.

Generally speaking, eating too much prior to a workout is never a good thing.

Never Forget the Post Workout

You may have decided to use proteins before workout or even during, but never forget the post workout.

Post workout is as important as workout and proper nutrition itself, so don’t see it as something irrelevant.

What you should do is consume additional proteins post workout.

Taking protein after you finish exercising prevents breakdown of proteins and stimulates the synthesis. This is yet another great strategy for adaptation, recovery and performance in fitness training.

Remember, working out can be both healthy and result in better appearance, but must be taken seriously to achieve the best results possible.

Now that you've found out that protein is not only important to recover after workout, will you include protein before exercise in your routine?


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1 Response

  1. Nice article Cristian, but guys who want to keep their testosterone levels high (and everybody should want that) should note that protein directly before or after workouts will lower testosterone and growth hormone levels, see this study: Better to have the protein few hours apart from workouts and focus on the carbs pre workout.

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