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One of the most common supplements for weightlifters is protein powder. Protein powder is extremely popular and touted for its ability to help muscles recover from the stress of a hard workout. Unfortunately, many people who buy protein powder do not reap its full benefits because they do not know how to properly take this supplement.

Firstly, the amount of protein consumed in each shake is important for using the powder optimally. According to a study done by the Exercise Metabolism Group, anywhere between 20 to 40 grams of protein is best for muscle growth. This usually turns out to be one or two scoops of protein, depending on which kind is bought. This will give your muscles the proper amount of protein while also preventing a waste of powder from ingesting extra, and save money in the long run!

Protein shakes are great supplements, but it is important to use them in the right way.

Image Source: Sava Alexandru

Secondly, the best times to supplement the diet with a shake include:

  • In the morning, before eating anything else
  • Pre-workout
  • Post-workout
  • Before bed

Of the four above, the times post-workout and before bed are the most important. Drinking a protein shake post-workout is essential to allowing muscles to recover to the best of their ability. More specifically, the best “post-workout window” is about two hours, during which the muscles absorb the most nutrients from excess protein in the body. Another crucial time is before bed. In a study in the Journal of Nutrition, it was found that the group that drank a protein shake right before bed saw nearly double the muscle growth from the same workout when compared to a group that drank a placebo beverage. This astounding result can most likely be attributed to the fact that the body is better able to recover with the presence of protein during sleep.

While protein shakes are great, it is important to remember that they are only supplements. You should not look to get all or most of your protein from shakes. Try to eat every two to three hours to ensure that your body has a constant supply of protein to maximize the muscle-building benefits of your workout. Using protein powder to its full benefit can also greatly help with muscle recovery and overall gains.

Feature Image Source: Instant Protein by las-initially

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