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There are different occasions when your body needs and absorbs protein the most. It’s not that we cannot take protein anytime during a day or night but finding the right protein for right time is very critical for the best results and best performance. So it is very important to understand few basic.

First thing in morning

Break is most important meal of the day with protein being a very critical component. In fitness industry we use a term "Window of opportunity" so as to provide the best nutrients during the time when our body needs them the most, and morning breakfast with long gap between meals and post workout are the best examples .

When we wake up in morning our body is hungry for the nutrients after the long wait for 6-8 hours full night of sleep and we call this as "Window of opportunity". So, during this "Window of opportunity" providing the needed healthy nutrients such as high protein is very important for muscle maintenance and rebuilding. Also whey protein shakes are considered to be the good choice for protein intake in morning because they are easy to digest and easy to make.

Pre workout

Pre workout is where you take protein before your workout. By taking protein before workout it helps amino acids to enter the bloodstream and automatically start doing their job of repairing the muscle tissues as soon as they start braking during the workout.

Now it is very important to understand that protein is not taken just 2 minutes before the workout because protein has still has not interacted or entered into blood stream of your body hence there will be no benefits of it during exercise. So it is recommended to take protein atleast an hour before the exercise. Whey protein is still considered to be the good option due to its quick digestion abilities.

Post workout

The time window of 30-45 minutes after workout is very important for a good protein diet. Take it this way, after workout our body is staving for energy with damaged muscle tissues and looking for different sources of energy, so during this stage it absorbs nutrients more easily.

Exiting nutrients, enzymes and hormones in muscles are already in process of repairing and rebuilding the damaged muscles during workout, but adding protein helps to replenish the required nutrients to build, repair muscles and bones along with other body cells damaged during the workout.

Post workout protein shakes also provide a quick source of energy by replenishing glycogen stores lost during the workout. Carbohydrates, for example, are a primary source of energy and the carbohydrates in the protein shake "refuel" your body to replenish the energy stores in the skeletal muscles, liver and blood. Whey protein is still considered as the good source of post work out protein due to much easier digestion but combining it with other slow digesting protein such as Casein also helps in continous maintenance of muscles after workout.

But when we are sleep our muscles are still recovering so it is good idea to maintain protein levels throughout the time your body goes into a slight starvation mode. Casein which is also referred as time release protein is a good choice as night protein because it has much slower digestion rate helping to release the amino acids over a several hours during our night sleep. Other than this casein is also rich in glutamine and other amino acids which help to work better against the muscle breakdown.

Chart Which Protein to use and when-

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  2. Anderson GH, Tecimer SN, Shah D, Zafar TA. (2004), "Protein source, quantity, and time of consumption determine the effect of proteins on short-term food intake in young men." Journal of Nutrition. 134(11):3011-5.
  3. Hoefs. J (2011), What Are the Benefits of Protein Shakes After a Workout?, Accessed from:-
  4. Belobrajdic DP, McIntosh GH, Owens JA, (2004) "A High-Whey-Protein Diet Reduces Body Weight Gain and Alters Insulin Sensitivity Relative to Red Meat in Wistar Rats." The Journal of Nutrition, 134:1454-1458.
  5. Avid S Weigle, Patricia A Breen, Colleen C Matthys, Holly S Callahan, Kaatje E Meeuws, Verna R Burden and Jonathan Q Purnell, (2005) "A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol. 82, No. 1, 41-48.


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