It's common to see people gulping protein shakes immediately after their workout, but consuming a protein-rich drink or snack right before you start to break a sweat is also important whether you're playing a sport, weight training or doing an aerobic exercise. The consumption of protein before and after your workout has several benefits related to muscle development.
Consuming protein before working out increases your body's ability to burn fat and maintain muscle mass, especially during weight training, which breaks down your muscle fibers. When you have protein before exercising, it increases your metabolism not only during the workout, but also up to a day after the workout, according to Muscle Prodigy. The website reports that those who consume protein before working out have an 8 percent increase in their metabolism rate compared to those who only consume carbohydrates. Protein also helps muscle contraction, which is also why it is important to have some before a workout.
"Muscle & Fitness Hers" magazine recommends consuming around 20 grams of protein no more than 30 minutes before you begin your workout. The magazine recommends pairing the protein with 30 grams of carbohydrates that get digested slowly, for example, a cup of oatmeal or a medium-sized apple. Use powdered whey protein, which you can easily measure for an exact amount. Whey protein gets digested quickly and supports blood flow to the muscles.
Consuming protein after your workout helps to promote the growth and recovery of your muscles. "Muscle & Fitness Hers" recommends taking 40 grams of protein as soon as you finish working out, while Muscle Prodigy suggests between 20 and 45 grams. Again, protein shakes are an ideal choice because they allow you to measure the exact amount of protein you consume.
Although you can get protein from a wide range of courses, including nuts, yogurt, cheese and beef jerky, protein shakes are a suitable choice when you are working out. Many shakes come pre-packaged and do not require refrigeration, which means you can throw a shake in your gym bag and easily have it when you need it. If you prefer to mix your own shakes, use yogurt and a variety of fruits. Change the fruit combinations so you don't get into a flavor rut.
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.