This article was originally written by Nick Nilsson
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Protein Is Crucial For Fat Loss! – Part 2
How to Maximize The Results You Get From Your Protein Powder. Timing Is Everything!
Whether it be for fat loss or muscle gain, I always recommend taking a good protein supplement. The reason for this is simple: it is a convenient way to get high-quality protein without excess calories.
Be aware, however, that in no way am I advocating that you live on protein powder (like the dangerous Liquid Protein diets that used to be popular) alone. The key point to understand here is that a protein supplement is exactly what the name suggests: a supplement. It should be taken in addition to a nutritious diet in order to achieve a certain purpose, in this case increased protein intake.
Protein powders and protein bars can also be used as meal replacements on occasion, especially when you are on the go. They are far more nutritious than a fast food meal and more convenient.
The most popular and highest quality protein powder is whey protein. Whey is very digestable and is used efficiently in the body.
You can maximize the effects you get from your protein supplement simply by knowing exactly when to take it. Here is a list of the when, why and how of effective protein supplementation, ranked in order of importance.
1. Immediately After A Workout
If you only take protein once per day, this is the absolute best time to take it. Immediately after you finish your workout, your body needs raw materials to rebuild and recover with. If you don’t supply the raw materials through eating, your body will break down muscle from elsewhere in your body in order to rebuild the damaged areas. This is very counterproductive as you can well imagine.
By taking in some protein (20 to 30 grams or so) within minutes after exercise, you provide your body with the raw materials it needs to recover without breaking down it’s own muscle tissue.
2. An Hour After A Workout
About an hour following a workout, your body has settled down from the excitement and is ready to really start rebuilding. The protein that you took in immediately following the workout has been metabolized and your body is looking for more. Another protein shake at this time is a good way to help speed recovery. Try to take in another 20 to 30 grams about an hour after working out.
3. First Thing In The Morning
Immediately upon waking, or as soon after that as you can manage, take a scoop of protein powder. Your body has just been through an (approximately) 8 hour fast and is hungry for nutrients. Feed your body!
Protein powder is more quickly assimilated than solid food and gets into your muscles faster. This protein shot gives your metabolism a boost, which can help with fat loss. Be sure to follow it with a good breakfast, of course.
4. Last Thing At Night
Prepare your body for the long overnight fast by giving it a little something to work with. A good combination for this purpose is to mix a scoop of whey protein in with a small glass of milk.
Whey is what’s known as a “fast” protein, meaning that it’s digested quickly, while milk protein (casein) is what’s known as a “slow” protein, meaning it’s digested relatively slowly. At night, you want your protein to be metabolized slowly so that your body gets a more even supply over the course of the night. By mixing “fast” and “slow” proteins, you get the benefits of the higher-quality whey with the slower digestion time of the milk.
5. In-between Meals
A quick protein shake can be a great snack in between meals. It helps keep your body supplied with protein all day long. This is especially useful if you tend to have long periods of time in-between meals. It could mean the difference between losing muscle and building or keeping muscle!
6. With Meals
Taking a protein supplement with meals is a handy way to increase the protein content of a meal. This is perfect for when you make a meal that is somewhat low in protein.
7. In The Middle Of The Night
This is a trick that bodybuilders sometimes use in order to keep their muscles supplied with protein throughout the night. Keep a pre-mixed protein shake right beside your bed. Although some trainers have been known to set alarms to wake up to drink it, I prefer to have it there waiting just in case I wake up, but I don’t try to wake up on purpose. If I don’t wake up, it’s right there ready for me to drink first thing in the morning! This strategy is more targeted for muscle growth rather than fat loss.
Never drink a protein supplement immediately before working out!
Some people do this thinking that it will give them an energy boost or give them a head-start for post-workout recovery. Basically, all it does is sit in their stomach and bloat them up. Valuable blood that should be going to working muscles gets sent to the digestive system to try and digest it. The same warning goes for taking protein during a workout. Don’t do it!
By following these protein-intake recommendations, you will increase the effectiveness of your supplementation. Even if you choose to take advantage of only one or two of these timing techniques, you will certainly see an improvement in your recovery ability.