Knowing a few things about protein and how it works can help you pick the best protein shake to take pre-workout. Protein is a great energy source. When taking it before a workout, you should be sure to mix it with some slow burning carbohydrates to help fuel your workout and keep a steady supply of amino acids flowing.
Why Take a Protein Shake Before a Workout?
Taking in protein directly before a workout can provide your body with the amino acids that it will need to repair the muscle damage caused from your workout. Having the protein in your bloodstream before your workout will ensure that this amino acid is there when you need it (after your work out).
Three Goals of a Pre-Workout Shake
A protein shake should:
- Maximize your strength.
- Minimize your muscle damage, and provide your body with the tools for recovery.
- Provide balanced energy throughout your workout for your mind and muscles.
Great Proteins to Fuel a Workout
There are many kinds of protein available. These three proteins are your best options for a pre-workout shake:
- Soy Protein: makes a great pre-workout shake due to its fast-digesting nature. Soy is often used for people looking to lose weight because it generally is low in fat and carbohydrates. Check the labels to ensure the sugar content is low as well, as consuming great amounts of sugar will be counterproductive to your weight loss goals.
- Whey Protein: also a great choice for its fast digesting qualities. Look for whey protein isolates, as they are easier and quicker to digest, getting you the nutrients faster. Whey protein isolates are a great choice for anyone trying to limit consumption of carbs, fats and fiber while still receiving a large dose of protein.
- Whey and Soy Protein: because both of these proteins are fast digesting, the blend of them is as well. The mix provides you with a better amino acid profile and is a great option for a more affordable pre-work out shake.
How Much Should I Take?
Take approximately 20g of protein and 40g of carbs about 20 to 30 minutes before you plan on working out. The carbs will help to deliver the amino acid to your bloodstream which will speed recovery time.
Avoid fats and fiber around the time of your shake because they will slow digestion. Be sure to stay hydrated during your workout, as water plays a vital role in your strength and energy levels staying elevated.