At this point, there isn’t much we don’t know about protein. It’s an essential part of a healthy diet, helping to keep our bodies strong and our minds sharp — and protein shakes are one way to boost your intake. But the question remains: When is the best time to actually drink a protein shake?

Whether it’s fuelling up before hitting the gym or replenishing afterwards, knowing the right time to have a protein shake can be a game-changer for your fitness progress. So, let’s explore what protein shakes actually do — both before and after workouts.

What is protein and why is it good for you?

Protein, a powerhouse of nutrients composed of amino acids, is essential for more than just building muscle; it’s crucial for your overall health. It helps repair tissues after any type of exercise and keeps you feeling fuller for longer, helping you avoid the temptation to snack. 

Beyond muscle repair and weight management, protein also boosts your metabolism and supports vital bodily functions like your hormones and immune system. And because there are plenty of good dietary sources of protein, from shakes to seeds to leafy greens, it may be easier than you think to follow a high-protein diet.

The rise of protein shakes and other supplements

You can usually get all the protein you need from your diet. However, if you want to increase your intake in a quick and easy way, there are many protein supplements on the market, including protein shakes.

Most off-the-shelf shakes come in powdered form and need to be mixed with liquids like water or milk. They offer a quick boost to the protein in your diet, just like other supplements such as protein bars, for on-the-go fuelling.

When should you drink a protein shake?

This decision will vary from person to person according to their specific fitness goals, dietary needs and workout routines. For some, a shake before working out can provide the fuel and energy they’re going to need (people drink coffee before exercise for the same reason). For others, a post-workout shake is the best way to recover and build muscle.

Benefits of a protein shake before a workout

  • Energy boost: Provides a steady source of energy, especially when combined with carbs. This is ideal for endurance workouts or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) where sustained energy is crucial.
  • Muscle prep: Helps prime muscles for exertion, potentially reducing damage. By fuelling your muscles with protein, you might be able to withstand intense workouts better.
  • Improved performance: Consuming protein beforehand can lead to better endurance, strength and overall performance, making your workout more effective.

Benefits of a protein shake after a workout

  • Muscle recovery: Aids in repairing and rebuilding muscle tissues. This is crucial after a strenuous workout as it helps prevent muscle soreness and speeds up recovery after exercise.
  • Nutrient replenishment: Quickly restores nutrients lost during intense exercise. It’s an efficient way to provide your body with the essential amino acids it needs after exercise.
  • Supports growth: Essential for muscle growth and adaptation after exercise. Doing this regularly can lead to better muscle development and strength gains over time.

When you make your decision, it’s important to consider personal factors like the intensity of your workout, your overall diet and how your body responds to nutrients at different times.

When should you drink your protein shake?

At David Lloyd Clubs, our menu includes protein shakes that are packed with flavour and plenty of nutrients to support your workout. Right now, our range includes:

  • Top Banana: Banana, peanut butter, chocolate whey protein, almond milk (363 kcal)
  • Fruitasia: Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, banana, pea protein, spirulina, chlorella, apple juice (224 kcal)
  • The Lean Green: Pea Protein, spinach, kale, banana, mango, passion fruit, broccoli, chlorella, spirulina, apple juice (186 kcal)
  • Oats So Good: Rolled oats, banana, raspberries, flax seed, blueberries, vanilla whey protein, apple juice (500 kcal)

Remember, the right choice for you all comes down to your individual needs and workout goals. Here are some easy nutrition tips on how you can fuel your workout even better. Explore our breakfast guide for insights on what to eat before a workout to fuel your morning effectively.