Learn 4 Things About Taking Protein

Learn 4 Things About Taking Protein

Immediately Upon Wake Up

You have just completed a 6-8 hour fast, and your body - which never stops needing amino acids, a key protein components to run smoothly - has been happily harvesting them from your muscles. To stop this depletion, you need to provide your body with an alternate source of aminos. An omelet is tasty, and eggs are a critical part of a lean diet, but by the time you cook them, eat them and digest them, your poor muscles will be another favorite breakfast food: toast. Instead, consider taking 20 to 40 grams of fast digesting protein isolate powder mix is a tasty light shake. 


Your body wont be able to train properly if you don't feed it soon before you hit the gym, the bike or the exercise class. Drinking a protein shake (meal replacement shake) within a 30 to 45 minutes prior to exercising accomplishes several things. One, it can help you train harder for longer. Drinking a shake ensures there are ample amino acids circulating  in your bloodstream, readily available to be plucked up by muscles to be used as fuel. The essential branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), especially leucine, are known to be particularly good fuel sources. Two, flooding your system with aminos helps minimize muscle breakdown and promotes recovery, even while you're still working out. The body will harvest aminos from muscle tissue if it needs them, and because the very act of training damages muscle tissue, gym time is particularly tough for muscles. The repair process, which parallels muscle growth, starts immediately when you pause in your training, even if you're not finished. What you need to support all these processes is at least 20 grams of a fast digestive protein 30-45 minutes before training, especially if you haven't eaten prior. 


You have started the recovery process by priming your body before exercise, but you need to keep your body's recovery machinery humming by following that up with more protein immediately after that last rep, pedal or burpee. The goals are these: keep muscles bathed in circulating amino acids and natural growth hormone to improve protein synthesis, and support optimal blood flow by increasing nitric oxide (NO) levels. You can accomplish both goals by having 20 to 40 gram shakes within 30 minutes after workouts. Great choices are fast digesting proteins. However, it has been shown that adding a medium digesting protein like egg and/or a slow digesting protein like casein to a workout shake will also support muscle growth because the varying digestion rates maintain a lengthy flow of amino acids through the body. This approach is most suitable if you anticipate long intervals between protein-rich meals.

Between Meals

Protein shakes can make snack time easy, particularly when you're away from home or are trying to lose weight. Whey protein powder has been shown to boost levels of a hormone that makes you feel fuller. It also reduces levels of the hormone that signals hunger and helps regulate a second compound involved in feeling of hunger.

Optional: Before Bed

 It may seem odd to fuel your body before doing something that seem to require as little energy as sleeping, but just because you're not using  your muscles  as you lie prone for several hours doesn't mean your body isn't metabolically active. It still requires fuel while you are asleep, and because you can't provide it by eating, it gets to work using the stores it has built up, including all those tasty aminos residing in your muscle tissue. By drinking a shake made with 20 to 40 grams of slow digesting protein like casein right before bed, you can provide your body with a steady supply of aminos through several hours of sleep. This delays and therefore reduces the breakdown of muscle tissue at night.