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Do You Really Need To Take a Pre-Workout Protein Shake?

by Melissa Bell
4 minutes read

You don’t have to have been working out for long to notice how important protein is to the whole body shaping equation. After all, there’s an entire industry built around it. One of the things that the protein supplement industry would have you believe is that, for best results, you need to be taking a protein shake before your workout. Yet, others are adamant that your protein needs to come after your training session.

Let’s put those claims to the test.

Different Types of Protein

There are many types of protein powder that can be utilised in shakes and supplements, with each one being made up of varying combinations of amino acids. The three sources of protein that are most common in supplement shakes and powders are whey, casein and soy. Most research indicates that whey is the most efficient variety for promoting growth. It also has the highest supply of essential amino acids and provides the best nitrogen retention, allowing for greater recovery and muscle growth.

While men and women of all ages and fitness levels can consume protein supplement products, not all of them are suitable for all diets. Proteins such as whey and casein are sourced from animal products, which means they can be unsuitable for vegetarians and vegans. Soy protein, on the other hand, is sourced from vegetables and is therefore suitable for both of these groups. Although it is a less efficient protein than whey and casein when it comes to performance and recovery, vegetable-sourced proteins often contain less saturated fat and cholesterol and can therefore be considered better for your overall health.

The Best Protein Powder

The best type of protein powder to take either prior to or after your training session is whey. This milk derived protein source is easily digested and absorbed into the bloodstream and is more bioavailable than other forms such as casein or soy. We recommend adding a 5 gram dose of creatine, which has been shown to be an extremely effective strength and muscle building supplement. The best creatine source is CreaPure. This type of creatine is made by the German company Alzchem, which is considered to be the purest available.

Protein Powder

Pre-Workout VS Post-Workout Protein

Protein powders and shakes are taken as part of a recovery method to prevent a person’s net protein balance from becoming negative. When it does, existing muscle is likely to be broken down and new muscle growth cannot occur.

For many years, the accepted gym lore was that you have to get a protein shake into your body during the critical 20-40 minute ‘anabolic workout’ after your workout is done. However, some recent research has called that notion into question. A 2006 study showed that the body’s uptake of amino acids is actually greater when taken before than after a workout. However, this difference is minimal, with protein taking both before after an exercise session dramatically increasing amino acid concentrations in the blood.

The consensus of the research indicates that the actual timing of protein intake is less important than the total protein intake over the course of the day. Even though there are some minimal benefits to taking protein before your workout than after, it is not enough to be critical.

How Much Protein Do You Need?

Protein is one of the three macronutrients, along with fats and carbohydrates. It is the most thermic and satiating of the three. Protein is made up of amino acids, which have rightly been called the building blocks of the human body. Every part of you is made up of amino acids. Your body is constantly breaking down and rebuilding body tissue, which requires a constant supply of amino acids.

Protein Powder need

The recommended daily allowance for protein is 0.8 grams per kg of bodyweight. That is sufficient for sedentary people but those who exercise need more. People who perform resistance training exercises need even more. They should be taking in about 1.25 grams per kg of bodyweight. So, if you weigh 90 kg, and are exercising with weights, you should be consuming 112.5 grams of protein per day. That protein consumption should be spread out throughout the course of the day.


If you are a regular gym goer then you need to be taking in more protein than a non-exerciser. We recommend taking in a high protein meal about an hour and a half before your workout. This can be in the form of a protein shake but it can also be in the form of a whole food meal. Add a complex carb such as a sweet potato to provide you with the glucose you need to fuel your workout. Rather than concentrating on taking your protein pre or post workout, however, you should focus on getting 1.25 kg of protein, spread evenly over the course of the day.

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