When to take whey: before or after exercise
Scientists evaluate whether the timing of ingestion has a greater anabolic response
by Jeff S. Volek, Ph.D., R.D.
The benefits of whey protein are well known, but one question that has not been adequately addressed is the best time to take whey protein. Prior work showed that ingesting free-form amino acids immediately before resistance exercise had a greater anabolic response compared to consumption after resistance exercise. Researchers tested whether the same effect would hold true for whey protein. Healthy subjects ingested either 20g of whey protein immediately before or immediately after a bout of resistance exercise. The muscle anabolic response was increased in both groups but was similar, indicating that timing of whey protein was not a factor. There was, however, a lot of variability among subjects, with some who had a greater anabolic response when whey protein was consumed before exercise. The bottom line is that 20g of whey elicited a favorable effect on muscle protein building irrespective of whether it was consumed before or after exercise.