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Which Shake Is Most Important: Pre-Workout or Post-Workout?
When it comes to working out, a protein shake can be an incredibly helpful aid to your general health as well as for building up muscle and assisting with weight loss. But when is the best time to consume a protein shake? Some argue that it is beforehand, while others consider it more beneficial to drink a protein shake after a workout. It all seems to be dependent on your individual preferences as well as your personal health goals. Both a pre-workout and post-workout protein shake have positives and negatives, so we are going to take a look at both sides so you can decide for yourself whether the pre-workout or the post-workout protein shake is for you. Let’s get started.
Here are the advantages and drawbacks of a pre-workout shake.
There are multiple benefits to grabbing a protein shake before you work out. The additional protein that is going into your body will be very useful to you when you start getting into the tiring exercises. This protein from your shake will be chock-full of amino acids, which help you to build muscle and enhance your immune system. This is a great way to hype up your body before you begin a workout without putting too much strain on yourself. This is even more apparent if you haven’t had a meal for several hours, as the shake will act as a source of protein that will help stop you from feeling quite so hungry.
It is ideal to have some protein in your body before a workout so that those previously mentioned amino acids have the chance to start circulating and begin a process by the name of muscle protein synthesis. This process promotes muscle growth as well as recovery of the muscles within your body, which is beneficial to encourage when you're working out.
If you are someone who has to be careful with what they eat and when - possibly due to stomach issues like sensitivity - a shake before working out may do more harm than good, particularly if you have not eaten in a while. This is especially true if you plan on doing an intense workout with lots of high-impact exercises like running and jumping. The protein powder from the shakes may not be easy on your digestion if you have stomach issues, particularly if you drink them on an empty stomach, so this could cause some gastrointestinal distress.
Let’s move on to the positives and negatives that can come with a post-workout shake.
If you’re a longtime member of the fitness community, you have probably heard of the “anabolic window”. This is a period of time after a workout where your muscles are able to absorb protein much more easily, becoming a protein sponge of sorts! Some say that there is a strict 30-minute “anabolic window”, although research suggests it is much longer than this.
There is no doubt that this can still be considered a positive element of the post-workout shake, even if it isn’t as specifically timed as some believe. The muscle recovery process does begin faster, so if you have had a particularly tough workout and your muscles are aching, you can begin to rebuild and repair your muscle tissues somewhat faster. A shake post-workout can also help you recover some fluid from all that sweating.
Much like with a pre-workout shake, the only real negative aspects here can be if you suffer from a delicate stomach. If you have had an intense workout routine and then proceed to drink a protein shake relatively quickly, it could lead to digestion troubles. Other than that, there aren’t any glaring negatives.
Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference as to whether you want to go for a pre- or post-workout shake. It does not have a particularly strong effect on your muscles in terms of how much stronger or bigger they will get, and it does not make much difference to you in general, unless you have stomach problems! What is important is your overall protein intake throughout the day. The timing of your protein consumption does not matter nearly as much as how much protein you get. Protein is very important to keep your muscles healthy and strong, so as long as you have that protein shake or meal at some point, it isn’t as important when you choose to have it.