As a health-conscious person, you know the benefits of protein powder. As its name hints, it is a nutritional supplement that provides proteins, an essential macronutrient. Dairy-based protein powder is the most common, though there are plant-based varieties that are ideal for vegans.
This supplement serves many purposes, such as helping with weight loss, muscle gain, tissue repair, and enhancing enzymatic and hormonal function. If you are into working out, you have probably encountered protein powders. Many bodybuilders take protein shakes to help with their muscle-gain goals.
So, what is the best time to take protein powder? Many protein powder users ask this question to get the best out of this supplement. Read on to know more about the timing when it comes to this nutritional product.
When Should I Take Protein Powder?
The best answer to this question is that it depends on why you are taking the supplement in the first place. Let us look at the reasons for taking protein supplements and when you should take them to achieve the desired outcome.
Nutritionists recommend increased protein consumption if you want to shed weight. Taking proteins will make you feel full; thus, you won’t eat too much, limiting the calories you consume. For the best outcome, you limit carbs in your diet.
If you are taking protein shakes for weight loss, you can take them any time of the day, preferably between meals. In this case, you will eat less, as you feel satiated. You may go a notch higher and replace some meals with the supplement, as it will have you full.
To succeed on your weight loss journey, you should limit sugar consumption by consuming sugar-free protein powder. Moreover, you may take a sizeable serving of protein shake in the morning. It will give you the energy boost you need for the day ahead while still ensuring you don’t overload on calories.
Many users of this supplement take it for muscle gain. Coupled with the right exercises, protein powder will give you a perfectly toned body. You should take a protein shake after working out, as the body will be ready to synthesize proteins to repair damaged muscles.
After working out, wait for 15-60 minutes to take your protein shake. This is a crucial timeframe known as the anabolic window, where, as mentioned earlier, the body processes the nutrients to fix damaged muscles and tissues. According to some nutrition and workout experts, you can stretch the timeframe up to 3-hours after exercising.
Can I take protein powder pre-workout? You can take protein powder before hitting the gym and achieve decent results. It is like preparing your body for the oncoming activities. It will work if you have a shorter workout window of up to 2 hours.
The problem with taking protein powder is that you may feel uncomfortable exercising as your belly might be full, and you may feel cramping.
What about taking protein shake while working out? It is better to avoid taking the supplement when exercising, as you might feel too stuffed to make the best out of your session in the gym.
Taking Protein Powder to Prevent Muscle Mass Loss
Past 30 years, our bodies start to lose muscle. This is not what many people want; hence, they resort to a protein-rich diet to retain their muscle mass or make it bigger. Protein powder will help in this situation. As with earlier uses, timing is crucial if targeting preferred results.
You should spread your consumption of protein powder throughout the day to prevent muscle loss. You can take it after every meal to ensure a proper protein intake. If you love snacking, you can prepare a protein shake smoothie, where you add fruits to your protein shake for a nutritious snack.
Furthermore, consider taking protein before you sleep. Go for a slow-digesting protein, like casein powder, which will help with muscle synthesis when you are inactive.
Can I Take Protein Powder on An Empty Stomach?
Taking protein powder on an empty stomach is a good move. If you want to shed weight, having this supplement when you haven’t eaten will help you control your calorie intake. The feeling of satiation will prevent you from overeating, setting you on the right path to losing weight.
You should know that this supplement’s digestion is faster than regular protein from food. The result is that you boost your energy levels in a short time.
You can also take the powder on an empty stomach when working out. While taking the supplement before hitting the gym is not advisable, it fares better than regular food, as it will not have you full, making you uncomfortable when exercising.
When To Limit Protein Powder Consumption
While protein powder is an excellent addition to your diet, there are instances where you should limit your consumption. You should avoid dairy-based powder if you are a vegan or lactose intolerant. Instead, you can go for the plant-based powder derived from plants such as peas and soybeans.
Downgrade your consumption of this supplement if you have kidney disease due to the associated protein intolerance. Pick varieties with low protein content, at most 15 grams per serving.
In addition, avoid powder with gluten if you are gluten-intolerant. Go for powder with no artificial additives if you have gastrointestinal upsets like irritable bowel syndrome.
Protein powder is a worthy addition to your diet if you want to lose weight or gain muscles. It also helps in the management of asthma and cardiovascular conditions, and it has anticancer properties.
This piece answers the question about the best time to consume this supplement. The time factor depends on what you want to achieve by taking protein powder. For example, you should take it 15-60 minutes after working out if you want to build your muscles.
For weight loss, you can take it before meals to prevent you from overindulging. When you are in your prime, have a can of protein powder, which you can take in the morning as a smoothie for your health.