Is Protein Shake Best Before or After Workout?

 In Health, nutrition&supplements

What to eat before a workout for getting the best results? Well, it depends on your goal. But, it also isn’t the same if you work out in the morning or during the evening. Pre-workout eating if recommended if your workout will last longer than an hour.  The best time to take pre-workout snack is about 45 to 60 minutes before. It should be a small amount of meal. But, let’s see how to get the best from a pre-workout snack and what is the best pre-workout meal?

Protein Before a Workout

Eating protein before a workout gives us prevention of muscle catabolism. Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) increases the cellular process of protein synthesis and decrease protein breakdown during and after your workout. The sources of them are milk, beef, chicken, fish, soy, eggs, baked beans, whole wheat, brown rice, almonds, brazil nuts, pumpkins seeds, lima beans, chickpeas, cashew nuts, lentils, and corn.

 Protein shakes can taste boring, but if you add coffee or chocolate, it is a different story. You may add an extra tablespoon of honey, but skip this if you’re preparing pre-workout shake for weight loss. Blended bananas or strawberries can make a better taste, too.

The best pre-workout smoothie may be one with blueberries, bananas, yogurt, and almond milk. It will provide enough amounts of folate, vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, and protein. If you need more energy, you may add one spoon of honey.

 Parfaits are also convenient as a quick and tasty pre-workout breakfast before a workout. So, if you have exercised in the morning, parfait with cottage cheese, berries, and crushed cashew nuts will keep you feeling satisfied. Besides, it contains a lot of proteins, and it will provide some of the healthy fats.

If you are exercising during the lunch time, a chicken salad with a natural yogurt, nuts, celery, chopped parsley, pepper, and lemon, may be ideal pre-workout lunch.

Carbohydrates Before Workout

There are two types of carbohydrates simple. The first ones are high (glycemic index) GI carbohydrates and second, a complex, low GI carbohydrates. You can find high GI carbohydrates in a white bread, rice cakes, most crackers, bagels, cakes, doughnuts, croissants, and most packaged breakfast cereals.

Low GI carbohydrates are in fruits and vegetables, beans, minimally processed grains, pasta, low-fat dairy foods, and nuts. They are useful for providing energy for your workout. You should take them about 60 to 90 minutes before a workout. A low GI fructose-free meal as oatmeal with nuts will burn primarily fat during an exercise. Therefore, low GI carbs are the best pre-workout carbs.

The timing is important to give the body time to digest the food and convert the nutrients to energy. “Not to eat carbs before bed” is a myth. The truth is, carbs before bed are important for muscle growth. A slow digesting low GI carbohydrate with a slow-digesting, extended-release protein is a healthy combination for dinner. Turkey with beans, or pasta with cottage cheese with green salad and lemon dressing, may be an excellent source of a recovered energy for your morning workout.

 Fats Before Workout

Fats are slowly digesting, so it is best to avoid them before a workout. The only result from consuming fats will be the feeling of sluggishness and heaviness. Fish, meat or cheese, when eaten before a workout, contain more than enough fats so you don’t need an extra fat such as a butter or oil. While this is a recommendation for a usual nutrition plan, those who are going for ketogenic diet will say otherwise in means of eating fat, since fat is the nutrient that is 75% of this meal plan.

Best Thing to Eat Before Workout

 According to these facts, some foods deserve to be called “pre-workout foods”. They are:

  • Porridge and Oatmeal contain complex carbohydrates and the soluble fiber, beta-glucan, so it is a great source of slow releasing energy.
  • Fruit Smoothies are the best choice if you need a source of fast-acting glucose. Besides, it provides a lot of micronutrients necessary for your health.
  • Protein Shake is the best choice if you don’t have the time for making steak or chewing solid food. Fast releasing protein in it, such as a whey protein, with simple carbohydrates, will solve your pre-workout needs.
  • Greek Yogurt and Dried Fruit consumed 1-1.5 hours before a workout gives you a quick source of simple sugar and needful protein.
  • Chicken, Rice, and Vegetables is an excellent old fashion choice for lunch 2 hours before a workout.
  • Wholegrain Bread, Sweet Potato, and Brown Rice are foodstuffs, which should be eaten around 2-3 hours pre-workout due to their slow release. If you plan activities such as cycling or running, these foods are a good source of energy from carbohydrates.
  •  Omelet contains amino acids, which decreases muscle catabolism and promotes muscle growth. But, it should be consumed 2-3 hours before a workout.
  • Banana is full of simple carbohydrates and potassium and this makes the banana a favorite pre-workout food. It boosts your glycogen stores and increases blood sugar levels.


Aleksandra C.
Medical student, freelancer, fitness enthusiastic.
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