Protein is one of the supplements that generates the most controversy and generates the most articles. Demonized by a part of the public and almost beatified on the other hand, proteins are one of the star products in any gym or sports supplement store.
Much has already been written about them and the suitability of taking them, their benefits or the possible existing scams related to this product. In addition, it should be noted that there are several types of proteins (isolated, isolated, hydrolyzed …), something that we must take into account depending on what our objectives are.
But above all this, there is a question that shines above all and is one of the most questioned: Should we take the protein before or after training?
What are proteins and what is their function?
Proteins are one of the main macronutrients (along with carbohydrates and fats) that we need to consume to provide proper nutrition to our body, and are basic in the construction and muscle maintenance tasks (in addition to other functions), there is recommended, in adolescents, pregnant women and elderly people, to increase the consumption of protein. Likewise, they also serve as an energy source (although they are not the main source) contributing 4 kilocalories for each gram (the same amount as carbohydrates).
This macronutrient is found mainly in foods of animal origin , but there are also numerous sources of proteins of vegetable origin (essential for those who follow a vegan diet ).
The importance of proteins can be observed in the cases in which they become the main source of energy, since when they are responsible for the construction and maintenance of muscle mass, when our body comes to them for energy there is a high percentage of probabilities that a muscular degradation takes place and, therefore, we lose muscle mass . That’s why a balanced diet is so important.
Relationship of the protein with obesity
When we speak of sedentary and obese people, one of our main allies will be precisely the increase of protein consumption , since in addition to helping to satisfy us , they will prevent that while we are losing fat, we also lose muscle mass (or that we do not lose as much muscle mass as would be presumed).
How much protein should we consume?
This is undoubtedly the first question that everyone asks: How much protein is recommended? Depending on our activity and objectives, this amount will vary, but the average consumption for a “normal” person should be between 1.2 and 1.8 g of protein per kg of body weight (we could even round this figure to 2 g of protein per kg of body weight). But this is an orientation.
If we follow the WHO recommendations, the amount of protein would be between 0.8 and 1 g per kg per day for a “normal” person. For adults and physically active, this amount could be between 1.8 and 2.5 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. And no, and l sex is not decisive when calculating the amount of protein to eat (although in the case of women should take into account factors specific to the hormonal processes them).
What types of protein shakes are there?
While we could deepen and dissect more the supply of protein shakes, we will catalog these in three main classes:
Are those protein supplements that have a higher purity (90-95%). They are the highest quality but, on the other hand, they are also the most expensive in the market. In them the lactose is eliminated.
They are “pre-digested” proteins and, therefore, of faster absorption. In addition, it is a fairly pure type of protein (reaching up to 90%).
It is the least pure variety of protein, contains lactose (something to be taken into account by those who are intolerant) and are cheaper and more tasty (it is usually the type of protein most marketed both for its price and the variety of flavors).
When should we consume the proteins?
Depending on the amount of protein ingested, it will take more or less time to be absorbed by our body. If for example, we eat a large dish that contains a high amount of protein and our body takes 4 to 6 hours to completely absorb the nutrients (it is not the same as the time it takes the body to absorb nutrients than the time it takes perform the digestive process), and we plan to train before that time, then perhaps it would not be necessary to consume more protein before training.
If, on the other hand, the food has not been very copious or has spent more time than necessary for our body to absorb nutrients, it might be advisable to ingest a small amount (around 20 grams) of protein, which comes being approximately the amount of a scoop or scoop. Personally, I prefer to consume a handful of nuts, such as nuts or peanuts, between 30 and 40 minutes before training.
Is there an anabolic window to take proteins?
Those who defend the necessity or obligation to ingest proteins after training do so, to a large extent, defending the concept of ” anabolic window ” (although in many cases they use this term incorrectly since they talk about 30 minutes as a margin and has shown that this period can be extended for at least two hours after training).
Personally, the option I like the most is to take the proteins after training, since proteins also help in muscle recovery.
As soon as you finish training, the process of degradation of our body’s proteins begins, and ingesting a quantity of proteins (between 20 and 40 grams) is a good way to stop this process. In addition, after training our muscles will be more predisposed to the stimulus received by protein intake, so it is a good time to take this shot.
What proteins are better as pre- and post-training?
Although as post-exercise almost any type of protein could be recommended / consumed, if we are going to ingest a protein shake before our routine , undoubtedly the best option would be whey proteins , since they are those that are digested and absorbed faster for our body and, as a rule, have high amounts of leucine, which is responsible for stimulating more directly muscle growth .