Which Protein Supplement And When?

The most used supplement in the sports nutrition market is without question protein. These days, there are so many variations available, the question is deciding which type is ideal for you. This obviously depends on a variety of instances which include timing of consumption (morning, post workout), end goals (improved strength, lose weight), and whether any additional nutrients are needed via supplement form in your day-to-day diet (more carbs, vitamins and minerals).

By considering your end goals to begin with, if you are wanting to achieve plenty of size then a weight gainer is probably the practical choice, this because they usually consist of an abundance of protein, carbs, healthy fats, and a high number of calories. You are therefore getting plenty of quality nutrition you need to support your regular diet and nutrition in one convenient supplement. On the other hand, if you are eating for fat loss, then you will be more advised to go for a protein supplement that is both low in carbs and fat. This is normally the case for most protein supplements; therefore, in the main they are ideal for their basic purpose, which is helping build, or maintain lean muscle. However, over the past few years several diet protein shakes have become available which apart from containing generous quantities of protein per serving and low levels of carbs and fat, they also contain an abundance of fat burning ingredients such as green tea extract and CLA. You therefore get a mix combination of a protein and fat burning supplement. On the other hand, if you are concerned with missing certain other nutrients from your diet through either consuming the wrong foods or just not having enough time (or desire) to organise, maybe consider one of the popular advanced protein supplement or all in one supplements. Advanced protein shakes normally contain a mixed blend of protein to suit different requirements (quick, slow absorption) as well as several of other nutrients including various amino acids and creatine. All in one shakes are very similar to advanced protein, they usually include similar nutrients along with the perfect ratios of protein, carbohydrates and fats per serving.

The most crucial detail to follow during any length of intense physical activity is to ensure you are consuming enough protein into your diet. Whilst involved in any training routine, you need to be trying for 1.5 to 2 grams of protein per kg of body weight. This is sometimes hard work through achieving from whole foods, which is why protein shakes are so popular. Like training though, more is not always best. The vital detail is timing; get that sorted out before everything else.

Pre Workout

Consuming a pre-workout supplement can play a pivotal role in your training performance and your end goals. Aim to intake it around half an hour to forty-five minutes before you begin your workout to allow the nutrients time to get into your body and be at their most effective. Drink it anytime sooner and you are potentially going to miss the benefits, whereas consume too late and you might end up training on a full stomach and feeling bloated. You should aim for a mixture of high protein and high carbs to provide you with the energy to power through you workouts, do not just aim solely for protein.

Post Workout

Similar to the pre-workout supplement, you need a mixture of carbs and protein. Target high GI carbs to trigger an insulin spike in your body, hence increasing protein synthesis speeding the supply of nutrients to your deprived muscles. Whey protein is thought to be after your workout as it is absorbed more rapidly into your body and thus begins recovery of your muscles a lot quicker.


Consuming a protein supplement before sleeping is very important to help your recovery and advance new muscle growth. The body repairs itself best whilst you are at rest, and when are you doing this more efficiently apart from when you are asleep. Choose a casein protein shake and take it thirty minutes or so before getting some shuteye. Casein protein is the opposite of Whey as it is digested into the body at a much slower rate; therefore, it supplies an optimum steady flow of ingredients to your muscles whilst they repair throughout the night.

There are various pre, after and bedtime shakes available, all including ideal nutrients for the time and purpose they are created for. All in one supplements are also a good option, as they include excellent amounts of sports nutrition ingredients and are perfect for managing additional calories.

Of course, you do not have to buy shakes if you do not want to. You can easily create your own by throwing a selection of ingredients into the blender. Plenty of milk and some oats are great for before a workout, as milk contains good amounts of protein and amino acids whereas oats are low GI carbs which mean they create prolonged energy to get you through your training. Change the oats for a banana following a workout, bananas are high in glucose hence supply instant energy to aid your recovery ready for your next workout. As milk mainly contains casein protein (so does cottage cheese), it is also an excellent choice for night-time. If you are feeling slightly more adventurous, mix in some peanut butter or flax seed oil to get your healthy fats.

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