So it was only yesterday when I was in the gym that I saw 2 guys working out and whilst doing so they were consuming a protein shake. This got me thinking that is this necessary? Would the same two guys go into the gym with a plate full of food? Is it any different? I personally think that protein should be consumed either before or after your session and not during.
Protein During Your Session
Consuming protein during your session could result in blood being drawn away from the muscles you are focusing on and therefore it could result in your workouts not being as effective. The moment you begin exercising, the blood will shift to the area that you are focusing on. Most of you will feel a swell in the muscles and this is the blood racing to this area to provide more oxygen to the muscles. When you consume protein during your session it could inhibit your performance especially if you are trying to build lean muscle mass. Even though protein contains essential amino acids which help build muscle and are the building blocks of protein for your muscles, your body will now be trying to process this protein. Some people will argue and state this isn't a bad thing, however I personally feel that when you are exercising, your body should be concentrating solely on this and not on processing/breaking down protein within the body. So when should you have your protein?
Having protein roughly 1-2 hours before your workout will help fuel your session and give your body enough time to process the protein without it interrupting your session. It's best to have protein with a carbohydrate source like sweet potato or brown rice and a portion of vegetables. By having your protein before your session will allow it to digest and be absorbed in your muscles so that you can use it for your session.
Within 5-10 minutes after your training session you should consume protein so that your muscles can start to re build and grow stronger. When you exercise you are effectively breaking down your muscle fibers and the main ingredient they need to prevent further break down is protein. If you add glutamine to your post workout protein shake this will help maximise the re growth of your muscle fibers. Glutamine is an amino acid that will ultimately prevent catabolism (muscle breakdown) and encourage the re building process to happen quicker within the muscle fibers that have been broken down. It is important to refuel immediately after your session using whey protein as it is very fast at being absorbed into the muscles. Approximately 1 hour after your session you should consume a meal consisting of carbohydrates and protein to restore energy levels and keep the muscles fueled.
What Is Best To Take During Your Workout
A great supplement to take during your workouts which will help keep energy levels high and wont disrupt the quality of your session is using branched chain amino acids. BCAAs for short, are amino acids that are building blocks of protein for your muscles and will help reduce fatigue and lactic acid build up. Essential amino acids like Valine, IsoLeucine and Leucine have been proven to help reduce catobolism during your training session and increase protein synthesis. So you could in effect actually build more muscle during your training session instead of breaking it down. BCAAs are great to sip on during your workout and can be taken after your workout to aid in the recovery process.
Every ones body type is different and therefore taking protein during your workout may help you, it may not. The above are just my personal views on what works great for me and could also work great for you. I do not consume protein during my session but will use a BCAA as it has great effects on my body. Please trial and see what works best for you so that you can receive the best results.