Several pieces of evidences suggest that quality whey protein helps both ways—build muscle mass and weight loss. Take this research as an example. It shows that protein supplementation may improve muscle mass and workout performance if combined with adequate training and consistent dietary intake. Alternatively, whey protein also supports weight loss. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that higher-protein diets improve appetite, bodyweight management, and/or cardiometabolic risk factors. However, there’s one more point that matters. It is how and when you consume whey protein. Let’s understand everything in detail.
So, What’s Whey Protein Anyway?
Whey protein is made using the liquid portion of milk, which gets separated from the curd during the cheese-making process. Depending upon the type of milk and cow milk being one of the most popular options, whey liquid may contain about 20% and above protein content in one scoop. Whey protein is available in various forms, namely, concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate.
The Right Time to take Whey Protein for Muscle Gain
One of the basic scientific tenets of body science is that of a calorie deficit and calorie surplus. So, to gain muscle mass, you need to consume more calories than you burn during your workouts. But when should you do it? Fitness experts suggest taking protein supplements during the ‘anabolic window’ that spans 15-120 minutes after the workout. However, remember that resistance training and adequate intake matter as much as the timing of protein intake. If you are fasting, start your first post-workout meal should be a source of good quality protein, for example, One Science Whey Protein. In all cases, whey protein provides your body with building blocks (amino acids) that help your muscles recover and make you ready for the next workout. Also, your workouts and protein consumption should be 24-hours apart because it can take up to a full day for the muscles to rebuild and benefit from extra protein.
The Right Time to Take Whey Protein for Weight Loss
First things first, consume fewer calories if you want to lose weight. While it is easier to increase calorie intake, decreasing it may need a conscious effort. So, you can read labels before buying or eating certain foods and drinks. Use a food weighing machine and calorie-tracking apps to keep a check on your calorie intake. Protein shakes are a significant part of meal replacement practices that people do to limit their calorie intake. However, understand that it is not just about calories in a shake versus calories in many different foods in a meal. Consider the overall nutrition profile of foods you are replacing with a protein shake. For example, if a food source provides a mix of protein, carbs, and healthy fats, replacing it with just a source of protein may result in nutritional deficiencies. So, choose a protein source that contains a balance of healthy fats and carbs. Some options include whey protein with oatmeal, smoothie with some whey, fruit, nut butter, and whey protein added to curries (of course! when it has no taste).
The Right Time to Take Whey Protein to Enhance Performance
Based on the level of activities, your muscles constantly break down. A high-intensity workout requires additional dietary protein for muscle rebuilding and growth. Intense exercise knocks over the building blocks of your muscles, and whey protein adds extra blocks that can help make the pillar stronger when it gets rebuilt. Research testifies that supplementing your diet with protein helps increase strength, mass, and muscle protein synthesis–the rate at which muscles get rebuilt. A few studies also show that whey may enhance recovery after heavy exercise and may decrease muscle damage and soreness. Gradually, it helps make training adaptations better by increasing training volume or lowering the over-training benchmark. Take whey protein according to your diet routine. You may take it either in the morning or evening. However, avoid consuming protein supplements with a high-protein meal. The human body has a protein absorption limit (though it is different for every person). Therefore, it is wise to divide your protein intake into 3-4 meals or snacks throughout the day.
Summing it Up
Whey protein is an effective supplement for seasoned athletes, health-conscious individuals, and less active people wanting to limit their calorie intake. Combined with a wholesome diet, exercise, and rest, whey protein helps gain lean mass, retain muscle mass while maintaining a calorie deficit, increase recovery time between workouts, and enhance workout performance. While the right time to take whey protein depends on fitness goals and workout schedule, making it a part of your regular diet may show a wide variety of benefits.
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