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Protein timing for maximum muscle growth and repair

Fitness instructor holding a protein shake

Drink Protein Shakes After Weight Training

Proper protein timing is an important part of your health and fitness regime. If you fail to consume enough protein at the right times throughout the day then you may make smaller performance gains than expected. Also you risk overtraining as you may not be giving your body the fuel to repair, rebuild and replenish muscles after exercise.

Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair. Although fat and carbohydrates are also required for muscle function, it is the protein that builds muscle tissue. However, protein is not stored effectively in the human body, so if it is not used it is expelled as waste relatively quickly. This is why regular protein intake is required.

How much protein does your body need?

The amount of protein you need to consume is something that is often debated in bodybuilding and athletics forums. Some people calculate the daily protein requirements based on your lean body weight, others on your total body weight. Some just suggest a very high amount, taking the approach that if your body does not use it, it will expel it anyway.

Whether or not too much protein is harmful is also often debated. Many people speculate that it leads to kidney problems, whereas many bodybuilding coaches say that they have never seen or heard of such problems. Some dieticians do believe that many bodybuilders and athletes consume far more protein than they really need and do put themselves at greater risk of heart disease in later life.


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The protein equation:

  • Daily Protein Requirement = Lean Mass Weight x 2.75 / 1000

Lean mass is your total weight in kg minus your body fat.

To estimate your body fat use this equation:

  • For men, Body Fat% = (1.20 x BMI) + (0.23 x Age) – 16.2
  • For women, Body Fat% = (1.20 x BMI) + (0.23 x Age) – 5.4

So, lets assume that you are overweight but wanting to build muscle and get fit. You need to determine how much protein you need so that you can cut your calories and reduce carbohydrate intake as much as possible without impairing muscle growth.

Example male: 35 years old, weighs 95kg, 175cm tall. Calculation is broken down into parts to make it easier to follow:


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Body fat % = (1.20 x 31) + (0.23 x 35) – 16.2

= 37.2 + 8.05 – 16.2

= 29.05% body fat

So the daily protein requirement is:

(95 – (0.2905 x 95)) x 2.75

= (95 – 27.5975) x 2.75

= 185.35

So this adult male would need to consume 185 grams of protein per day as part of their muscle-building diet. This protein can come from any source, so long as it is available when needed.

An alternative protein equation


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Of course, you may not wish to do the above calculation. One popular way of calculating protein intake is to use this equation:

  • Daily protein requirement (g) = Your body weight in pounds.

So in the above example, the 95kg male weighs about 209 pounds, so the daily requirement would be 209 grams. This actually gives them more protein per day. As this equation does not take into account body fat it may result in more protein than is required being eaten.

A more sensible equation using the metric system would be:

  • Daily protein requirement (g) = Weight in kg x 2

So the example male would aim to eat 190g of protein per day, which is very close to the amount calculated using the estimated body fat figures.

Some bodybuilding coaches recommend doubling this figure. However, too much protein will lead to increased body fat if you do not burn the excess calories off that come with the additional protein.

The best time to eat protein for maximum muscle growth

Protein timing is as much an art as a science. However, the key rules are:

  • Start the day with protein. Your body is in a catabolic state when you wake up and therefore you are at risk of breaking down muscle tissue for energy. So a quick protein boost helps you to change your metabolism to burn fat instead. Whey protein is best in the morning.
  • Eat more protein as snacks in between your meals. Casein protein is a good choice throughout the day because it is a slow release protein which means protein will remain in your blood longer to keep replenishing muscle supplies.
  • Protein after your workout. Most people are in agreement that this is the most important time to consume protein. Research has shown that protein should be consumed within 30 minutes of exercise for maximum benefit. The best way to take this protein is as a shake. Whey protein is an excellent choice.
  • More protein before bed. As you will ideally be sleeping for at least 8 hours to give your body every chance to recover and rebuild, you need to stock up on protein before you sleep. A late night shake is a good idea here.

Weight training without eating – how important is protein?

Yes! While eating plenty of protein at the right time will help to maximise your gains, you can still build strong, lean muscle when on a normal diet. People were getting fit and lean years before sports nutrition was understood.


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You cannot expect to win bodybuilding contests or athletics competitions if you do not concentrate on your diet too, but you can certainly get in great shape. Many people get fit big though weight training and a relatively normal diet.

Best sources of dietary protein

Ideally you should get as much of your protein as possible from healthy dietary sources. One of the pitfalls of attempting to get all your protein from your usual diet is that you start to consume food that is also high in saturated fat and salt. Processed and fried meats should be avoided, so do not eat more hot dogs and salami to get that protein. Here we list some good protein sources:

Whey and casein protein supplements

There are many protein shakes on the market, read the reviews to chose one and then read the labels on each to learn how to use them properly.

Really the key is to eat well-balanced micro-meals throughout the day. Do not neglect your carbohydrates and fats while in the search for more protein, as these are both essential for healthy growth too. Muscles use glycogen for fuel, and the only source of this is from carbohydrate. However, to maintain a healthy diet consume low GI carbohydrates. Fresh salads with your protein choice are an excellent way to eat a balanced diet.

Possibly the most important thing to remember is to test and analyse results. If you start putting on too much weight or you hit a plateau with your training, then look at your diet again to check that you are not eating too much of the wrong type of food.

Health risks of consuming a high protein diet

Some people believe that increasing protein consumption is not without health risks. While many bodybuilders and nutritionists believe that increasing protein consumption is risk free, leading dieticians have stated that there is a link between excess protein intake and chronic illness. What are the health risks associated with excess protein intake?

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) stated in September 2012 that increasing protein intake can lead to short term problems such as nausea and longer term, and more serious conditions, such as kidney and liver damage (Reported on BBC Newsbeat). However, the BBC have not actually referenced the research so we cannot delve deeper into this new statement from the BDA, and there is nothing currently (Sept. 2012) on the BDA website concerning this stance.

Protein supplement manufacturers have responded to this health warning by stating that on average there is only one case per year. The improvements in fitness and internal health that result from improved fitness far outweigh the risks associated with taking extra protein to build more muscle.

The British Department of Health suggests that you do not exceed double the recommended daily intake of protein, which is 55.5 g for men and 45 g for women. So, men should not consume more than 111 grams per day, and women should limit themselves to 90 grams per day. This is around half of the recommendations above for calculating protein intake.

This is still a hotly debated topic. Athletes and bodybuilders are demanding proof that protein is bad – empirical evidence, cohort studies etc. At the moment the research has only shown that protein is not dangerous to health.

One of the most recently published books on this topic, Dietary Protein and Resistance Exercise, also concluded that there was no obvious health risk for strength athletes on high protein diets. The editor of the book, Lonnie M Lowery, also published in 2009 a paper on dietary protein safety and concluded that;

Various researchers have observed the disconnectedness between scientific evidence and public education regarding protein. The lack of population-specific data on athletes and the equivocal nature of existing data on non-athletes (e.g. elderly and even chronic kidney disease patients, beyond the scope of this review) bring into question why there is a “widely held belief that increased protein intake results in calcium wasting” or why “Media releases often conclude that “too much protein stresses the kidney”. Lonnie M Lowery and Lorena Devia, 2009.

The science of protein and muscle development

This paper discusses protein synthesis, muscle protein breakdown and how diet helps to maintain a balance. It explains the importance of carbohydrates in reducing the breakdown of muscle protein post workout.

This study looked specifically at the effect of whey protein and casein protein on muscle growth after weight training. The study compared 23 people who took either whey protein, casein protein and a placebo. Drinks were consumed 1 hour after performing leg extension exercises. This research found that whey and casein actually had a very similar affect on muscle growth – a conclusion which conflicts with the argument that whey is always best after exercise as it breaks down quicker.

This research specifically looked at the timing of protein supplementation and found that in elderly men it is better to take a protein supplement soon after exercise.

A booklet that looks specifically at the role of protein and resistance exercise, and includes reviews of past research into the possible health risks.

  • “Dietary Protein and Resistance Exercise” by Lonnie Michael Lowery, Jose Antonio. Publication Date: April 25, 2012 | ISBN-10: 1439844569.

The paper by Lonnie M Lowery and Lorena Devia which examines the relationship of protein and health, and mentions how the media continues to claim that increased protein causes kidney problems even though there is no scientific evidence to support this.

  • “Dietary protein safety and resistance exercise: what do we really know?” by Lonnie M Lowery and Lorena Devia. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2009; 6: 3. Article printed in full: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2631482/

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  461 comments for “Protein timing for maximum muscle growth and repair

  1. Rob j
    May 4, 2012 at 2:50 am

    Thanks 4 Schwarzenegger article. He does a 6day WO & I thought it was best 2 take a day 4 rest n between WO’s tho. My friend says it’s because he uses the push/pull method & that’s why he can WO days in a row & not worry about over kill on muscles. This push/pull concept escapes me so wondering if u had any info on how 2 do this & why it works & doesn’t cause muscle deterioration. Thx again 4 all ur help.

  2. MotleyHealth
    May 4, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Our push / pull workout is here: Weight Training Push & Pull Split Routine

    Don’t forget, the 6 day split is better than a 2 day push / pull in terms of muscle isolation and rest. The pros also have more time to rest and eat in between workouts.

  3. Gary M
    May 8, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Short and to the point I hope.I’m 6’7 255lbs and in pretty good shape, but am working out trying to build more muscle mass.I get up,eat,have protein shake before hitting the gym,have protien shake after,eat throughout the day and before bed.I know the body can only digest so much protien in an hour and it takes 2.5-3 hours to digest a meal,so my question is this.If I’m too eat every 2.5-3 hrs,how much protein can I eat at once without wasting money and food? I also eat salads and such,just wondering how much protein I can take in at once without waste. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

  4. MotleyHealth
    May 8, 2012 at 11:33 am

    A tricky one Gary. Trial and error is probably needed. The general advice is to take in more than you probably need. If you take 1g per pound then you will be consuming 255 g of protein a day. Spread over 5 meals will be 50 g per meal. This seems a good starting point. If you slow growth then you may need to increase.

  5. Tan
    June 12, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Im 19, 143lbs..i had drink mass gainer for 3weeks more. I found that it increases my weight and my muscle since im 132 lbs, should I continue take the mass gainer supplement? I started my work-up one month ago. It started to pump up my muscle, but is the whey protein can help me to boost up my muscle gain faster? And how should I take my supplement per day? What time? Your advise is important for me. Thanks.

  6. MotleyHealth
    June 12, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Hi Tan, this article is all about timing, so read through all of it. Only drink whey (or any other protein supplement) if you are lifting weights. Drink after training.

  7. rizzo
    June 14, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Hi, very quick question I have 2 shakes a day one after working and one before bed. The Protein I use contains casein whey isolate and whey concentrate do I benefit by taking this before bed or is there another time of the day thats more beneficial?

  8. MotleyHealth
    June 14, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Rizzo, you may be be better with a casein before bed, this is a slower release protein (digested slower, released into blood / muscles over longer time) so is probably a better choice for before bed. Whey straight after a workout is great.

  9. thomas
    June 18, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    hi i am 24 and just starting to lose weight and goto the gym and want to take protein shakes to help but not sure how to use the product properly also after an hour in the gym i also swim for an hour so should i be taken the protein shake before or after my swim thanks

  10. MotleyHealth
    June 18, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    Hi Thomas, take the protein after the swim. Read the instructions on the label.

  11. Rob j
    June 29, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Trying 2 gain weight while I WO so don’t do any cardio. But I’ve got some fat around my stomach & wan2 burn off 2 show abs. Is H.I.T. cardio a good idea or is ther something better? Again, trying to not lose any muscle I’ve built or a tonof calories since I’m a hard gainer, just want something to slowly help burn off stomach fat. Any help is greatly appreciated, thanks.

  12. MotleyHealth
    June 30, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Hi Rob, you are going to have to reduce calories and do cardio to burn of the stomach fat. So long as you are getting enough protein and still lifting your muscles will not waste away. Pro bodybuilders do cardio to burn fat.

  13. Tonmoy
    July 11, 2012 at 5:52 am

    Hi.I am 23 yrs old and 5’5″.I weigh 68 kgs and workout regularly in the morning.Since I am a student and stay outside the whole day and get no time for meals,how do i get the daily protein required to gain maximum muscle mass and size without losing any muscle mass since I dont get time for meals?

  14. MotleyHealth
    July 11, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Hi Tonmoy, buy a protein shaker cup / bottle and take your powder and a bottle of water with you. You can mix up your protein shake anywhere.

  15. LIS
    July 12, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    Hi I’m 26 years old and weight 77 kgs. I had my 2 kids back to back so I’m trying to lose my baby weight and then some. I started doing the Insanity workout and changed my eating habits as well. I want to get into the best shape possible and gain lean muscle. I just recently got whey protein to help out with gaining lean muscle. My question is can I take the protein shake or do I have to loose weight and fat first before I can start taking it to build lean muscle?

  16. MotleyHealth
    July 15, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Hi LIS, you can take the shake, but do make sure that you are calculating how many calories are in the shake and adjusting your diet to compensate. If fat loss is the key then you have to reduce calories. But you can certainly tone up and reduce fat at the same time.

  17. Dilon
    July 17, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    I am 6’2, and I weigh 255 pounds. I bought a whey protein product from walmart. Is it best to take it before or after my football practice? And how much grams of protein would you reccomend me taking?

  18. Dilon
    July 17, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Also I am 15.

  19. MotleyHealth
    July 18, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Hi Dilon, does your football practice include a lot of resistance training too?

  20. Mark
    August 7, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Hi

    I’m 22 year old 5″10 and around 180 pounds, looking to lose weight and tone up at the same time, want to lose around 30-40 pound, I’m doing about 30-40 minute cardio and some weights 3 times per week and lost 6 pound straight away, I’m mainly eating chicken, porridge, eggs etc and drinking green tea.. just bought some build and trim protein and wanting to know how to get best results? Thanks for your help

  21. MotleyHealth
    August 8, 2012 at 2:45 am

    Hi Mark, for now focus on increasing cardio and doing full body workouts etc. If the main goal is to reduce fat hold off on the protein supplements for now. Your diet should provide enough protein to build some muscles, adding a protein supplement will add a lot of extra calories. If you were just looking to build muscle then extra protein is good, but it will be hard to lose 40 pounds of fat if you are taking in 300 Calories extra in a protein shake.

  22. aris
    August 16, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Hi Motley,

    It’s Aris again.. I just want to know about muscle build up. I read a comment that is almost the same with my question. I’m 5’5 and weighing 194lbs as of now. Already lost 6 pounds due to weight training and bodyweight/HIIT or circuit training. I want a body which is lean but not too bulky like what scott adkins has. I’ve read an article which can maximize weight loss.are compound exercises. I formed it in to a circuit. Bench press.Dumbell press.overhead press.bicep curls.alternating dumbel curls.bend over row and tricep extensions. weight are not too heavy. basically 100lbs for bench/5 sets across (started at 50lbs) everything is around 40-50lbs. Is this right?if i want a body like his? What programs can you suggest for me to do? Also my diet is a little bit different since i work at night. I go to work at 11pm – 8am. I wake up around 3pm and eat breakfast.then lunch 3 hours after.then dinner. but when i’m at work.Should i still eat? What i do now is cook chicken and vegetables and eat it at work.or sometimes tuna and veggies and eat it on small portions. Is that Ok? Will that impede my goal to loose weight?

  23. MotleyHealth
    August 16, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Sounds like you are doing things right Aris. Medium volume training, i.e. your 5 sets, will help to tone and build good muscle. So long as your diet is nutritious with a good balanced of low-medium GI carbohydrates and protein you will lose weight – obviously keeping portions down. The best thing to do is keep an exercise and diet lot (just use a spreadsheet) and logs everything you do and eat. If you gain muscle but do not lose fat, then diet needs adjusting, or more cardio added. If muscle growth stops, then increasing weight training and / or protein intake should do the trick.

  24. aris
    August 16, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Hi Motley,

    Thanks. That helps a lot. I just want to know how long i need to stick with that program. Should I change my program weekly?or until it stops working?Meaning (stop loosing weight)..Should I vary my cardio? I use the same exercises for HIIT..should i run sometimes and not use the same exercises? Maybe my body would get use to it and won’t loose fat with the same exercise everytime.Can you give me some advice?

  25. MotleyHealth
    August 16, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    Hi Aris, so long as you are improving your fitness and maintaining a healthy diet that is lower in calories (smaller portions) you should continue to lose weight. The purpose of keeping a log is so that you can make changes when things stop working. If it is working now, do not change it. Increasing the variety of exercise will help. Read this article: Improving Your Fitness With Metabolic Conditioning.

  26. Nick
    August 18, 2012 at 7:08 am

    Hi Im Nick, I’ve been trying to gain muscle for about a month just want to know if I’m doing it the right way. For the month I was only drinking a whey protein shake after my workout days which was for example on day bench press one day curls and I would drink my shake 30 mins after. I started to see little results but enough results to make me happy and motivate me to keep it up. But now I’m hearing that I need to be drinking the a protein shake on my non workout days in the morning. Is this true?

  27. MotleyHealth
    August 18, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Hi Nick, it really depends on how much lifting you are doing. If you are just doing one or two exercises on a day then you will probably keep growing with a whey after and plenty of protein in your diet. Have eggs for breakfast. You may need to lift more.

  28. Ernie
    September 21, 2012 at 12:17 am

    Hello…Im 33 years old, 6’1, 170 lbs, Just started working out Daily after work from 8pm to 9pm. I purchased amplified wheybolic extreme (which i was told to drink immediately after working out), creatine “Neurocore” 30 mins before work out and cacein “refeed” right before bed. My question is … I have dinner at around 9:30 when I get back from the Gym and then 30 mins later I go to bed so I think Im drinking the Whey Protein too close to the Casein. Should I change the order of the supplements I’m taking?

  29. MotleyHealth
    September 21, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Hi Ernie, sounds like a good idea. Casein could be drunk in the morning to give your muscles a steady supply of protein throughout the day. Seems overkill to have whey, a meal and casein all in the space of an hour or two.

  30. vikrant
    September 30, 2012 at 10:15 am

    hi,i am going to gym to increase my weight,i am 178cm ,62 kg. i have a little bit loose wrist joint,as i am thin.will it be harmful if i do weightlifting exercises.

  31. MotleyHealth
    September 30, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Vikrant, go easy and build up your strength. Ensure your form is always excellent, especially your grip. Do be afraid to perform much lighter exercises to start with to make your wrists stronger. Also, start to add deadlifts, pull ups, dips and push ups into your routine as these will all improve your grip and wrist strength. But above all, go easy and listen to your body – stop if you feel pain etc.

  32. manish
    October 1, 2012 at 7:55 am

    hi, i am 31 year old, height 5’6″, weight around 54-55Kg., i want to gain my weight, please suggest me best protein powder or diet, also please let me know the work out timing & diet timing.

  33. MotleyHealth
    October 1, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Hi Manish, you need to start a lifting program. 3 weight training sessions each week, then eating plenty of protein. If you take a supplment take a whey protein shake straight after your weight training workouts. See our strength training section for workouts.

  34. Peter Lim
    October 6, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    I wrote to you a year ago asking about any side effects taking whey protein after gym workout. Recently switching to a new brand of whey protein, after 2 weeks I start having acne pimples growing on my buttock and back of my torso.
    Just want to ask if taking protein can lead to acne? I am already 48 years old so I believe I passed the stage of adolescence or puberty where you grow lots of acne. On the positive side, my muscle mass has improved a lot after a year of work out at gym 3 times a week and taking protein afterwards. Other people told me maybe I need to consume more fruits and vegetables, drink 3 litres of water and go to bed early so to prevent having acne at my age. Hope to hear from you soon. THANKS

  35. MotleyHealth
    October 6, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Hi Peter, there may be a link. The latest research on the topic (“Whey protein precipitating moderate to severe acne flares in 5 teenaged athletes” by Silverberg NB., Cutis. 2012 Aug;90(2):70-2) concluded that “Whey protein may be the fraction of dairy products that promote acne formation. Larger studies are needed to determine the mechanism of comedogenesis“.

    There has been plenty of observational data to suggest that whey causes, or increases, acne – just searching the popular bodybuilding forums and acne.org brings up several discussions on this.

    Take a look at the advice from Case N on Acne.org who suggests reducing protein portion and balancing with carbohydrates before and after training to aid protein digestion. Case N says that the reason for acne is often due to excess protein reaching the small intestine which causes inflammation and toxicity, which is the cause for breakout.

    I have no idea if this is true, but it may be worth following that advice before swapping whey for something else.

  36. Mehul
    October 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    hi..i am mehul i m 22 male n weigh around 75kg and i have just started workout and got myself dymatise whey protein. i want a lean n good body with nice cuts so if you could help me by telling how much of protein should i take and when as i do my workout in the evening
    P.S- I have just started weight lifiting

  37. MotleyHealth
    October 9, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Hi Mehul, follow the advice on the label and take it right after your workout.

  38. Bbt
    October 10, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    Hi admin, I read that drinking whey protein shake in the morning will cause insulin spike, which will cause fat to be stored and stopping the fat burning effect. So, if I’m in the cutting and leaning process, should I avoid drinking this protein shake in the morning?

    Anyway I love the way u replied every questions, it was awesome.
    It is hard to find such a website that respond to each questions.

  39. MotleyHealth
    October 10, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Hi Bbt, standard whey protein (whey concentrate) contains sugar and will therefore raise blood glucose levels. Whether or not there is a spike depends on how much you drink, what else you eat, and how depleted of sugar / glycogen your muscles and cells are in the morning. Insulin is released by the pancreas in response to a rise in blood glucose levels, and it is the lactose in the whey that is digested and converted to sugar that causes the dreaded “spike”. So there are a few things you can do to avoid the insulin spike:

    1. Cardio in the morning after breakfast – deplete those sugar levels to avoid insulin spikes.
    2. Use whey isolate – more expensive than whey concentrate, but has the lactose removed
    3. Use casein protein (made from eggs) – sugar free
    4. Eat lots of eggs instead of taking a supplement.
    5. Try alternative protein supplements, such as soy and hemp.

    Of course, unless you are not getting the results that you want, i.e. you are either gaining fat or failing to lose fat, then do not worry. A healthy and fit body can cope with insulin spikes, they are a natural response to consuming sugar.

    You may want to take a look at the diets followed by some professional bodybuilders in the run up to competition – they are doing nothing but cutting fat while maintaining as much muscle mass as possible. Read our page on the Diets of Pro Bodybuilders Jay Cutler, Branch Warren and Victor Martinez.

  40. Shane
    October 18, 2012 at 1:34 am

    Hi my names shane ii want to build my body fat into muscle but am not sure how to go about it . Im 26 years old im 84 kg and my height is 5’11

  41. MotleyHealth
    October 18, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Hi Shane, you need to start weight lifting / weight training. Work on fitness too, but mostly work on weight training. Lift a few times a week to start. See our strength section for specific routines to try.

  42. nino montalvo
    October 23, 2012 at 5:28 am

    hi~! with whey and caein protein do you buy these shakes, or are they found in good? also, can i make a fruit smoothie blend after working out and still get a similar effect?

  43. MotleyHealth
    October 23, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Hi Nino, you buy protein powder and make the shakes. Casein is in eggs. Lots of foods contain protein. A fruit smoothie will contain very little protein.

  44. Dan
    October 31, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    Hello,

    First of all, great article above, especially for someone new to weight lifting like myself. I just purchased my first tub of whey protein and was wondering…if I consume shakes periodically throughout the day, does that count as a micro-meal? Diet has been a very hard part for me to change and so far this is what my day looks like:

    7AM – Oatmeal, juice, vitamins
    11AM – yogurt or nuts
    1-2PM – Lunch (salad/sandwich (not always protein)
    3-4PM – nutritional bar (15g protein)
    7-8PM – Dinner (usually protein and veggies)
    * I don’t always eat a snack after dinner, but I’m trying to mix in fruit here.

    So, in reference to my question above where would I even fit in shakes?

    Thanks,
    Dan

  45. MotleyHealth
    October 31, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Hi Dan, to start with just have your shake after your workout.

  46. chris
    November 17, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Hello, im new to weight lifting / workout. At the moment im looking at cnp pro mass protein, is this item ok ? how often would you recommend using it and when in the day ? and what sort of diet to get the best results alongside my workout.

  47. MotleyHealth
    November 18, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Hi Chris, we cannot provide any recommendations on the protein supplement you have chosen, but this article does provide some advice regarding diet; Recommended Protein Sources for Fitness and Bodybuilding

  48. Ravi
    December 2, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Hi,
    I really need some advice. I have started bodybuilding workout just 1 month back. I am 32 years and 56 KG. I am taking whey protein 30min before workout and 30min after workout, one cup of milk, 2 boild eggs and rice. I would like to grow my weight and muscle.

  49. MotleyHealth
    December 3, 2012 at 12:05 am

    Hi Ravi, rather than take all your protein around the same time, take the whey after the workout but also get some protein in for breakfast (eggs are good) and ensure that you are eating plenty of good carbs (vegetables, pulses etc) too for energy.

  50. Rob j
    January 4, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    I’m trying to bulk up, I go2 gym 5 days week mon-fri & rest sat/sun. My workouts tho are around 2hrs. I can c good results in bodybuilding but am worried about my long wo times. I luv gym so it doesn’t bother me but everything I read online says to keep wo’s to 45min, never over 1hr30. Heard it can drop immune system, cause u to overtrain & hit a plateau, & other not 2 great things. What are ur thoughts on long lifting sessions? I no best answer is to try & do it in 45min but I like my routines & seems impossible to go less than 1hr30. Should I take a protein/carb shake after 1st hr or is that a bad fix 2 problem. Sorry for long question, any help or link to helpful info would be appreciated. Thanks for taking time to read & reply

  51. MotleyHealth
    January 4, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Hi Rob, there are really no set rules. Many people spend 90 minutes in the gym. Maybe you are doing the same amount of work as somebody who is doing 45 minutes, but by spreading it over 90 minutes you are giving your muscles more time to recover between sets.

    As for overtraining, if you suffer symptoms then think about changing, but if you are getting good nutrition and rest, are still growing and not catching many colds etc. then you are most likely OK. I’d stick with one post-workout protein shake, if you are concerned about being low on energy eat a larger carb (vegetables, pulses, fruits but not breads) meal a couple of hours before the workout, then something lighter just before, such as a banana.

    If you are enjoying your training and it is working for you, why change?

  52. Rob j
    January 5, 2013 at 5:22 am

    Thanks as always for such fast response & being so helpful. Another question I had is my mon is chest day. I switch each week between dumbbell & barbell. So week 1=db,week 2=bb,etc. Do u think this is ok or should I do like 4-6weeks of db, then 4-6weeks on bb? I’m looking for max muscle growth. I’ve only been lifting for 8months, my friend says I overthink a lot of this. But chest day is one major day I haven’t really been able to add significant weight each week to help progress. Wondering if it’s because I keep switch between db & bb. Again thanks for any helpful insite.

  53. MotleyHealth
    January 5, 2013 at 10:07 am

    So long as those dumbbell workouts are as intensive / using similar weights to the barbell I do not see a problem. Maybe time to add additional chest exercises, such as flyes, if you have not already.

  54. Ian
    January 14, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Hi there. I’m trying to gain muscle. I’m 23 years old and around 63kg. I try to work out around 3 times a week. I’ve been taking a whey protein shake in the morning and evening everyday. Even on days where I don’t work out. Just to have a consistant flow of protein and to supplement as a drink for breakfast etc. Is what I’m doing going to help me gain muscle or is taking the protein on non work out days not beneficial at all? Also, for muscle gain.. should I eliminate cardio? I am desperately trying to firm up my core and not seeing the results.

  55. MotleyHealth
    January 14, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Hi Ian. The best simple approach is a casein shake in the morning and then a whey shake immediately after your workout. whey digests quickly, so you want to be taking it within the hour after your weight training to ensure it it hitting the muscles. Casein is slower to digest, so good to have in the morning. Also, ensure you are eating more – more protein, and more carbohydrates such as vegetables, pulses, fruits. Get a good variety of food inside. If cardio fitness is not a priority at the moment then may be a good idea to cut back on the cardio while you are focusing on muscle.

  56. Peter
    March 4, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    This article is total bullshit. According to the formula above:

    Daily protein requirement (g) = Weight in kg x 2

    a 200 Lb (90kg) man would need to consume 180 grams (g) of protein. However, later, under “risks” it states that, in order to avoid health risk, men should limit themselves to 111 grams per day.

    Have we become a brainless nation? Does anyone do the math anymore? Yeah, sure, get published, get elected, get the clicks — that’s all that matters. Congratulations, we are approaching idiocracy fast.

  57. MotleyHealth
    March 4, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    What the Department of Health recommends is not the same as what bodybuilders recommend. If you wish to build more muscle you need more protein, but if you wish to optimise health, then maybe listen to the DoH. There are two sides to every coin.

  58. Tim
    March 7, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    This is a helpful article, thanks for putting it together. I feel pretty comfortable with the science of protein synthesis and how much / when to consume protein in my day. However, I was interested in what your opinion is on the following topic. As I am sure you are aware, there is an ongoing debate regarding eating before bed. I have an exercise science back ground and I am aware of alot of the literature that supports the notion of going to bed hungry. The idea that as we sleep, if our bodies are in short supply of glycogen, we will burn fat (as opposed to amino acids / peptides). The energy requirement to support a body at rest is low enough that the body can break down the large molecules of fat that we have stored. This is what I have always believed and been trained to believe. However, I am seeing a growing trend in the idea of consuming caesin protein before bed to provide an energy source for our bodies to break down as we sleep. Here, proponents argue that as we sleep our bodies are burning amino acids (muscle).

    What is your take? I find that as I am attempting to build mass I am exceeeding daily caloric need based on my Basal Metabolic rates. I feel as though I am putting on a bit of belly fat. This supports my desire to burn fat at night, am I doing so by going to bed hungry? Or am I comprimising my mass building. I am looking for a balance. I am not a body builder so I am not after extreme muscle growth… Thoughts?

    Thanks in advance

  59. MotleyHealth
    March 12, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Hi Tim, if you goal is to build muscle then more protein, and a slow release form such as casein before bed, is probably a good option. If you are developing a little belly fat then increasing your cardio may be the solution. If your muscles are not getting enough protein they will not grow (enough) anyway so your first goal will be harder to reach. What you need to do though is measure everything you consume so that you can then make changes if needed. Maybe you do not need a whole portion of casein before bed – a half portion may be enough to keep your muscles happy without resulting in too much fat gain. Also consider whey isolates after workouts – less sugar will keep the insulin levels down and reduce fat accumulation.

  60. rick
    April 28, 2013 at 5:58 am

    Hi,
    I started consuming Protein shake week before. I take 3-4 times in a week soon after a 40 mins work out. i am 183cm tall and weight around 65 Kg. i am taking around 150-160 grams of protein powder as per the calculation mentioned above. I need suggestion what i can do better. i am active guy working 6 days. do reply me thanks

  61. MotleyHealth
    April 28, 2013 at 8:45 am

    Hi Rick, how long have you been working out? I assume you are looking to build more muscle. Has your weight training already progressed, i.e. you are lifting more (more reps, more weigh)? You do need to make sure the rest of your diet is good too – plenty of fruits, vegetables, pulses lean meats, eggs etc. The protein supplements are just that – supplements.

  62. adnan ashraf
    July 30, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    my name is Adnan my age is 20. I want to make my body. My weight is 47kg. Which supplement is best for me? I wish me weight gain up to 65kg. Please advice me which supplement I used, tell me a name, according to me I want used Total Gainer, High Carb, Protein & Calorie this supplement best for me tell me please.

  63. MotleyHealth
    August 3, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Hi Adnan, before taking supplements you might need to increase food intake. Eat more proteins (eggs are great if you are vegetarian) and also eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits. For supplements take whey protein straight after your weight training workouts (whey is digested fast) and also consider taking a casein supplement before bed or at breakfast. Keep lifting.

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