Same Day Dispatch for orders before 12pm
5% DISCOUNT on all orders over $300
FREE FREIGHT on orders over $99

What Are The Best Times To Take Protein Powder?

Posted on June 1, 2018

What Are The Best Times To Take Protein Powder?Dividerimage

The benefits of protein powder have been widely promoted for decades now by sports nutritionists, exercise scientists and even healthcare practitioners. They can play a powerful role in the maintenance and growth of lean muscle mass, which helps to keep our metabolic rate nice and active. They are even believed to assist with reducing the glycemic burden of a meal and boost immune function. But the $64 million question is when is the best time to have a protein shake?


There's no doubt that if you're only planning on taking protein just once a day, straight after a workout is the best time. However, there are other times that protein shakes can be taken, depending on the goals you are trying to achieve.



Just after you've worked hard at the gym, your muscles are in the perfect position to receive a nice hit of amino acids from a quality protein powder. The process of resistance training causes microtears in your muscles and gets the body into quite a catabolic state due to the release of stress hormones. So a rapid dose of amino acids is necessary to ensure that they repair quickly and adapt to your training style. And if you are training like a bodybuilder, this means that they will grow bigger. This post-workout period is known as the 'anabolic window' and usually lasts between thirty minutes and an hour. However, the sooner the better.


According to bodybuilder Jeff Volek (cited in Steiman), your dose should be between 10 and 20 grams. We recommend around 30g for most people, and up to 50 grams for heavy weight lifters, individuals over 100kg, or anyone wanting to maximise muscle size. Steiman also recommends taking carbohydrates at the same time, because this provides an immediate source of energy, and helps to replenish valuable glycogen reserves within the liver and muscle tissue. Carbohydrates can also help to boost insulin, which slows down protein breakdown and helps to push more amino acids into the muscle cell.



Once you've got your post-workout dose organised, you should start thinking about a pre-workout one. Taking 20g of protein powder 30 minutes before hitting the gym provides your muscles with a major nutrition boost, significantly reducing the severity of muscle breakdown during the catabolic intra-workout time. According to online personal trainer Shawn LeBrun (2004), it's like setting up an anabolic window before your workout.



Before Bed

When you're asleep, your body is busy taking care of all the processes that keep you alive and in good health. That includes muscle repair and growth. So, take a protein hit before going to sleep, giving your muscles a night-long source of nutrition. In fact, a 2012 study conducted at the Maastricht University Medical Centre involving 16 young men demonstrated that when taken 30 minutes before bed, casein protein boosted amino acids throughout the night, increasing rates of protein synthesis and improving overall protein balance.



First Thing in the Morning

Having just spent somewhere between 6 and 8 hours without any nutrition whatsoever, your body is craving it first thing in the morning. A quick protein boost will give it what it needs and can do wonders for your metabolism. Your liver is kind of like your metabolic headquarters. Fats and carbohydrates can be metabolised easily, but protein requires a more complex, dynamic approach. By hitting your liver with protein just after waking up, you're kick starting it into action. In fact, an early protein boost can increase metabolic activity by 30% for up to twelve hours. Why is this? Essential amino acids, which are found in quality protein powder, stimulate protein synthesis in the body, which is the rebuilding and repairing of all kinds of tissues, including muscle. And this process requires lots of energy, which increases our metabolic rate and therefore our calorie expenditure.


The verdict?

Before heading to the gym, pack your bag with a protein shake and make sure that you take it within 30 minutes or so of giving your muscles a good workout. At the same time, start factoring protein into your pre-workout, morning and evening routines. The average athlete looking for results should consume 1.66 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.



LeBrun, Shawn (2004), 'The Best Time to Take Your Supplements',, 30 September, <> accessed 12 April 2014.

Pes PT (2012), 'Protein ingestion before sleep improves postexercise overnight recovery',, August, <> accessed 12 April 2014.

Steiman, Adina (ND), 'The Truth About Protein', Men's Health, <> accessed 12 April 2014.