Taking your protein shake is a great way to recharge your energy and replenish the most needed nutrient for building muscle mass – protein. Usually along with the proteins, protein shakes deliver minerals and vitamins needed by your body for many biological processes. Here are the three most important moments for taking your protein shake if you want to maximize the muscle building results.
First thing in the morning or after prolonged fasting periods
Recent studies have shown that a pure protein breakfast after prolonged fasting periods is the best choice for athletes, active people or anyone that needs to gain some muscle mass and lose weight. The studies have shown that this kind of breakfast promotes a couple of times more HGH secretion than the traditional protein and carbs mixture or pure carbohydrate breakfast.
Try taking 40g of fast acting protein like whey or 30g of free form amino acids upon awakening instead of your coffee or traditional breakfast. About 60-90 minutes later eat a balanced breakfast containing slow carbs and some (25-30g) of protein.
Right after your workout
After an intense workout your muscles need amino acids to repair the damage you’ve made with the weights. Anabolic hormones are also secreted during this time to help the recovering process. The glycogen is also depleted so you need some fast acting carbs as well.
Taking about 40g of fast acting protein like whey protein or 30g of free form amino acids together with about 80-100g of high glycemic index carbohydrates is a good idea at this time. Actually taking fast carbs immediately after an intense workout is the only time when they will do more good than harm for your weight.
3 to 4 hours before you go to bed
This is a good time to take a slow digesting protein like casein for a sustained release over the night. Cut the carbs 1 to 2 hours BEFORE you get this last protein shake for the day. Carbohydrates – especially starchy carbs can increase insulin levels in the blood, which can interfere with the growth hormone production that happens during the first few hours of sleep.
Try taking about 30g of slow digesting protein like casein before a prolonged fast.
Protein shakes can greatly help in increasing muscle and strength but they are just supplements and should not be used as a replacement for real meals, but as an addition to them.