If you're in the world of fitness, you know that protein shakes are an essential part of your performance nutrition plan. For those of us in the sport of swimming, the benefits of a protein shake are just as important for becoming the best athletes possible. Let's take a look at when to fuel up with protein shakes.
1. After a workout
Your body has an ideal time to recover from a strenuous workout or high intensity swim session. About 30-45 minutes after you've left the pool or the gym is when you should have a protein shake. Having a low calorie shake that has both whey and casein protein, and the amino acids that they contain, allows your body to repair muscle tissue, maintain muscle mass, and boost your immune system.
After exercise is also when the muscle’s ability to synthesize protein is increased, so this is also a critical time for providing your body the right nutrients to benefit from this enhanced muscle protein synthesis. It's important to choose a protein shake that also has carbohydrates, like the Nutriboost shake. "The carbs not only replenish glycogen stores but also stimulates a greater insulin response. Insulin drives sugar along with those key amino acids into cells, including muscle cells, for more efficient use of the protein."1
2. In between races
When you're competing at race day, the last thing you want is an upset stomach. Or even worse is competing on an empty stomach. A protein shake, like the Nutriboost shake, is the perfect drink to have with you on the day of competition. Fueling in between races is important because you want to maintain a good supply of energy and nutrients, but you may not have the time to eat a full meal.
At a competition, many athletes also experience added stress and their nerves get the best of them. Eating a small meal in between each race may not feel like the best thing to do, but your body needs to refuel. Getting the right nutrients, proteins, and carbs in an easily digestible protein shake may be better on your stomach than a turkey sandwich. Keeping a packet of protein powder in your gym bag allows you to easily mix it with water when you're short on time before that next race.
3. Before bed
One of the most optimal times for having a protein shake is before bed. Studies show that our bodies lose protein during sleep because we're fasting for seven hours or more. During this fasting period, the body still needs fuel and since it's not getting any from food, it begins to break down muscle during the night. This period of "fasting" during your sleep also slows your body’s metabolism, so it’s vital to refuel as soon as possible to get your metabolism back on track and overcome any muscle loss.
Getting high quality sleep is also important for swimmers and a light, pre-bedtime meal can make all the difference. Enjoying the low-calorie, nutrient-rich Nutriboost is a great way to ensure that your body is full of vitamins and minerals that can maximize recovery while you sleep. Mix it with a half of banana since bananas are a natural sleep aid. They contain the amino acid L-tryptophan, which ultimately gets converted into the sleep promoting hormones, serotonin and melatonin. Try a protein shake before bed and wake up feeling well rested, less groggy, and ready to hit the pool!
Whatever time of day you drink your protein shake, always use a product that has been tested free of banned substances and uses high quality protein, like our products. And use your shake as part of a well-balanced meal plan to take your performance to the next level!