HEALTH & FITNESS ARTICLES
Get The Most from your SupplementsStop Wasting Your Protein Powder! How To Squeeze More Results Out Of Each Scoop Of Protein Powder You Take
By Nick Nilsson
Without knowing when and how to take your protein powder for best results, you could be flushing your gains directly down the toilet!
Here is a list of the when, why and how of effective protein supplementation, ranked in order of importance.
1. Immediately After A Workout
If you only take protein powder once per day, this is the absolute best time to take it. Immediately after you finish your workout, your body needs raw materials to rebuild and recover with. If you don't supply the raw materials through eating, your body will break down muscle from elsewhere in your body in order to rebuild the damaged areas. This is very counterproductive as you can well imagine.
By taking in some protein (20 to 30 grams or so) within minutes after exercise, you provide your body with the raw materials it needs to recover without breaking down its own muscle tissue.
2. An Hour After A Workout
About an hour following a workout, your body has settled down from the excitement and is ready to really start rebuilding. The protein that you took in immediately following the workout has been metabolized and your body is looking for more. Another protein shake at this time is a good way to help speed recovery. Try to take in another 20 to 30 grams about an hour after working out.
3. First Thing In The Morning
Immediately upon waking, or as soon after that as you can manage, take a scoop of protein powder. Your body has just been through an (approximately) 8 hour fast and is hungry for nutrients. Feed your body!
Protein powder is more quickly assimilated than solid food and gets into your muscles faster. This protein shot gives your metabolism a boost, which can help with fat loss. Be sure to follow it with a good breakfast, of course.
4. Last Thing At Night
Prepare your body for the long overnight fast by giving it a little something to work with. A good combination for this purpose is to mix a scoop of whey protein in with a small glass of milk.
5. In-between Meals
A quick protein shake can be a great snack in between meals. It helps keep your body supplied with protein all day long. This is especially useful if you tend to have long periods of time in-between meals. It could mean the difference between losing muscle and building or keeping muscle!
6. With Meals
Taking a protein supplement with meals is a handy way to increase the protein content of a meal. This is perfect for when you eat a meal that is somewhat low in protein.
7. In The Middle Of The Night
This is a trick that bodybuilders sometimes use in order to keep their muscles supplied with protein throughout the night. Keep a pre-mixed protein shake right beside your bed. Although some trainers have been known to set alarms to wake up to drink it, I prefer to have it there waiting just in case I wake up, but I don't try to wake up on purpose. If I don't wake up, it's right there ready for me to drink first thing in the morning! This strategy is more targeted for muscle growth rather than fat loss.
Never drink a protein supplement immediately before working out!
Some people do this thinking that it will give them an energy boost or give them a head-start for post-workout recovery. Basically, all it does is sit in their stomach and bloat them up. Valuable blood that should be going to working muscles gets sent to the digestive system to try and digest it. The same warning goes for taking protein during a workout. Don't do it!
Taking protein powder is not going to make up for poor diet or a bad program but it can definitely help to support you in your training efforts. Take it at the right time and you'll get the most bang for your buck!
Nick Nilsson is Vice-President of the online personal training company BetterU, Inc. He has a degree in Physical Education and Psychology and has been inventing new training techniques for more than 16 years. Nick is the author of a number of bodybuilding eBooks including "Metabolic Surge - Rapid Fat Loss," "The Best Exercises You've Never Heard Of," "Gluteus to the Maximus - Build a Bigger Butt NOW!" and "The Best Abdominal Exercises You've Never Heard Of" all available at (Fitness-ebooks.com).