Should You Drink Your Protein Shake Before or After Workout?

protein shake before or after workout

Protein shakes have become a go-to nutritional supplement for most people because they help boost protein intake conveniently. It’s no secret that protein is crucial for building muscle mass and strength. However, one question that’s sparking a huge debate among gym enthusiasts is whether to consume their protein shake before or after workout.

Maximizing every part of your fitness regimen is important to get the most out of every exercise session. You want the food and drinks you consume to provide enough fuel for your body so that you can achieve your fitness goals.

Benefits of Protein Shakes

First things first, you should know the benefits of drinking protein shakes. Here are the reasons they should be a part of your daily nutritional plan:

Weight Management

Whether you’re planning to lose, gain, or maintain your weight, a protein shake before or after workout can become your ally in weight management. The beverage has enough nutrients to replace a full meal while ensuring you feel fuller for longer. As such, you may notice that you don’t get hungry easily, which means you can stick to your ideal caloric consumption.

Muscle Growth

As mentioned, protein is crucial for building muscle mass. This drink can supplement your efforts to bulk up, especially when paired with strength training. Protein supplements boost muscle size and strength. It can also help your muscles recuperate after working out.

Supplemental Nutrition

The older you get, the more protein your body needs. The average adult needs between 46 and 56 grams of protein daily. Moreover, athletes, older adults, and those with chronic illnesses might need more protein. Consuming food alone might not be enough to achieve their target. That’s why many people opt to supplement their diets with a protein shake.

When Is the Best Time To Drink a Protein Shake?

If you find yourself asking, “Should I drink protein shake before or after workout?”, it largely depends on your fitness goals. Your body’s preferences also play a crucial role in determining the optimal time to drink a protein shake.

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each arrangement:

Pre-Workout Advantages and Disadvantages

The primary benefit of drinking your protein shake before your workout is that you can fuel your body without feeling bloated. This liquid food can keep you full and give your body enough energy boost for your strength training sessions. Loading up on protein helps you complete each session successfully without burning up your internal protein pools.

Drinking your protein shake before working out also keeps you feeling fuller for longer. This way, you can concentrate on building muscle rather than be distracted by hunger pangs in the middle of your routine.

On the other hand, having a pre-workout protein shake may cause digestion issues. If you’re one of those people who feel queasy when working out on a full stomach, you might want to try a different approach to drinking your supplements. Moreover, more studies need to be conducted to determine whether this is the best arrangement to get the most out of your routine.

Post-Workout Advantages and Disadvantages

Some fitness enthusiasts prefer to drink their protein shake 15 to 60 minutes after exercising. One of the top advantages is that they want to maximize the “anabolic window” after a workout. This period refers to the time when your body repairs and recovers from the mild muscle damage caused by strength training.

Consuming your protein shake within this time frame reportedly aids in muscle strengthening and growth. As a result, you can experience and enjoy the full effects of the drink. However, there hasn’t been any conclusive evidence on whether drinking a protein shake after working out is effective.

Another advantage is that you can rehydrate yourself with your protein shake after an intense exercise session. Additionally, there aren’t any known physical disadvantages when you consume your protein supplement after strength training.

The Importance of Daily Protein Intake

The timing of when to drink protein might not be as important as people once thought. As such, more research is necessary to come up with the optimal time to drink these supplements.

Instead of asking whether you should drink your protein shake before or after workout, it might be best to focus on your overall protein intake daily. The average adult needs 46 to 56 grams of protein every day. Take note, though, that this figure is only for those who don’t have fitness goals.

If you want to build muscle mass, you will have to consume more protein. Eating proteins from food sources might not be enough. Moreover, you might end up feeling bloated, which can affect how you exercise. Protein shakes can supplement your protein needs and help you achieve your goals.

There are plenty of protein powders available on the market today. Whey protein is one of the most popular. It has excellent absorption and contains bioactive proteins that offer additional benefits, like lowering blood pressure, helping treat type 2 diabetes, and alleviating inflammation.

Another option is casein protein. It’s not as easily absorbed by the body as whey, so this type is ideally consumed during fasting periods. Egg protein, on the other hand, is made from egg whites and is rich in amino acids.

You can also get plant-based protein powders, such as soy and a combination of rice and pea. The former is a complete protein source for vegetarians, while the latter is low in allergens, which is great for people who are sensitive to eggs, dairy, and soy.


Protein shakes are a great way to supplement your body’s protein needs, especially if you want to build muscle mass. Some people prefer to consume them before working out, while others find that the drink works best after their training. Overall, the timing doesn’t matter as much as ensuring that you’re able to meet your daily protein intake depending on your fitness goals.