Is It Better To Drink A Protein Shake Before Or After A Workout? These Are The Differences

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Protein shakes have long been used as a convenient tool to boost the muscle building process by increasing protein intake. These supplements are made from protein powder and can be flavored or unflavored. They are often mixed with either milk or water and can be made from different types of protein (one of our favorites is vegan plant-based protein powder). This guide explores their key benefits, as well as when you should drink protein shake: before or after workout.

Is it better to drink protein shake before or after workout?

Benefits Of A Protein Shake 

Protein shakes can provide various benefits when used with the right workout. First, they can aid muscle growth and help you build up muscle tissue after a workout involving a weightlifting routine. When you workout, you break down your muscles and drinking a shake filled with protein helps build them back up. 

Protein shakes can also help you lose weight. They can help ensure that you keep your diet high in protein, increasing muscle mass while targeting your fat cells.

High quality shakes even speed up your recovery ensuring that you avoid DOMS post-workout and boost your metabolism. This will make it easier to build muscle and lose weight at the same time.

But when should you drink a protein shake to gain the greatest benefits? 

Do I Drink A Protein Shake Before My Workout?

During a workout, you will be placing your body under a high, controlled level of stress. If you are completing resistance exercise or lifting weights, you will be focused on shedding body fat and building muscle. The aim is to retain the muscle you already have while changing your muscle to fat ratio.

For this to occur, your body needs to have protein circulating around the system. Protein helps ensure that your body has enough amino acids to complete ‘muscle protein synthesis.’ This is a signal which encourages your body to both build muscle and recover from exercise at the same time.

So, when should you drink a protein shake before working out? Different types of protein take longer to digest. For instance, studies show that a steak which is high in protein will only break down after several hours. 

In contrast, a protein shake is much quicker to digest. You can gain the benefits of a typical protein shake after just one hour. A protein shake can be beneficial for your progress if you drink it at least an hour before you workout. Particularly, if you struggle to exercise on a stomach that’s full of food. You also won’t need to worry about feeling bloated or full. The amino acids present in the protein shake will then help repair and build up lean muscle.

Do I Drink A Protein Shake After Workout?

One of the reasons people think you should drink a protein shake after a window relates to the anabolic window. Originally, this was believed to be the thirty minutes after exercising where your muscles were able to absorb high levels of protein like a sponge. The theory suggests that if you consume protein outside of this window, it won’t have the same impact.

However, the latest studies provide evidence that this window may be far longer than thirty minutes. It may also impact your body at other times instead of just after working out. 

So, if the anabolic window doesn’t exist in the way researchers previously believed, can you still get benefits from drinking a protein shake after a workout? The answer is yes.

There are a couple of reasons for this. First, if you are completing a tough or intense workout, then it’s going to put your body under a lot of stress. The extra protein will help ensure that your body can heal and repair over time. Remember, protein shakes work quickly and recovery is just as important as the initial workout if you want to build muscle.

A protein shake will also help ensure that you are boosting your water levels in the body. That’s important because a tough workout will leave you dehydrated and cause you to sweat. You need the right level of water in your body to build up muscle.

Do I Drink A Protein Shake Before Or After My Workout?

Which option is best for you? The answer largely depends on your personal preferences. Studies have explored whether there is a difference between drinking a protein shake before or after a workout. 

They concluded that if the protein shakes were the same standard of quality there would be no difference in terms of success when muscle building or losing weight. As such, you can drink a protein shake before or after your workout. You can also consider drinking a protein shake both before and after your workout to gain the benefits of both options.

Ideally, you should drink a protein shake up to three hours before your workout and no more than two hours after it. Guidelines will however vary depending on the product that you choose.

What If I Drink A Protein Shake Randomly?

Protein shakes are designed to be used as part of an exercise or fitness routine. If you drink protein shakes and you are not working out, you may build mass because these shakes are high in calories but you may not see any change to your muscles. Alternatively, you may see virtually no change to your body because the majority of additional proteins in the protein shake will be flushed out through your digestive system. You might also notice negative side effects of drinking these products include:

  • Dehydration 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Constipation 

In contrast, if you do exercise regularly and take protein shakes randomly throughout the day, then they could provide benefits. But they won’t provide the same impact of taking them at the right time either before or after a workout. Essentially, you could limit your progress. It’s also important that you control your intake of protein as too much without the right level of exercise can have a negative impact on your body. The recommended daily allowance for protein is 0.36 grams per pound of body weight. 
We hope this guide helps answer the question: do I drink a protein shake before or after workout? Remember, getting enough protein is just one part of the puzzle when your goal is to build muscle. You also need to ensure that you are eating a balanced diet, completing the right exercises and getting your body the rest it needs between workout sessions. Do this and you will see the changes you want.

What is the Best Protein Shake on the Market?

So, this is a question we get frequently from our readers. There are hundreds of protein shakes on the market and many, many great ones. Our personal favorite is Orgain Keto Collagen Protein Powder. Many of the Foodzie staff members live a Keto-friendly lifestyle of low sugar, good-fats and high protein. This protein powder from Orgain delivers all of those PLUS the added benefits of collagen. If you have a few minutes just read the reviews for this product on the Orgain website. Most customers say it is the best-tasting protein powder they’ve ever used.

Orgain Keto Collagen Protein Powder

Our other favorite is Dr. Kelly Ann’s Super Chocolate Smoothie shake. Not only does this shake taste better than 99% of the mixes on the market, but it’s made with lactose-free whey protein isolate, hydrolyzed collagen, plus a blend of prebiotic fibers, healthy fats, detoxifying veggies, and antioxidant-rich berries.

Dr. Kelly Ann’s Super Chocolate Smoothie shake
Smooth tasting mix and it contains collagen for a healthy boost

About the author:

Rob Jones is a father of two who lives in Massachusetts and enjoys cooking and his dog Beau. Rob has spent years studying food and its effects on the body and mind. He believes in moderation and enjoyment.


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