When is the best time to take whey protein?
If you Google the above question, you are bound to be confused. The internet is full of articles with differing opinions. Some say you need to take whey protein before a workout. Another post claims the best time is just after a workout. Some sites also suggest you add a whey shake to your breakfast!
Your search leads you back where you began- when is really the best time to take whey protein?
Worry not, as we are going to answer your question. The truth is, the best time to take whey depends on your goals. You can safely take whey protein any time during the day. But there are special times and tricks to maximize the results.
Today, we will tell you the best time to take whey protein for-
- Muscle building
- Muscle recovery
- Muscle loss prevention
- Weight loss
We will also tackle a few other related questions and give you a bit of information on raw whey protein.
Without further ado, let’s get to the point.
Best Time to Take Whey Protein for Muscle Building
You need protein for muscle building. There’s no way around it!
To build muscle, we need to intake more protein than our body burns during exercise. Whey can provide us with a boost of amino acids and drive protein synthesis.
You can add whey protein to your routine and meet your daily protein intake goals to build muscle mass.
Now, let’s see when you should take whey protein to build muscles.
Scientists believe the best time to take whey protein to build muscles is within 30 minutes of working out. This period is called the “anabolic window” and helps our bodies get the maximum results out of protein.
If your goal is muscle building, you need to consume a fast-absorbing protein like whey right after you work out. Current research indicates that the anabolic window is not so short as scientists first thought. You can take whey protein for muscle growth within 2 hours of working out.
But the faster you take it, the better are the results!
People who work out on an empty stomach can also add whey protein to their breakfast.
Best Way to Take:
The best way to take whey is with plain water within 15 – 30 minutes of exercising. You can have it with almost anything, but water is the best. Don’t take whey protein with milk as whey comes from milk. Adding milk to whey wastes the whole point of having whey as you introduce the carbs and fat again.
Best Time to Take Whey Protein for Muscle Recovery
We talked about how our bodies crave fast-digestible protein after working out in “Why Whey Protein is Considered the Best of All.” Let’s go over it quickly once more.
When we train or lift weights, our muscle fibers get torn. At this point, our bodies need fast-absorbing protein like whey. Our bodies quickly absorb the whey and deliver the amino acids directly to the muscles. The amino acids then help recover and repair muscle fibers by facilitating protein synthesis.
Science also shows that having whey after working out reduces soreness and improves performance and recovery.
According to another study, 11 cyclists who took whey during training recovered better with less muscle soreness.
People who are into resistance training can also get the same results by taking whey post-workout.
Best Way to Take:
Mix whey powder with plain water and consume within 15 – 30 minutes of working out.
The Rate of Whey Protein Intake Matters
Research shows the rate at which you consume whey protein makes a difference in the results. In studies, participants who took 20 – 25-grams protein at a go benefited with more amino acids in their blood. On the other hand, people who divided the dose had lower levels of amino acids.
So take your whey protein in a single dose of 20 – 25-grams for muscle building and recovery.
Best Time to Take Whey Protein to Prevent Muscle Loss
We lose muscles as we age. Each decade after 30-years of age makes you lose 3% to 8% muscle mass. That’s why old folks are more prone to fractures.
Supplementing with whey protein can actively prevent muscle loss related to age. Older adults should look to consume at least 20 to 25-grams of protein per meal.
Adding whey supplement to meals with low protein intake is the best to prevent muscle loss. The exact timing doesn’t matter much.
Best Way to Take:
Include whey protein with meals that lack enough protein. It’s best to consume whey with water to prevent any digestive problems. Also, maintain your daily protein intake.
Best Time to Take Whey for Weight Loss
Protein is often included in diets that promote weight loss. For example, the popular keto diet is a high-protein, low-carb diet. Having more protein and reducing carbs put our bodies in a state called ketosis. During this state, our bodies burn fat to produce energy and help you lose weight.
Protein like whey also reduces the hunger hormone ghrelin and increases levels of hunger-reducing hormones. As a result, you keep feeling full throughout the day.
A study published in Nutrition Journal also supports the fact. People who consumed a high-protein yogurt at the noon ate 100 calories less during dinner. People who ate crackers or chocolate as snacks ended up consuming more calories at dinner. (Both the yogurt and crackers have the same amount of calories)
The best time to take whey protein for weight loss is between meals. You can curb your cravings and eat less junk food. By limiting carbs, we can also force our bodies to burn fat more effectively.
Best Way to Take:
You can take whey with water or fruit shakes between meals to cut down calorie intake.
The Best Way to Take Whey Protein
As we already said, the best way to take whey protein is with plain water. Never mix it with milk even though you can have whey with fruit shakes or juices.
- If your goal is muscle recovery, take whey protein with some carbs for best results (within 30 minutes of exercising).
- For muscle building, take whey protein 15 to 30 minutes after working out. Consume it with plain water for quick absorption and optimum results.
- Take whey protein with water or low-fat drinks for weight loss. You can supplement with whey between meals.
- Never take your whey protein right after heavy meals. Wait at least 1 to 2 hours.
How Much Whey Protein Should You Take?
You can take around 50-grams of whey protein per day without any concern. You can also take more depending on your protein intake goals. All proteins are safe and don’t damage the liver or kidneys as people earlier thought.
Divide your whey protein into two doses of 20 – 25-grams each. Have one dose right after working out for muscle growth and recovery. You can take the other dose any time during the day. Just keep some gap after heavy meals like lunch.
Taking Whey Protein Before Going to Bed
It’s not a good idea to take whey protein before bed. It’s not going to harm you but may not provide expected results.
The reason is our bodies need a slow-digesting protein while we sleep to provide a steady supply of amino acids.
Whey is a fast-digesting protein and will be absorbed our bodies quickly. So you are not going to get optimum results.
Is it Safe to Take Raw Whey Protein
Raw whey protein is actually whey concentrate. It’s the stuff we get right after separating them and casein from the milk. Whey protein concentrate is quite affordable and contains some other nutrients. It’s also flavorless and doesn’t contain any additives or processed substances.
Whey concentrate is further processed to derive whey protein isolate.
Some people think raw whey is unsafe and causes digestive problems as they don’t contain digestive enzymes. But this is a myth, and people who can tolerate lactose will certainly won’t face any problem with raw whey.
You can even add digestive enzymes separately to whey concentrate if you have a sensitive stomach. You can find out more by reading “Raw whey protein: good or bad?“
You can have whey protein at any time. But the best time to take whey protein depends on your goals. To build muscles and aid recovery, take whey after working out. To lose weight, consume whey between meals. For other goals, follow the tips we provided above.
If you have any further questions, leave it in the comments!