Q: I finally found a flavor of whey protein that I really enjoy. Now I’m not sure when I should be taking it. How many shakes should I be drinking each day, and when?
A: Good – you have found a flavor and brand of protein shake that you enjoy. This can be half of the battle. Most of us will work for a few days or weeks to stick with a diet choice that we view as unpleasant, but in the long run, such a dieting strategy will fail. You’ll always fall back to the foods you like, and if you dislike your protein sources, you will neglect them.
Now that is out of the way, let’s look at the volume of shakes you should be using. We’ll discuss the times of the day when others have found protein shakes to be useful. Then you can allow your own preferences and schedule to dictate when you use protein shakes.
Immediately upon rising from bed in the morning, many people enjoy drinking protein shakes. Your body has just been in a state of starvation for about 8 hours, if not longer. Your muscle fibers would sure love some amino acids to be shuttled them right about now, and since whey protein is absorbed into the bloodstream very quickly, it is a very good bet.
Mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks – when time is short and hunger for a quick, low fat, and highly digestible snack – are the perfect times to mix up and drink a quick protein shake. Keep your powder dry and mix it at the water fountain, consuming in only 30 seconds.
Before a workout, you may not enjoy a shake. Having a stomach full of whey and water may not sit well with 20 rep squats or an hour on the treadmill. However, immediately following your workout, when your muscle fibers are begging for amino acids would be the perfect time to knock back a protein shake.
Keep in mind that you may consume fewer protein shakes on days when you do not train in the gym – and this is okay. Your body requires fewer calories and fewer grams of protein when you’re not training with weights.
Protein shakes are a great way to supplement your regular diet of healthy & muscle building foods, but should never replace foods. Always enjoy chicken, beef, fish, beans, pasta, rice, fruits & vegetables as well.