No matter what your fitness routine and goals are, nutrition plays a key role. The timings and composition of your meals can also make a difference in results.
But first, you need to have a clear vision of the possible effects of a particular supplement i.e., protein shake.
The common confusion is when to take a protein shake. Some people find it hard to schedule their meals according to their gym timings.
Due to the packed schedules, the question arises, what is the best time to have a protein shake? And, how long after a protein shake to eat a meal?
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Best time to take a protein shake
There is a lot of confusion about the timing of protein shakes. But it depends upon your fitness goals and regime. The nature of your pre and post-workout is well dependent on your targets.
If your target is losing weight then protein is vital. A high-protein diet increases the rate of metabolism while suppressing your appetite.
Protein has the unique property of decreasing the secretion of the hunger hormone ghrelin. On the contrary increases glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), peptide YY and cholecystokinin. These three are appetite-suppressing hormones.
Therefore, protein-rich shakes between meals help you consume lesser calories rest of the day. This pattern will help you in weight loss.
For an increase in lean muscle mass and strength, protein plays a different role. It is difficult to tell the exact time for the intake of protein shakes for optimal muscle growth.
But mostly trainers and dietitians recommend the intake of protein shake one or half an hour after hitting the gym.
This period is highly significant for nutrient utilization, specifically protein, and is known as the anabolic window.
However, the International Society of Sports Nutrition has broadened this window for about two hours post-workout for the best results.
As you age, you experience loss of muscle which can result in more adverse circumstances like fractures.
On average, 3 to 8% of muscle mass is lost after the age of 30. To prevent or slow the process of muscle loss, protein intake is essential.
It is advisable to evenly distribute your protein intake throughout the day. So, add a sufficient portion of protein to your breakfast to balance the recommended intake.
Performance and Recovery
Like the rest of the other goals, improved performance and recovery also has some relation with protein intake.
It is a significant point of concern for athletes. Protein intake can noticeably improve performance and shorten your recovery time.
There is no defined time for protein intake, but carbs in combination with protein consumed during and after the training gave the best response.
How Long After A protein Shake To Eat Meal?
Nutrition is essential in getting the desired results regardless of your fitness routine. And the timing of meals plays an integral role to get improved results.
For recovery, consume a protein shake within a maximum of one-hour post-workout. It will shorten recovery time and reduce muscle soreness.
There is no scientific evidence regarding 1-hour anabolic window, but the intake of whole foods after a workout gives the best results.
Absorption of isolated protein needs around 1 hour so that you can have your meal 1 hour later.
Even you can take a protein shake and a meal together. It is your personal choice but the main point to keep in mind is evenly distribute your caloric needs and macronutrient count.
Do not extra load protein in your meals and shake as it will be wasted if consumed more than the requirement.
What To Eat After A Workout?
During a workout, your body utilizes glycogen stored in your muscle as fuel. In the fasting state, your body uses fat as an energy source which is most suitable if you are aiming for fat loss.
All three macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat, and protein) are equally important for your body.
But protein breakdown occurs rapidly, depending upon the intensity of your training. In such a situation body needs a repair and quick replenishment of protein.
Protein requirement depends on your weight and workout routine. But a study claims, athletes require 20 to 40 grams of protein to recover after a workout.
Just like protein, carbs are contributing to the recovery of the body. So, a high-carb-protein meal fits well to maximize protein and glycogen synthesis.
When To Eat A Meal After A High-Intensity Workout?
During high-intensity exercise, your body undergoes two processes simultaneously, protein synthesis and breakdown. And the net ratio of both processes evaluates the percentage of muscle growth or loss.
Your meal plays a critical role post-workout, as your body expends extra calories during the training session.
After exercise, your energy levels are low. To deal with it, consume a protein shake right away or for 30 minutes.
If you delay post-workout meal or shake, you will experience more muscle loss. To preserve your muscle and avoid extremely low energy levels, consume high-protein food after high-intensity workouts.
Protein is crucial for the body, whether you are working out or not. The requirement for protein is related to your body weight.
But the need is different for athletes and weight lifters. To meet the increase in demand, protein shakes are consumed.
The timings to drink protein shakes also vary according to your fitness goals, but there is no evidence regarding the gap between a protein shake and a meal.
It is all up to you and your fitness trainer to keep the protein demands well divided in all meals.