Protein Timing | Optimum Recovery

It could be argued that the two most important times to consume protein are at breakfast and within 30 minutes of completing your training. But adhering to these very basic guidelines probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense for athletes who train at 5AM. Confusion abounds when it comes to protein, and you have more than a few opinions for protein timing and selection. When it gets right down to it, there is no single answer. So we're going to break down a few logical options for some of the most popular fitness-oriented goals.

Our subjects will be a bodybuilder, a broad categorization we're applying to anyone interested in building muscle mass without accumulating fat. Next comes the cover model, which we'll define as anyone who works hard at looking great in a swim suit and staying in top physical condition. Then there's our weekend warrior, who's pretty much any busy adult who plays and trains hard whenever they get the chance. Most active adults will find themselves relating to one or several of these groups.

You don't have to flex for a panel of judges to be considered a bodybuilder. Maybe you'd just enjoy building up your arms and chest. That's how it begins with lots of gym rats. The trick it to not eat yourself out of a great physique. Successful bodybuilding entails diet as much as physical labor. Generally speaking, you want to consume about a gram of protein per pound of body weight every day. Now if you weigh in at 180 pounds, that amounts to 180 grams of protein. Not all in one sitting, of course. To keep their metabolism running and amino acids from protein flowing to developing muscles, many bodybuilders consume 5 to 7 small meals spread approximately 2 to 3 hours apart. This practice helps you avoid the food coma that can set in after stuffing yourself at lunch or dinner.

If you work out first thing in the morning, you might want to mix up a really fast-acting whey protein shake right after getting out of bed. It'll put those muscle building aminos right to work breaking the fast you endured while sawing logs for 7 or 8 hours. Hitting the gym on an empty stomach is the polar opposite of racing 400 meters after Thanksgiving dinner and equally unproductive. After weight training, sit down to some scrambled eggs and whole wheat toast. That'll get you through to your mid-day snack. Here's how the day stacks up.

The micellar casein shake digests slowly, feeding rebuilding muscles with a steady stream of amino acids while you sleep. Of course, rise and shine workouts aren't for everyone. So we've put together bodybuilder protein timing suggestions for afternoon and evening training sessions.

You'll notice the substitution of NitroCore 24 for Gold Standard 100% Whey pre-workout. Since NitroCore 24 is a blend of 10 proteins offering fast, intermediate and slow digestive rates, it's the ideal choice for people who only want to buy one protein. More advanced athletes can oftentimes benefit from using more than one type, but it's nice to know your options.

Maybe you don't daydream endlessly about a modeling or an acting career. If you wouldn't mind looking like a model, then you're probably watching what you eat in much the same way as the bodybuilder we just covered. There's a lot to be gained and lost by fueling your goals with small meals every few hours. What you'll lose is belly fat. Especially when you hit the gym with determined regularly.

Now when you work out at your fitness center or health club, do you ever venture into the weight room? It can be an intimidating corner of the gym, what with all the mechanical contraptions and racks of plates. Kind of like a medieval dungeon. The thing is, lifting weights benefits weight loss and maintenance efforts in a way that cardio can't.

Although endless hours on a treadmill will burn fat, it can also deplete muscle tissue. Resistance training builds and tones lean mass which can increase the fat burning capacity of your metabolism. So pushing some iron can help keep you from looking like a skin-flint with bird legs and stick arms. That's definitely not the profile you're going for.

Let's plan out your protein use on a typical cardio day, and then on a day when you're clanking plates with the big boys. You'll want to do cardio in between the days that you work the weights, to give your muscles time to recover and rebuild. For simplicity's sake, we'll assume that you work out mid-morning. Use the bodybuilder protein timing suggestions as a guide for rearranging these tables to fit your preferred daily training period.

After your cardio workout, a combination of fast carbs helps replenish spent muscle glycogen, which is the carbohydrate fuel you burn up during physical effort. The staged proteins in 2:1:1 Recovery give you a longer recovery window than a fast-acting protein provides. On the other hand, fast-acting protein after resistance training is a key element for kick-starting the recovery process, and the shakes before bed provide lasting support at a time when your body is busy rebuilding which, inconveniently enough, is also the longest stretch that your body goes without nutritional intake.

Your protein needs are similar to the requirements of other athletes. The difference is that you're the one most likely to hurt a couple days after going at it. There are a combination of factors at work here including the intensity and infrequency of your physical effort. Supplemental nutrition can help. So can pre- and post-workout stretching. Do the static type of stretching like you did back in gym class, holding pressure against your joints, as a warm down after training or competition. Static stretching helps keep you flexible.

Before hitting the field or the weight room try warming up with dynamic stretch techniques. These include arm swings, side bends, alternate toe touches and trunk rotations. You can also do ham and groin stretches using one of those boulder sized exercise balls. Performing these at a light aerobic pace for 5 to 10 minutes should help reduce tomorrow's muscle soreness.

Which brings us back to sports nutrition. You're most likely engaging in friendly competitions requiring a combination of endurance and power. Flag football, softball, basketball and racquet sports can all tax your stamina and strength. If you're headed out after lunch to meet the guys for a pickup game of ball, here's how we'd recommend timing your nutrition.

The scientifically formulated ratios of fast carbs to staged proteins should help you bounce back from all that cutting, catching, blocking and running. That's only the first part of the recovery process though. You'll need to sit down to a whole foods meal offering plenty of protein and carbohydrates, and then finish off with a tasty shake right before bed. Not only will this strategy help keep your muscles from aching so much for so long, but if you stick to it weekend after weekend, you might start to notice some enhanced definition and strength.

Wherever you see yourself as an active adult, we encourage you to experiment with the different protein timing examples offered here. You might notice some positive changes as early as 3 or 4 weeks. Just remember that everyone's different, which means that we all respond to diet and exercise programs in our own unique way.
Leave a Comment
sherill howell
Nov 17, 2009
great information !
Nov 17, 2009
For the bodybuilder, I would add the post-workout protein drink (my choice is gold standard 100% natural whey mixed with water or juice). Then a protein meal a couple hours later.
Suresh Subramanian
Nov 17, 2009
The information posted on this webpage is stupendous and the is the most sought after information on the net. I would like you guys to post more information such as this. Superb.
Nov 18, 2009
Thanks this is very good.I was just woundering when is the best time to take my protein. Thanks
Nov 18, 2009
I agree with Rich - post-workout protein is essential. Best time to consume would be 30-60 mins after the end of your workout. Enough time to shower and drink that whey protein shake with a fast-digesting carb to help maximize absorption.
Nov 18, 2009
very interenting the suggestion for bodybuilding, but if you train with the empty stomach(Hitting the gym on an empty stomach is the polar opposite of racing 400 meters after Thanksgiving dinner)your commentary in tha morning at 600 am, what happend with the Gh.
burning fat adding some muscle.
thank you.
Carl Simmons
Nov 18, 2009
Excellent information!
Nov 18, 2009
from 7 to noon the only thing recommended for a weekend warrior is a tangerine??? ya i dont think so. SOME of the info on here was excellent, but some was a little impractical
Robert MIG
Nov 19, 2009
Can anyone explain to me the difference between the gold standard and the platinum standard....
Tushar Mahadik
Nov 20, 2009
Platinum Whey is the ON's purest whey protein ever.
Nov 20, 2009
Gold Standard is not 100% isolate, it contains some isolate, but some concentrate (which is good but not AS good). Platinum has hydrolyzed whey. What that means? i really have no idea, but one thing I have learned is that the more refined your protein the better for you it is. Platinum is more refined and finely processed, giving you more pure whey with each scoop. I have yet to try it yet, currently on a very tight budget but going to try to pick up a tub of it on black friday.
Nov 23, 2009
Very valuable information.
Thank you for this great article.
Nov 23, 2009
George: Direct Message Team_Optimum on Twitter and I'll send you some Platinum Hydrowhey samples. Just request a follow by sending an email that begins with @Team_Optimum.
Nov 23, 2009
Robert MIG: While Gold Standard 100% Whey contains Hydrowhey, it's also made with whey protein isolates and concentrates. Platinum Hydrowhey is pure hydrolyzed whey protein isolates (aka: peptides). Both are high-quality whey proteins, but Platinum Hydrowhey is our purest, fastest absorbing whey protein yet!
Nov 24, 2009
For the bodybuilders morning workout, it has been suggested above that the guy eat/drink protein at 6 in the morning and then hit the gym at 7 am. But what happened to the carbs? After the long night, wont the body need carbs for fuelling the workout? From what I know, if you workout on an empty stomach, your body would end up burning muscle to fuel your workout. Can anyone help?
Nov 25, 2009
Nov 27, 2009
I dont have a twitter account, but Im a fan of ON on facebook. can I contact you there?
Nov 28, 2009
I've just got myself some 100% gold standard. My question is do I have a shake as per normal on my days that I don't train?? OR do I not have a shake at all??
Dec 04, 2009
Hi guys. I want to know what's the correct way to consume my protein, bearing in mind thath my work out schedule changes during the week. It´s because my job´s schedule; sometimes I´m able to training in the morning, and other times in the afternoon.

Jan 26, 2010
i wan 2 know ideal carbs