Should You Drink A Protein Shake Before Or After A Workout?

Protein is an important part of a well-rounded diet, especially for those who are active. Among other benefits, protein is critical to strengthen and repair muscle tissue in both athletes and those who work out casually. Many people opt for protein shakes to get their fuel in for their workouts, but have you ever wondered if you should drink your protein before or after exercising?

The answer: it depends. Previously, it was believed that you needed protein within 30 minutes of a workout to get the full benefit, but that has since been debunked (via Healthline). What is most important is meeting your protein needs based on the amount and intensity of your exercise regimen, not the specific timing of consumption. You can calculate your Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein by multiplying 0.36 by your body weight — the result is your minimum recommended daily protein intake in grams (via Harvard Health). 

Benefits of protein shakes before or after a workout

Whether it's better to drink a protein shake before or after your workout can depend on how long it has been since your last meal. Experts tell Shape that to build maximum muscle, you should be consuming protein every three to five hours. So if it's been a few hours since you last ate, you may want to have that shake before your workout. But don't forget about carbs for energy!

That said, getting your protein after a workout is important for muscle recovery. Shakes can be a quick way to get some nutrients in your body if you've built up an appetite but can't stomach a full meal immediately. Protein shakes after a workout can also keep you from getting dehydrated.

In the end, timing your protein shake is up to your personal preference and schedule, as it is not believed to affect your muscle strength or size, according to Healthline. Your daily protein intake is arguably the more important factor. If you have questions about whether your protein levels are right for your diet, consult with a nutritionist or medical provider.