The proper time to take your protein powder depends on your goals.
Weight training? Take it immediately after your workout.
Heavy lifting is good for you and the workout itself will make your testosterone levels spike, but make no mistake, your body registers such intense work as stress and starts to break down afterwards before it even starts to recover. And if you don’t receive the proper rest and nutrition after a hard workout, expect little to no gains.
Following a workout, you should take some protein powder. You want the protein to hit your system as soon as possible, so you’ll want a fast-absorbing protein, like isolate.
Trying to gain weight? Take it before bed.
Our bodies do a lot of recovery overnight as we sleep. For those who want to gain muscle, getting enough sleep is just as important as working out. Even more important is making sure that the body is being fed.
For those looking to gain weight and/or muscle, it’s important to know that it is during sleep that our bodies release growth hormones and our muscles recover. For that reason, making sure that there is enough macro-nutrients is very important! In fact, some days, I’ve even woken up in the middle of the night with a huge pang of hunger!
For overnight use, you’ll want a slow-releasing protein so that your body is being fed well after your last, conscious meal. For non-vegans, casein, the protein found in milk is ideal, but for vegans, you’ll want to try either hemp or soy milk.
Controversy about eating before bed
A lot of people disagree with eating before bed. They say it causes indigestion and problems with sleep. They also say that it causes you to gain weight. Both have a bit of truth to them.
We sleep on our backs, so that makes digesting a bit strange during sleep without the natural downward pull of gravity to help food through our digestive systems. However, digestion is an automatic function, so we don’t need to be conscious in order for our stomachs to work. I’ve also never experienced any digestive issues. In fact, I sleep well with a full stomach and find it near impossible to sleep with my stomach growling.
As for weight gain, our metabolism plummets as soon as we sleep, so it’s wise not to eat a heavy meal before bed, even if you have problems maintaining weight like I do. For those wanting to lose weight, a wise idea is to not even eat carbohydrates 4 hours before you sleep. Sleeping = slowed metabolism = carbs not being used = carbs become stored as fat.
Unlike a lot of people who have problems with being too heavy, I’ve consistently have had problems keeping weight on. Thus, the idea of not eating before bed doesn’t really scare me at all. It actually is necessary to help maintain my weight.
Recovering from the flu? Take it with your meals.
If you’ve ever had an awful virus/flu before, you’ll know that eating solid foods is incredibly difficult. Therefore, it’s important to make sure your body doesn’t waste away by getting protein in your meals.
When I last had a flu, I was totally demolished. I spent the first night throwing up non-stop. It took me about 4 tries before I could drink something and not having it rejected by my body. And that was soda. I had some bread in my refrigerator, but just the smell of it made me want naseous. So for the first couple days, I just drank soda and protein powder. It’s not ideal at all, but when you have a serious flu, getting ANY nutrition is important.