You should have protein before or after a workout

You’ve probably heard of pre-workout protein and eating protein after a workout, but when should you have protein? Think of protein as a building block of muscle growth – it’s the foundation of lean muscle and essential when starting your strength training journey. But, instead of sandwiches your cardio or weight-bearing ab workouts with a protein shake in the morning and a protein bar in the afternoon, it’s best to limit your intake because too much protein can interfere with other important body functions.1

Whether you consume protein before or after work is usually not considered.2 However, if you want to build muscle, the amount and timing of your protein-packed snack with your workout makes a difference.

That being said, we’ll dive deeper into everything you need to know about including protein in your workout routine in this guide.

How much protein do you need?

You might be looking at your protein powder right now and asking yourself, Should I drink a protein shake before or after a workout?? This is a fair question but you have to answer the first question, Do I need to drink protein shake at all?

Although we need protein, how much better it is is debatable. But there are a few numbers to keep in mind:3

  • 1.2 – 1.7 g – This amount of protein per kilogram of body weight is acceptable range for people who gain weight regularly. However, this number can be shaky. For example, fitness expert Jeff Nippard recommends 1.6 to 2.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, depending on your goals. This equates to about 1 gram per pound of body weight.4
  • 0.8 g – This is the recommended daily amount of protein per kilogram of body weight as recommended by the World Health Organization. It is converted to 0.36 grams per pound. If you weigh 180 pounds it means you need about 65 grams of protein. Keep in mind that it is recommended for sitting adults to maintain their health.
  • 1 gram – As you get older, you start to lose muscle. Once you are between 40 and 50 years of age, your protein intake should be reduced to 1 gram per kilogram of body weight to prevent muscle wasting.

Note: Your body can only use so much protein to build muscle. Eating extra protein shakes after your workout won’t help you build double muscle when you’ve already mixed up your pre-workout smoothie — and it can lead to your kidneys overdriving. In addition, you need to avoid replacing your daily carbohydrates with extra protein powders to make sure your body has everything it needs to function optimally.

When should I eat protein?

When planning your protein intake, you may want to consider the type and timing of your workout, such as “Do you usually workout in the morning or evening?” While it doesn’t matter if you sip on your jerk before or after going to the gym, research has shown that there are other things to consider when eating protein.5 These include:

  • During your workout – A pre-workout protein shake can be what your body needs to perform a solid lineup of deadlifts, squats and bench presses. But, if you only eat a balanced diet, you don’t need to add protein shakes to the menu. For example, workouts after breakfast or lunch usually lend themselves to post-workout protein shakes. That said, if you work out late at night, the protein shake after a workout can be very heavy. Instead, choose a lighter option like a nut bar or bowl.
  • Workout performance – When deciding when to eat your protein shake or bar, consider how your body responds. For example, you may want to avoid a pre-workout snack if it makes you feel bloated and slows down your performance at the gym.
  • Carrying effect – One argument in favor of pre-workout shaking is that eating protein before a workout has a carryover effect that can last for more than an hour. After your workout.6 Before using it as a specific reason to go for a pre-workout, remember that your body does not know the difference between protein from shaking or protein from food, so you can still feel this effect if you eat before your workout.
  • Anabolic response – For those who are in favor of post-workout protein they usually refer to the anabolic response and anabolic window, a term used by strength trainers to refer to the 15 minutes of a workout when it is believed that protein intake can help increase muscle mass. While there is some truth to this notion, it is probably overstated. If you don’t fast before your workout, your system may have enough nutrients and protein to help you gain muscle.4

Whether you are taking protein for muscle repair or recovery, muscle growth, etc., when you take your protein supplement depends on your body, exercise and fitness goals.

Build muscle in Choose Fitness

So, should you have protein before or after a workout? Generally, it does not matter and should be personalized for your body and workout so that you can continue your best work and meet your fitness goals.

For a gym experience that makes a difference, check out any one of Choose Fitness Location.

Our gym has everything you need to build your muscles, including free weights and team training sessions to strengthen your fitness routine. Also, you can increase your performance and maximize your profits with us Choose mixture.


  1. WebMD. Will eating more protein help your body gain muscle faster?
  2. American Physiological Society. Stimulation of net muscle protein synthesis through intake of Hui protein before and after exercise.
  3. Mayo Clinic. Are you getting too much protein?
  4. Jeff Nippard. The smartest way to use protein to build muscle (science has explained).
  5. Newsweek. Should you drink protein shakes before or after a workout?
  6. Should I drink a protein shake before or after a workout?

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