Protein shakes before or after training?

Hochwertiges, naturbelassenes A2 Casein Pulver aus Ziegenmilch

Proteins in the form of protein powders are one of the most popular dietary supplements, especially in strength training. That's no wonder! Because protein shakes in conjunction with training have a lot of proven, positive effects.

However, the question of the amount of protein consumption often remains unanswered. Just like the question: “When is the best time to take protein shakes?”

You can find out how much protein you really need per day in this blog article .

In general, there are many influences that regulate optimal protein intake. The questions are therefore legitimate. At first glance, it is also not clear which protein powder promises the greatest added value in which situation.

Practice shows: Many consumers of protein powders in the form of protein shakes do not use the maximum added value that they could get from the respective protein source.

Are you already paying attention to the right protein shakes before or after training?

What is the best form of protein intake?

Basically, when taking protein, the following always applies: Food First. Even though protein shakes have many advantages , you should not cover your entire daily protein requirement exclusively with protein powder. A varied and protein-rich diet should form the basis. Protein powders are just a supplement to this.

Various reasons in everyday life mean that you cannot completely cover your daily protein requirements through food.

Possible reasons for using protein shakes:

  • You do targeted sports and want to maximize your muscle growth and/or performance potential.
  • You eat outside, in canteens or restaurants and therefore cannot ensure your individual amount of protein per meal.
  • You are on a diet - for sporting or personal reasons - and are dependent on a significantly increased protein consumption, which you want to ensure with as few calories as possible.
  • You often eat with friends, family, relatives, work colleagues and others, which means your individual, perhaps increased, protein needs cannot be taken into account.
  • You don't have time to select and prepare protein-rich foods.
  • You have intolerances or aversions to various protein-rich foods.
  • You do intermittent fasting and want to ensure a long-term protein supply through casein protein.

In these cases , protein powders are an optimal supplement . Our body does not distinguish whether the protein source comes from supplements or from natural foods. The biological value is much more important here. The amount of essential amino acids determines whether a protein is high quality or not.

You can find out more about this in our Protein Compass . Here you can find out everything about how proteins work, as well as the relevance of essential amino acids and their biological value.

If you exercise to build muscle, your daily amounts of protein quickly increase by more than double.

If you don't know your daily, individual protein requirements or are looking for good, well-founded guidance, take a look at our protein intake recommendations here .

Summary of how proteins are consumed:

If you want to cover your protein needs, it theoretically doesn't matter whether you get your protein from food, protein powders (whey, casein, vegan protein, others) or amino acid powders (EAAS). It is important that you consume the required amount of protein according to your personal needs .

Protein shakes for building muscle

Studies repeatedly show that taking protein shakes around training has a supportive effect on muscle building. At the same time, protein shakes protect you from losing muscle instead of fat during a diet phase. In addition, it is not only the amount of proteins supplied that is important, but above all the quality of the proteins supplied.

To put it simply: Not every protein powder is equal!
Did you know that?

This topic is often overlooked, especially in vegan diets, while protein intake is generally viewed as critical. If you get proteins primarily from plant sources, you should choose an increased protein intake compared to the daily general recommendations, as the value of plant proteins is lower.

If you haven't yet calculated your daily requirement, you'll find everything you need here to calculate your individual amount of protein.

Fact: The amino acid profile of plant protein sources is inferior to that of animal sources.

This means that you do not get the same amount of protein that the body can use from 20 g of hemp protein compared to 20 g of whey protein.
For optimal protein biosynthesis, a protein shake or a protein-rich meal should contain at least 3 g leucine and 12 g essential amino acids ! Therefore, when choosing a protein shake, it is particularly important to consider the amino acid profile before purchasing.
For example, take a look at the Lykaia Weide Whey Protein Powder .

The following table shows the required intake of various protein powders to trigger maximum protein biosynthesis in the body. This promises the best possible effect on muscle building:

Protein powder Amount per serving
Whey 25g
Casein 34g
Rice protein 35g
Pea protein 38g
Egg albumin 39g
Soy protein 40g
Hemp protein 54g
Collagen* 110* g

*The serving size for collagen is correspondingly large because collagen does not contain a complete amino acid profile. Collagen should therefore only be taken as a supplement and not as a stand-alone protein powder.

It is easy to see that whey protein and casein protein have the best quantity/benefit ratio. But if you want to cover your protein needs with hemp and soy protein, this is basically possible. Keep in mind that due to the inferior amino acid profile, you need approximately twice the amount of protein compared to whey protein powders.
This also increases your daily calorie intake. So if you live a vegan lifestyle or are whey intolerant, you should carefully monitor your required daily intake.


Essential amino acid powder

In addition to protein powders, you can get protein from EAAS (Essential Amino Acids). Just like whey protein , these are suitable as a basis for a protein shake and are ideal for quickly absorbing amino acids in the short term.

· Advantages of EAAS are that there are no unnecessary calories and you can consume them during training.

· Disadvantages of essential amino acid powders are a comparatively high price, various flavor enhancers and the intense (unpleasant) taste, which can lead to short-term bad breath.

Therefore, it is usually worth buying a high-quality, natural whey protein that is free of additives.

Here the disadvantages of EAAs are not as significant or not at all significant. At the same time, protein shakes made from whey protein have an excellent amino acid profile and a biological value of 104.

Important and decisive factors for optimal muscle building.

Interim conclusion - protein shakes:

Whey protein and casein shakes have the best quantity/benefit ratio and are best suited if you have no intolerances. Proteins from A2 milk varieties in particular, such as proteins from goat's milk , are characterized by optimal tolerability because they are more original and natural.


The most effective protein shakes in comparison

There are different types of protein powders on the market. A big distinction is possible between “normal” protein shakes and casein shakes. Normal protein shakes include, for example, whey, hemp, soy and rice protein. On the other hand, there would be casein preparations.

The benefits of whey protein shakes

The best-known representative of the “normal” protein shakes is whey protein, which has become widely known under the name whey protein. This is often the first choice among bodybuilders and athletes. This is due, among other things, to the very good biological value of 104 and the associated price/performance ratio.

Shakes based on this have the advantage that they are quickly processed by the body . Whenever you need protein quickly, whey protein can ensure a good supply.

The decisive advantage of casein protein shakes

Casein shakes have the property that causes them to take longer to be digested in the gastrointestinal tract . What seems problematic at first glance has a decisive advantage over all other protein sources.

The body breaks down the casein protein more slowly and the leucine level in the blood lasts longer. This will provide you with long-term protein supply. This is important because your body does not have full protein stores and relies on a continuous supply from food.

If you know you won't be able to eat for several hours, a casein shake is a perfect choice. At the same time, you can also use the protein powder made from casein in recipes or as an addition to dishes. For example in porridge. This means you stay fuller for longer and don't have to worry about your protein supply for several hours.

While whey shakes usually develop their maximum effect in the body after 1-2 hours, casein shakes can provide protein for up to 7 hours.

The two modes of action can be easily explained using the graphic comparison. Both protein shakes have their advantages and disadvantages. Casein provides a consistent supply of protein, while whey shakes quickly provide a lot of protein.

Casein shakes are particularly recommended before sleeping and at the end of a meal interval during intermittent fasting.

Many casein shakes are made from cow's milk. This is problematic because a significant proportion of our population is lactose intolerant. Unfortunately, a certain amount of lactose remains in casein.

For this reason we have developed A2 casein, which comes from goat's milk. This is not only more digestible, but also has a significantly lower proportion of lactose.

Summary: Casein or whey protein shakes – which is better for me?

The combination of both protein powders has the greatest effect on your muscle growth and muscle maintenance during diet phases.

The best way to take whey protein shakes is:

  • Immediately after training to take advantage of the quick availability.
  • 1-2 hours before training in order to have a muscle-protecting protein base for the exercise phase.
  • Throughout the day when you're out and about and don't have time to eat. Whey Protein Shakes 2 Go have proven themselves for decades.

The best way to take casein protein shakes is:

  • When you know you won't eat for several hours
  • Ideal before going to sleep , as you will be constantly supplied with proteins for several hours.
  • At the end of your eating interval in intermittent fasting


Bonus tip: Maximize your protein biosynthesis!

It makes sense to consume a protein shake with carbohydrates, especially after training. The insulin response to the carbohydrates you consume increases your protein biosynthesis. Basically, if you are not currently on a diet, you should always take advantage of this advantage and consume proteins and carbohydrates together.

Always choose carbohydrates with a higher glycemic index that are not based on simple sugars. Add potassium to the mix and your muscle glycogen stores will quickly be replenished for even greater performance during your next workout.

What side effects do protein shakes have?

In our protein compass we clarified the side effects of proteins. These also apply to protein shakes.

The side effects of protein shakes in a nutshell:

Supplementing protein shakes has no side effects . You should only talk to your doctor if your kidney is already damaged. An increased protein intake via protein powder will not damage your kidneys, provided you are healthy.

If you suddenly increase your protein intake, for example from 0.7 g to 2 g daily per kg of body weight , short-term changes in kidney function may occur. Therefore, a slow increase of, for example, 0.3-0.5 g per week is recommended in order to get the kidneys used to the increased urea production.

At the same time, you should always think about increasing water consumption to relieve the strain on the kidneys.

Final conclusion: protein shakes before or after training?

The answer to this “or” question is a clear: yes!

  • Depending on your individual situation, you can consume protein shakes 1-2 hours before training. Whenever you don't manage to eat enough. For example, right after school, your lectures or after work.
  • In the vast majority of cases, protein shakes should be used immediately after training. This is particularly good for your muscles and stimulates growth.
  • Pay attention to the value of the amino acids in protein shakes. At least 3g leucine and 12g essential amino acids should be present per serving.
  • Protein shakes are also suitable as targeted support for vital body functions throughout the day and especially if you want to get your protein needs on the go.
  • Especially if you can't eat anything for several hours, casein shakes are the best possible protein supply.

High-quality protein shakes help you build muscles, stay full longer and maintain a healthy weight.

What are your experiences with protein shakes? Have you tried casein protein powder yet?

Share your experiences with us.

Your Lykaia team.