when to take whey protein

When it comes to high quality protein, whey is a bodybuilder’s best friend.

It delivers the most powerful amino acid profile of any protein source on the planet along with the highest overall bio-availability.

Take into account the convenience factor and the low cost per serving, and including whey protein in your diet is pretty much a no brainer.

But when is the best time to take whey protein to maximize its effects?

When To Take Whey Protein

whey protein timing

You’ll hear a lot of recommendations on the issue of when to take whey protein, such as first thing in the morning, before your workout, in a post workout shake or before bed.

The truth is that, all in all, the specific timing of your whey protein consumption is probably not going to make a huge difference to your bottom line results.

Most trainees get way too hung up on minor, insignificant details and end up losing sight of the big picture.

Nutrient absorption is an incredibly slow process, and as long as you’re consistently hitting your protein/carb/fat needs each day, the precise way that you map out your diet in terms of timing/frequency is far less important than most people think.

Whether you consume 3 meals per day with your whey protein in the morning… 5 meals a day with whey at night… or 8 meals a day with whey at every meal… it’s likely not going to have a huge impact either way.

That said, if you do want to be as precise as possible then there are two time periods where whey protein will probably give you the biggest bang for your buck…

When To Take Whey Protein: Pre-Workout

The first is to use whey as a pre-workout protein source within a couple hours of your training session.

There are a few reasons for this…

* Whey is high in branched-chain amino acids (l-leucine, l-valine and l-isoleucine). These are the primary amino acids that are oxidized during weight training.

* There is some evidence to suggest that whey protein increases beta-oxidation (fat burning) when used prior to workouts.

* Whey is light on the stomach and provides a good source of pre-workout protein without causing bloating or upset stomach.

When To Take Whey Protein: Post-Workout

The second is to use whey as a source of post workout protein.

A common misconception is the idea that you must consume a post workout shake immediately after your training session is over to help stimulate muscle growth and recovery.

The important thing to keep in mind is that as long as you consumed a pre-workout meal within a couple hours of training, those same nutrients are still being broken down and absorbed after your workout is over.

For that reason, there is no need to consume proteinimmediately following your session.

That said, I would still recommend that you aim to get in a high quality meal within 1-2 hours of finishing your workout to continue providing your body with valuable nutrients during this time.

Insulin sensitivity will be elevated, and the muscles will be primed for greater than normal nutrient absorption.

Whey protein is going to be the optimal choice at this time due to its strong amino acid profile (particularly its high BCAA content) and overall bio-availability.

In addition, if you’re like me and find that you don’t have much of an appetite following training, a liquid shake like this is a great option.

When To Take Whey Protein: Final Word

post workout protein shake

The bottom line when it comes to the question of whey protein timing is this…

Yes, whey is the highest quality protein source available, and yes, I do think that anyone who wants to maximize their gains should be using it. However, the specific timing of your whey protein consumption will likely not make a huge difference to your bottom line results.

That said, if you want to get every muscle building edge possible, have a whey protein shake about 1.5-2 hours prior to your workout followed by another within 1-2 hours of completing your workout.

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