Is it better to use whey protein pre or post workout?

  • I am a 17 year old athlete, and am trying to build muscle effectively. I workout maybe 3-4 times a week for an hour with a combination of running, pushups, crunches, lifting and chin ups in varying order. I am working to increase my endurance as well as mass and strength and I often drink whey protein after workouts, but some of my friends drink it pre workout. I wanted to ask the community if it is more effective or efficient to drink it pre or post workout to maximize muscle gain.

  • jp2code

    jp2code Correct answer

    7 years ago

    Having a protein before your workout will allow you to have more energy, resulting in your workouts feeling stronger, but you will not burn as much fat when you workout.

    After your workouts, it is commonly accepted that your body acts like a sponge for about an hour while your muscles attempt to collect nutrients to repair what was torn down during the workout. That is why it is important to have a quality source of protein immediately after your workouts.

    I would tend to say having your protein after your workouts is more important.

    If you are fat and/or you had a decent meal within the last 3 or 4 hours, that protein drink before a workout is not really needed because your body has energy stored up and ready to burn.

    If you are very lean and/or cutting calories to drop some weight, then you are likely to show up at the gym with no energy. To prevent this, take 10 to 25 grams of protein 30 to 60 minutes before going to the gym. This does not need to be 100% protein, and it would even be good to have some carbs in there to help make you feel pumped in the gym.

    That being said, I should probably start taking a little protein before I go to the gym in the morning because my body has fasted for 6 to 8 hours during my sleep. (Note to self...)

    Wouldn't you need carbs for quicker energy?

    @Esqarrouth, that depends. If you are already overweight, you need to burn the fat that is already on your body. Adding carbs will just make a fat person fatter. If you are working out in the morning, your body already has a fairly good supply of carbs in your system ready to go. On the other hand, if you have very low body fat or you have spent your energy reserves at work already, adding carbs for quick energy helps a lot.

    Without easy accessible energy wouldn't workouts, at least weightlifting also use muscles as energy as well as fats?

    @Esqarrouth, only if you are talking extreme energy usage. Not in general, though. The sports drink makers over hype this for the public.

    Can you give me an example of extreme energy usage?

    @Esqarrouth, I'd say Olympians, someone competing in a body building competition, or anything that maintains 80-90% of your maximum heart rate for longer than 30 minutes at a time.

    Can you provide scientific sources for "body acts like a sponge for about an hour..."? Because other people say that most of the muscle repair is done while you sleep.

    @problemofficer - you didn't quote all of it. You want me to provide scientific sources for something that is "commonly accepted". Good luck with that.

    @jp2code: Then your answer is not reliable and I would downvote if I could, because "commonly accepted" is not a scientifically based argument. I read several other Q/As on this topic and it seems that there is no conclusive research and strong indications that the time of consumption is irrelevant.

    @problemofficer: I did not say my answer was reliable. I said it was commonly accepted. There are several sources that back this commonly accepted claim (see this internet search result), but none of these list sources - as I did not either.

    @problemofficer: Yes, muscle repair is primarily done during sleep, but that is not when the body absorbs nutrients. Immediately after a workout, a body is depleted and looks to fill that void.

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