You might’ve wondered whether protein timing matters in order to maximize your protein synthesis window of opportunity, and if so we want to say that you’re completely right. The timing of your protein matters a lot when you’re more trained. Beginning bodybuilders tend to enjoy a protein synthesis window of opportunity that lasts up to 72 hours after a workout, and that protein window shrinks as you spend more time training.
This means that experienced bodybuilders tend to consume their protein shake right after their workouts in order to maximize their protein synthesis, since their window of opportunity is so much smaller compared to beginners.
This begs the question: should you have your protein shake during your workout in order to further maximize your protein shake window, or would it lead to negative effects on your gains?
We’d first like to preface our answer by saying that there’s really nothing “wrong” about having an anabolic drink such as a protein shake during your workout, the question you should be asking is, will it actually help? And in that case, we’d say that the answer depends on you.
We also recommend taking a look at our “Is Intraworkout Nutrition Important?” video in order to learn more about nutrition before, during, and after a workout.
Consuming Protein During Your Work Out
Picture this: you’re used to working out early in the morning, but you get out of your bed a little bit late and you rush to the gym in a fasted state. If you drink a protein shake before or during your exercise, will this help you? Absolutely.
What about another scenario where you’ve already eaten your meal and you work out a couple of hours after that? In that case, your body will still be using amino acids from that previous meal, and just taking Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) would be enough to keep you in that protein synthesis state for 1-2 hours, long enough for most workouts.
That’s because when you have a meal, your protein synthesis will last anywhere from 120-180 mins, and just taking BCAAs before a workout is enough to extend that anabolic response. Afterwards, you can have that protein shake.
A third scenario is that you find that consuming anything before your early workout leaves you in a groggy state and weighs you down. In that case, since you can’t really workout in that fasted state, you need to have all your essential amino acids (EAAs) before your workout.
If you take all your EAAs before your workout, that will last you an hour and a half even in a fasted state. Most workouts aren’t going to last longer than 90 minutes, so you really don’t need to have your protein shake during your workout. However, you can definitely have a protein shake after.
We hope this article helped you understand the good and the bad points about having your protein shake during your workout. Next time you have any questions, you know where to find us!