Is It Better to Drink a Protein Shake Before or After a Workout?


A protein shake is one of the most popular dietary supplements available in the market. You will not get them only in bodybuilding supplement  stores; they are also available at grocery stores and food establishments, too.

Proteins are vital components of our bodies. They play an important role in promoting muscle growth and repair. This is the reason why most people have protein supplement in the form of a shake while exercising.

The best time to drink protein shakes is a topic of debate. Most people believe it’s better to have protein shakes before an exercise, whereas many people think that it is best to drink after a workout.

We have explained in this article whether it is better to have a protein shake before or after an exercise.


People Doing Exercise Require More Protein

The amount of protein you need is 0.36 gm per day per pound of bodyweight. This is the amount a person should consume to avoid its deficiency.

The above recommended amount of protein is too low for muscle growth and recovery. Also, research reveals that people following regular strength training can double the protein amount, to boost muscle recovery and growth. For people who weigh 150 pounds, this may be around 109 gm per day. To get best results, have this amount in 3-4 meals which are taken every 3-4 hours. You can have protein shake between meals. One spoon of these shake contains 25 to 30 gm of protein.

Metabolic Window: Does It Matter?

Many people think that protein consumption within half-an-hour of workout will help them get maximum results in gym. This period, also called “anabolic window,” can be important for muscle protein synthesis. If you have protein outside of this window, the body will not efficiently utilize it.

Research shows that the anabolic window is longer than half-an-hour and might extend even after workout. Also, it doesn’t matter if a person has a protein shake after or before your workout. In both the cases muscle growth and repair will take place.

Pre-vs Post Workout Protein Shake

Till date, there has been only a single study [1] that compared the effect of having protein before or after an exercise on muscle size and strength.

The researchers studied two groups men, both consuming a protein shake having 25 gm of protein. The first group had it just before workout, while the second group consumed it soon after their workout.

All the participants had a whole-body workout 3 times per week for ten weeks. Surprisingly, there was no significant difference in muscle size or strength between the two groups. The results showed if you have protein during your exercise, it does not matter if it is after or before an exercise.

So, it’s up to you, when you want to consume a protein shake.

Why Is It Important to Consume Protein Daily?

There are different views on whether consumption of protein around workouts is best for maximizing benefits. Some studies have concluded that protein intake around a workout session may not be necessary. However, some studies have found that it can be beneficial.

These different findings motivated researchers to evaluate the results of different studies regarding the benefits of protein intake around workouts. They concluded that protein consumption was an important factor for muscle size and strength, irrespective of whether people have it around their workouts or not.


So, the amount of protein consumed in a single day is important than if you have it for increasing muscle strength and size.

Best Sources of Protein

Both plant- and animal-based food items have proteins and help you meet the daily protein target. Fish, poultry, meat, dairy, are rich in animal proteins. Whereas, beans, nuts, soy, and legumes are excellent source of plant proteins.

Some studies suggest that animal proteins are healthy than plant proteins for building strong muscle, but it brings positive results when you combine both of them in your diet. A protein shake is the best option to enhance your protein consumption, particularly when you don’t get enough from food.

The types protein powders available in the market are given below:

Whey protein

This milk protein is easily absorbed by your body and help you when consumed after or before a workout. The protein has bioactive proteins which has health benefits.

Casein protein

It is a type of milk protein which are digested slowly in comparison to whey protein, making it a suitable nutrient during fast.

Egg protein

This protein powders can be made by using egg white. These are digested slowly and are very expensive.

Soy protein

It is a plant protein which contains all the types of essential amino acids. Soy protein is good protein source for vegetarians.

Pea and Rice protein

These proteins don’t contain all essential amino acids. However, you can make them complete by combining all of the proteins. Being low-allergic, these proteins are appealing to people who are allergic to egg, dairy products, or soy. You can also read about ways to deal with food allergy.

Is a High-Protein Diet Safe?

It is safe for healthy people to drink a protein shake. It should not be replaced with meals. Rather, it is better to take it between meals, or around workouts.

Most people think that consuming protein supplements along with high-protein diets can be harmful for their health. This is because protein-rich foods have been linked to kidney diseases and osteoporosis.

But there’s no strong evidence which suggests that protein-rich foods can cause kidney diseases.

On the other hand, high-protein diets are good for bone health because proteins are effective in increasing bone density and reducing the risk of bone fracture, particularly when consumed during strength training.

So, unless the doctor tells you to limit protein intake due to some reasons, you should continue having high-protein diets.

You can also read about the best protein-rich foods for weight loss.