AFTER completing your workout for the day, after feeling accomplished and sore (here’s how you treat that), according to lore passed down through generations of sweaty (but well-built) weight-room inhabitants, the next step is to grab a protein supplement and let its invaluable juices flow through your body. They’re supposed to repair microtears in your muscle and maximize the hard-earned gains of strength and muscle. But does this tradition and culture of bodybuilders and body-sculpting enthusiasts have anything to do with science? Is the timing of taking such supplements really important?
The convention suggests to drink protein shakes or eat protein bars as soon as you finish your workout. Apparently, researches and studies don’t completely agree with this. For most people, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. For those trying to put on muscle and mass, the number is closer to 1.4 to 2 grams. Research also indicates that there’s nothing wrong with taking in protein before a workout instead if a shake isn’t really what you want after one. What matters is to keep the protein flowing all day until you hit your appropriate magical number. That total protein intake is your key to victory.
Although, according to Dr. Kelly Pritchett, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, from a practical standpoint, our digestive system finds it easier to take in protein afterward. It’s that same feeling of wanting to eat after you just shed off fat during a workout or a game of sports. And if Dr. Pritchett had to pinpoint the most important nutrient to consume post-workout, she wouldn’t recommend protein, but carbohydrates instead. Carbs provide that necessary fuel to get us back up on our feet after almost killing ourselves in the gym.