The Great Protein Debate

Alexandra Absi · Jun 20 2016

Since I’ve known what protein is, I’ve been under the impression that replacements were best taken post-workout, to help heal those muscles faster so they could thrive and grow. This seems so ideal, right?

Or so they say. It’s been long known and indented into our brains that taking protein after a workout is the norm; this is the typical and best traveled routine for anyone who’s an avid exerciser. But, new studies have created a serious debate over protein and if post-workout protein is most beneficial. Well, after much necessary research, I’ve learned that post-workout protein may not be the best answer.

I’ve been living a lie! *faints*(…just kidding). Taking protein pre-workout and post-workout are both Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 3.17.46 PMbeneficial; heck, having a good amount of protein intake in your diet is healthy for you whether you’re exercising or not! But, the truth of the matter is that it’s more beneficial to be having your protein before you get down and dirty. Here’s why:

  1. It helps fuel your muscles during your workout. There are all sorts of crazy things going on in there; our bodies are a complicated place! This is best for your muscles, because while working out your muscles need to receive Brand Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) to “prevent the need of your body to catabolize the muscle itself” (Roussell), and protein does just that.
  2. You’re actually losing muscle protein while working out. Typically, while exercising, your protein synthesis (when energy joins amino acids together to create proteins) is pretty nonexistent or even decreasing; Whereas a pre-workout intake of protein will actually increase amino acid levels during your workout and “may counter the net loss of muscle protein.” (Sapstead)Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 3.22.33 PM
  3. It’s benefits last till post-workout. Not only is pre-protein better during a workout due to its increase in protein synthesis, but this whole protein synthesis thing going on can last up to 3 hours! Therefore, you’re still benefiting from protein even post-workout, without actually consuming it again. (Take that, post-protein!)

As I mentioned initially, there are still many benefits to post-protein. For those really looking to magnify their results and get maximum muscle growth, protein consumption after a workout boosts “the effectiveness of your workout and promote[s] recovery and adaptation.” (Sapstead). You can even have a protein shake before and after your workout to really maximize results. But, like I said, even a pre-protein shake can still carry it’s affect on you even after your workout, all while you’re still getting the benefits of it during. Pre-Protein for the win!