Your Ultimate Guide To Protein Shakes

Your Ultimate Guide to Protein Shakes

Want to reach your fitness potential? You’ll need masses of grit, determination – and protein powder to help you go further, work harder and get stronger that you even imagined. Our protein shakes give you the boost you need to be feeling the part, as well as looking it.

If you’re new to protein shakes, it can be tricky to know which one will help you smash your fitness goals as quickly as possible. And even a seasoned pro might need help refining their routine to get ripped or take things to the next level. Put yourself on the front foot by checking out this guide.

What’s in our guide:

Introduction to protein powders

Our protein powders can help you build your strength and lay down muscle. Mix them into milkshakes, hot chocolate or ice-cream and they’ll make every second of your gym session count – fueling your body so it’s growing and repairing itself properly all day and all night.

But to make the most of protein powder, you need to know when to take it. You need a system in place to keep firing on all cylinders. If you’re wondering when to drink protein shakes, you’ll find all the answers here. For example, you only have 45 minutes after a workout to boost your protein levels and repair the muscle mass you’ve burnt during your workout. Also, protein powers do expire – because they contain ingredients including eggs, soy and milk – so timing is essential.

They’re grouped into three main categories:

  • Whey protein, which is extracted from milk after all fats and sugars are removed in the cheese-making process
  • Casein protein is also derived from milk, but has a slower release rate than whey, slowing the breakdown of muscle tissues during long periods without food
  • Non-dairy proteins are made from vegan products such as pea, hemp, brown rice and soy, and non-vegan sources, such as beef and eggs

Drinking a protein shake before you hit the gym can really up your game. If you’re spending hours busting a gut, protein shakes taken during a workout can help replace what you’re losing. And they are essential for your recovery – feeding your body with protein-enriched goodness after a tough session.

Everyone’s bodies are different, so we’ve sorted our guides into four broad categories that can help you achieve performance perfection.

protein shake

Protein powders for beginners

You might be completely new to the gym, but you don’t want to start this great new chapter of your life standing nervously in the foyer. You want to be prepared. Whatever type of exercise you’re planning, start your session starts with a pre-workout protein shake.

If you’re wondering when to drink protein shakes, they’re most effective half an hour before you begin your workout. Rather than picking a shake that’s purely protein based, you’re best off choosing one that’s mixed with carbs. Carbs are packed with fuel – they’ll energize you and protect your muscles from damage.

While experts and professionals might have a shake during a workout, for beginners a post-workout shake is the better option. Again, you could do with added carbs as carbs produce insulin that gets nutrients to your muscles faster, but make sure carbs are in meal rather than shake form. So have some pasta or rice with a full-protein shake 45 minutes after your workout – that’s how long the post-workout protein window lasts.

Here are some suggestions of what protein shakes to take and when:

Protein powders for amateurs

You know your way around the gym – but have you got your protein routine sorted? After years of gym-going you might well have hit a wall or feel you’ve reached your limits. Protein powders can help you break that wall and set yourself new limits.

Begin your next session with a carb-rich protein shake 30 minutes before you start – it’ll give you the energy you need to go further than you’ve ever been before. However hard you’re smashing it, you’ll need some fuel to keep you going for longer by replacing the nutrients you’re losing in your sweat.

Grab another protein fix afterwards – keeping within the important 45-minute post-workout window – and have another before you hit the sack. Casein works best before bed, as it works through your body very slowly, feeding your muscles at a time when your growth hormones are most stimulated.

Here are some suggestions of what protein shakes to take and when:

Protein Shakes For Women

Protein powders for experts

As a seasoned gym-goer, making a protein shake is as much part of your gym routine as stretching. But is it a properly optimized routine or does it need a refresh?

To give yourself a new lease of life, start with one of our specially designed carb-protein blends before your workout. It’ll give you energy and the muscle strength to hit the ground running.

Then, build your momentum by topping up the same shake throughout your workout, taking sips every 10-15 minutes or in one ‘halfway helping’. This helps replace the nutrient loss during your workout session.

Switch to Whey Protein when your body’s in recovery mode. Whey Protein kick-starts your muscle growth, firing amino acids to repair your lost tissue. Make sure you take another shake before bed –one that includes Casein to feed your body while you’re asleep.

Here are some suggestions of what protein shakes to take and when:

Protein shakes

Protein powders for professionals

If you’re a high-flying athlete or a professional bodybuilder, you’ll have definitely established a routine that not only involves protein shakes but specific types of meals as well. You’ll be training for much longer than recreational gym-goers, so you’ll be constantly in recovery –and in need of more protein to rebuild muscle tissue faster. The question is, ‘how much?’

As a general rule, you should aim to take in one gram of protein per pound of body weight – so if you weigh 300 pounds, that’s 300 grams of protein for muscle growth. Any additional protein you consume can help speed up the muscle healing process. Before you get to work in the gym you’ll need a big carb-protein hit – it’ll put you in the right place to achieve peak performance. Keep topping up throughout your session, so you’re consuming a regular supply of nutrients. After a workout is when your body will be most vulnerable, so make sure you take a large shake then, before having some Casein before bed to keep feeding your body through the night.Here are some suggestions of what protein shakes to take and when:

Tops tips for making the most of your protein shakes

  • Keep it simple. Don’t add too many ingredients to your shake – you’ll just be adding calories for little extra benefit
  • Vary your food choices. Mix the protein powder into snacks and meals like porridge or cinnamon pancakes and you’ll be less likely to overeat during the day
  • Do your research. Don’t use protein powder that triggers food intolerances. There are lots of options out there – for example if you’re allergic to dairy, buy a lactose-free protein powder
  • Be consistent. Keep your protein schedule going even when you skip a workout or two – your muscles can still reap some benefit from your out-of-gym activities
  • Eat more than just protein. You need the right amount of carbs and healthy fats too. You’ll not grow and develop without the right nutrition.

Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.

Arabella Ogilvie

Arabella Ogilvie

Writer and expert

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