Whey protein is a sports supplement that is proven to have a number of performance benefits – but when is the best time to take it?
Training hard in the gym is going to make you stronger and fitter, but that is only half the battle. Having the right nutrition is essential for results. Eating the right foods and being consistent is the key for improving your strength, endurance, performance, body composition and effective recovery.
The key nutrient for this is protein. Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks for everything in your body, including your tissues, hormones, organs and enzymes. Taking whey protein is a popular and proven method for athletes to enhance the repairing and rebuilding of damaged muscle tissue as a result of training. But when is the best time to take whey protein? Let’s find out.
Whey protein is a bi-product of the cheesemaking process. Once water and casein content is removed from this bi-product, you are left with a substance called whey protein concentrate. It’s the go-to supplement for many athletes around the world and is the most popular sports supplement on the market today.
There are many other forms of protein available today, but they are not all equal. The best form of protein for muscle growth is undoubtedly whey protein. It is the easiest form of protein for your body to digest and use.
Whey is classed as a complete protein, meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids (EAA). High quantities of leucine, isoleucine and valine (BCAA’s) make whey protein one the best legal supplements for muscle tissue growth & repair.
Benefits of whey protein
As mentioned earlier, whey protein is the easiest form of protein for your body to digest and use. Whey protein is high is glutamine and branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), which are essential amino acids – especially for athletes. These nutrients provide you with energy needed to counteract muscle breakdown and support recovery.
Whey protein is used by the body in many biochemical processes. It is essential for muscle contraction, growth and repair. The main benefits of whey protein are:
- Increases lean muscle mass
- Improves recovery
- Improves muscle contraction
- Helps to control appetite
- Can provide feelings of fullness when dieting
Best time to take whey protein
The debate about the best time to take whey protein is as old as the supplement itself. Whey protein is very quick-absorbing and may take up to 60 minutes to fully metabolize after consumption.
You may have heard the term ‘anabolic window’. This term implies that there is a certain time period after training (usually said to be around 30-45 mins), during which consuming protein will have the greatest effect. Although, there is some truth to this with studies backing up the claim, new research suggests that simply consuming enough protein in combination with training is the key factor for muscle growth and recovery.
Whey protein is a really versatile supplement. It has been shown to work differently based on individual goals. For example, studies have found that consuming whey protein before your workout has the greatest effect on muscle-protein synthesis (MPS). Other studies have produced conflicting results, showing that the best time to take whey protein is right after your workout.
- Pre-Workout: It is all about the net-balance (NB). When muscle breakdown happens at a faster rate than muscle protein synthesis (MPS) your body enters a catabolic state (muscle loss). Consuming whey protein prior to your workout will increase the availability of amino acids in the blood and may counterbalance the NB. Several studies have found that consuming whey protein pre-workout produced the greatest response on MPS.
- Post-Workout: Other studies have produced conflicting results, suggesting that protein consumption immediately post-workout is more anabolic than when consumed at some later time. Plus, it just feels natural to drink a protein shake after training or working out!
- In The Morning: Muscles are still sensitive in response to amino acid presence for up to 24 h after training. Starting your day with protein will improve the process of muscle growth and recovery, as well as kick start other metabolic processes.
Based on this research we can conclude that the it’s not about the best time to take whey protein, but more about making sure that your body has a sufficient amount of protein available at all times.
Best whey protein to buy
With so many whey protein products to choose from, it’s difficult to know what to go for. If you’re putting in the hours at the gym you want to make sure that your nutrition does the rest of the work for you. This is why I recommend Impact Whey Protein from MyProtein – the UK’s #1 protein powder for your everyday nutrition.
It’s packed with 21g of protein per serving and is ranked grade A by independent tester Labdoor for both quality and value. Impact Whey Protein is officially certified as one of the best protein powders on the market.
It is available in over 40 flavours, with tasty favourites including Chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberry Cream. Grab yours here.
This article first appeared on GYMNASIUMPOST.com on 20th May, 2020.