Ask The Macro Manager: Should I Drink Protein Before Or After A Workout?
You can take in protein or amino acids pre- and post-workout, but if I absolutely had to pick one time, I'd say pre-workout. Sacrilege, you say! If you're more upset than a cat kicked off a ledge, give me time to explain before you claw my face off.
Post-workout shakes have long been considered the most important pieces of the workout nutrition puzzle. Recent research suggests, however, that ingesting protein and amino acids prior to training may be even more beneficial.
Hang in there, kitty. Here's why:
Pre-workout protein, specifically the branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), will help fuel your muscles during training. BCAAs don't need to be processed by your liver; after being absorbed, they head directly to your blood stream to be picked up by your muscles.
This is key because exercise causes the breakdown and oxidation of BCAAs. Providing BCAAs to working muscles will prevent the need for your body to catabolize the working muscle itself.
Adding protein prior to your training session primes the pump: It starts protein synthesis during rather than after your training session.
Pre-workout protein most likely increases amino acid delivery and uptake by muscles during training.
Taken alone or as part of a complete protein, BCAAs inhibit muscle breakdown. So net protein synthesis is elevated even higher!
A study published in Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise found that one scoop of whey protein prior to working out increased calorie burning over the subsequent 24 hours.
The exact cause of this increase in calorie burning is unknown, but it may be due to the added metabolic effects of increasing protein and modifying substrates (energy sources) used during exercise.
Don't wait for the eggheads: It's okay to reap the benefits of the what (increased calorie burning!) without knowing the why (exact metabolic cause).
There is also a carryover effect of nutrients taken in the pre-workout period. After ingesting protein, muscle protein synthesis can stay elevated as long as 3 hours.
This means that pre-workout protein allows you to double dip: You reap the benefits of elevated blood amino acids during your training session in addition to a carryover of elevated blood amino acid levels after your workout.
This elevation of blood amino acids will also help prevent excessive post-workout muscle breakdown.
This occurs partly through the reduction of the muscle-catabolizing hormone cortisol. A 2007 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that starting your workout nutrition with a protein-and-carbohydrate shake 30 minutes prior to exercise led to a significant reduction in cortisol up to one day following the training session.
Taking protein (specifically BCAAs) alone before a workout is extremely beneficial during a low-carb diet. The consumption of pre-workout BCAAs, especially when glycogen levels are low (as they are during a low-carb diet), leads to an increase in fat oxidation (fat burning) during high-intensity exercise like interval training or metabolic resistance training.
The nutrients you ingest around your workouts are extremely critical to developing and refining your physique. If you skip pre-workout protein, you skip a chance to support intra-workout anabolism (muscle growth AND reduce post-workout catabolism (muscle breakdown).
Provided that you're getting adequate dietary protein throughout the day, I recommend BCAAs pre-workout. Their free form offers much faster absorption and uptake, which means your blood amino levels will be high when you hit the training floor.
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If you ate egg whites or fish 30-60 mins prior to training, you'd get the same result. Chicken about 1-2 hours prior.
If you are " getting adequate dietary protein throughout the day", your blood aminos will already be high. Just another tainted article trying to sell you something you don't need.
Was about to right a comment saying how this is all totally not needed, but looks like you've done it for me. Just trying to sell you more supplements to waste, if you get it in your diet there is no need.
adrian, you are on the money...a good diet always trumps supplements
Absolutely true. However, I have to use a protein shake before my workouts because I workout within 15 minutes of waking. So I have been running on about 12-18g of casein for 7-9 hours of sleep and need further protein and amino acids immediately available for strength training. You don't need a ton like many people say though. Actually there are studies that show about 10-15g of protein is good to get you through a 45-60 minute session.
The conclusion was that taking BCAA's 30 min before is beneficial... but like Adrian77 stated above, a good diet is all you need. Because of my schedule though I personally choose to use supplements.
The BCAA's shouldn't interfere with fat burn as they are just readily available for protein synthesis and not energy needs. The protein is the same deal, your body will want to go to carbs first and use protein for your protein synthesis, so if you ingest BCAA's and just a few grams of protein you will be fine. I personally use some simple carbs too to increase amino uptake and after as well to help re-fill glycogen stores.
A big guy name Ben Pakulski (aka BPak, aka PakMan, 4th this year at the Arnold) recommends whey isolate protein shake and BCAA pre AND post workout. And that was from one of his training program before he was sponsored. This is also recommended by Jim Stoppani, PhD, from his Shortcut to size program. But it is up to everyone to chose if and what supp to take.
i think this depends on your budget. it think this article has a mix of marketing involved, to make you buy BCAAs or whey. So they are suggesting to not take in protein after working out? and instead pre. hmm..
Post workout is really logical to prevent hunger. somewhat confusing to counter the usual. haha
This isn't complicated..take in your carbs and protein 30 mins pre-workout, same as you would post. If your not spending 3 hours in the gym then this will be sufficient and no post workout protein/carbs are needed.
I'm going to give this a try and see how my energy levels are in the later evening. I'm a little skeptical to how this will replenish the glycogen and glucose at the same time you are depleting it?
If you are getting a gram of protein per pound of body weight per day, there is always going to be protein in your blood. You are always consuming protein all day so you are always consuming it before and after your workouts.
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