The Truth About Post-Workout Shakes and Protein Timing

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You probably heard one of the fundamental tenants of getting larger and stronger: Eat protein in an hour following exercise to fuel muscle growth.  It is known as protein time, and the idea behind it is this: Resistance training increases amino acid delivery to muscles in addition to absorption.  Consequently, the earlier you eat protein post-exercise, the larger the stimulation in muscle protein synthesis.  In theory, appropriate protein timing contributes to larger long-term gains in strength and lean body mass.

But research does not really prove that it works–or does not work, for that matter.  “About half the long-term studies say protein timing has an effect and the other half doesn’t,” says Alan Aragon, M.S., Men’s Health nutrition advisor.  The studies that do show a consistent benefit are all short-term and several have limitations.

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Here are three truths you need to know about protein timing:

  1.  The “magic window” is longer than you think

Some experts say that you need to consume protein 20 minutes post-exercise, but others claim it’s an hour.  The reality: You’ve got longer.  Studies show muscles’ elevated sensitivity to protein lasts at least 24 hours, says Aragon.  In actuality, one 2012 review study by McMaster University showed that muscle protein synthesis may continue for 24 to 48 hours post-workout.  “The result is higher immediately after exercise and diminishes over time, but that certainly doesn’t imply a magical window closes after an hour,” says Aragon.  That means, theoretically you would want to eat protein right away–but because there is not a massive post-exercise drop off in muscle protein synthesis, you don’t need to rush to pound a protein shake.

  1.  Total protein intake matters more

For the normal active guy looking to be healthy and lose weight, protein timing won’t make a difference if you don’t meet other nutritional needs first, says the leading researcher and a huge advocate of post-exercise feeding, Stuart Phillips, Ph.D., of McMaster University in Ontario.  Not that timing isn’t helpful, just that it is not the main element in building muscle and weight reduction.  What is?  Together with consistent workouts, you will need to consume an ample quantity of protein during the day.

Spacing out protein intake may maximize its effects: One of Phillips’ 2012 studies published in Nutrition & Metabolism found that consuming 20 grams of protein (roughly the amount in a container of Greek yogurt) every 3 hours four times a day was better at helping men build lean body mass than eating protein more often (10 grams of protein eight times per day) or less frequently (40 grams of protein twice daily).  Moderate amounts may more effectively stimulate muscle protein synthesis, researchers note.  “In addition to the muscle benefits, protein is remarkably satiating, so this will also assist with weight loss,” says Phillips.  The great news: Most of us eat three or four times a day anyway–just ensure that your meals are well-rounded and include protein.

  1.  Eating before workout works, too

Based on the size of a meal, amino acid, glucose, and insulin levels in your blood peak anywhere from a few hours after eating–your muscles’ “absorptive state” where they’re most receptive to protein.  After that, it takes 3 to 6 hours for those blood levels to fall back down to baseline.  That’s a large window.  So if it’s more convenient, you can eat a protein-rich meal within 1 or 2 hours pre-workout and reap the benefits, notes Aragon.  If your schedule doesn’t allow for eating pre-workout or you avoid it because it hurts your stomach, it is not a big deal–just be sure to eat something after.

Though research is mixed, 1 study in Endocrinology and Metabolism found that consuming 20 grams of whey protein before exercise was just as effective as taking it one hour after exercise.

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Do Protein Shakes Really Help You Get Big?

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You may have heard from athletes and friends about the advantages of protein shakes for muscle building.

Even though it’s that muscles need protein to grow and function, there’s absolutely not any evidence that protein shakes or supplements alone can increase muscle size. Lots of the claims about the ability of protein supplements to pump up you are unsubstantiated. Understanding the function of the protein in the body will cause a more accurate image of how protein shakes influence muscle development.

Protein

Protein is found naturally in many foods, such as fish, meat, nuts, and soy. It’s a critical part of any healthy diet, and people that are protein-deficient can create health issues. Health experts recommend 55.5 g of protein daily for men and 45 g of protein every day for women, according to BBC Health. Only smaller amounts of protein are required every day, but most people who reside in industrialized nations consume more protein in their bodies really require.

Function

Protein is vital for many body functions, particularly those related to mobile processes. Whether you have protein through supplementation or food, it has to come from your diet because the body can’t make or store nourishment. The body needs protein for energy, as well as for tissue growth and repair, based on BBC Health. Protein, carbohydrates, and fats are integral factors involved in the metabolic process. The body breaks down protein into amino acids, which are crucial for tissue formation. Muscles are based on protein synthesis.

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Muscle Growth

Muscle growth naturally starts to decrease in adults after age 20. Consuming particular foods or supplements with protein, such as protein shakes, won’t alter the size or strength of muscles, based on FAQs.org — World of Sports. It requires exercise and strength training to encourage muscle synthesis and muscle growth. Sports, like running, have slow, long-term effects on muscle growth, and weightlifting significantly impacts muscle growth more quickly. It’s the practice of tearing down and restoring tissue — catabolism, and anabolism — which builds muscle. When more synthesized protein is produced than absorbed by muscles, they develop, World of Sports states.

Protein Following Exercise

The catabolic process continues in an affected muscle when carbohydrates and proteins are ingested in conjunction right after exercise — “the process of protein synthesis is immediately stimulated,” states World of Sports. This prevents protein reduction from the muscle but timing is everything when it comes to protein and muscle building. But, muscle synthesis is encouraged long-term by constant consumption of the recommended daily levels of protein, World of Sports states.

Protein Shakes

Getting enough protein is the healthiest way to keep adequate levels of this nutrient. However, if you would like to supplement your diet with protein shakes, particularly while strength training, many types of protein supplements can be found: soy, whey, egg, and casein. Whey protein shakes are considered most beneficial for after a workout since the body absorbs these fast. Following a workout is when your muscles may need additional protein. Other protein supplements might only help you if you are not consuming enough protein in your daily diet.

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ENRAGE PROTEIN SHAKES

Enrage Protein Shakes are high protein, low carb, low fat and packed with vitamins and nutritional supplements designed to function your own body mechanisms. Enrage Protein Shakes are a simple way to effectively fuel your body and help you achieve and maintain optimum wellness. With additional guarana and ginseng for natural healing and power. Launched in resealable and recyclable bottles in three deliciously creamy flavors to select from. See our FB page for more information here.

Enrage Protein Shake – High in protein and dietary fibre

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Enrage Protein Shake – High in protein and dietary fibre – and low in carbs, fats and sugars. Packed with additional vitamins and minerals designed to improve stamina, helping you to workout harder and longer. Available in Banana, Vanilla and Chocolate flavours.