Should you consume protein before or after working out?

Whether you’re fueling up or trying to recover, protein is an essential component to your diet. Before you grab any random snack, try taking advice from an expert. Here is XPRO for YogaSix GO, Dr. Nancy Lin’s pre- and post-workout, protein-rich snack recommendations:

 

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  1. Hard Boiled Eggs: As one of Dr. Lin’s favorites, this snack had to be listed first. Hard boiled eggs are perfect for anyone who’s on a budget and the move. They're very filling, provide clean protein and will crush sugar cravings, all while giving you energy. To spice them up, sprinkle a little garlic salt or paprika, and you’re good to go! 

  2. Sliced Vegetables with Hummus: Looking for a vegetarian option? Celery sticks, carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, al dente steamed asparagus, or any other crispy, antioxidant- and fiber-rich veggies pair just right with hummus. The crunch will keep bad snacking away, and the hydration from these veggies will keep your body feeling satiated. The best part? Hummus provides a great source of plant protein!

  3. Home-made Granola: Save yourself money and spare your body from excess gunk! Rather than use store-bought granola, make your own healthy version! Granola is a great pre or post workout snack because it contains the right amount of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Bonus - Mix in organic nuts, seeds and fruits to boost the nutrient density. 

  4. Protein Powder Sprinkled Almonds (or other favorite nut/seed) and an Apple: Almonds provide plant protein and healthy omega 3 fats. Add a small sprinkle of your favorite protein powder in with a serving of almonds and pair them with an apple to include the vitamin C, natural energy from the apple's fructose and its fiber. This takes almonds from dry and boring to fruity and delicious!

  5. Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Sliced Avocados and Slices of Turkey: This is the perfect post workout snack, especially after a heavy lifting session! The roasted potatoes provide ample amounts of carbohydrates and avocado the healthy fats you need to feel satiated. Pair it with high-protein sliced turkey, and you’re refueled! 

Now that you know what to eat, the question still begs - when should you have your protein - before or after?

For years, many believed they had a 30-minute period known as the “anabolic window” after their workout where they could maximize protein consumption and their workouts. Today, that concept’s kind of gone down the gutter. New research suggests the anabolic window is much longer than 30-minutes and may not even be limited to after your workout. 

So, what does this mean - before or after? Neither; it’s both! It’s best if people consume a little protein before and after working out to help rebuild and recover their muscle from the exercise.

 

Rather than focusing on when you consume protein, focus on how much.

An overwhelming number of studies are suggesting that consuming protein directly in conjunction with your workouts isn’t the secret to success. However, reaching your protein consumption needs is. Whether you choose plant-based or animal-based proteins, taking in enough protein for your muscles is what will ultimately help you reach your fitness goals.