Should I Drink a Protein Shake After My Ab Workout?


question-icon-newI know that you should drink protein shakes right after a weight lifting workout but does drinking a protein shake after an abdominal workout make sense and do you recommended this?

answer-icon-newYes, you need to consume protein even after an abdominal workout because abs are muscles too and you need to supply them with the correct nutrients so they can recover properly. Protein intake is a vital part of any diet, but when working out its importance increases. It has many roles in the body to assist with physical well-being such as transporting nutrients in the bloodstream, maintaining electrolyte balance, and heart health. Protein is made up of nine essential amino acids that are considered the building blocks of the body. One of the most important things protein does is to provide muscle recovery and repair after workouts.

With any kind of physical exertion muscles are strained causing a breakdown of tiny little muscle fibers. Protein helps to rebuild these tiny micro tears which helps the muscle to recover so it can grow bigger and stronger. Protein also helps transport other vital nutrients directly to your muscles via the bloodstream. Taking protein both before and immediately following your workout will be beneficial in helping you reach your fitness goals. Through hard physical work with effective abdominal exercises, and by following a clean diet with adequate protein intake, those six pack abs will be sharp and defined.

You should try to get approximately 30% of your daily caloric intake from protein. There are 4 calories per gram of protein, so if you are currently on a 2,500 calorie per day diet then you would want to eat about 187 grams of protein daily, providing 750 of those 2,500 calories you are taking in. An easier way to calculate your protein requirement is to focus on eating at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. So, if you weigh 185 pounds then your goal would be to eat 185 grams of protein per day. Divide this total up into 5-6 meals per day and you will come out with around 30-37 grams of protein per meal. Your goal should be to always include a lean protein source with each and every meal you eat throughout the day.

On the days you workout, aim for an intake of around 20 grams of protein before your workout, perhaps in the form of a bar or shake. Whey protein powder is great since its fast acting and you can mix it up easily with milk or water. You want to make sure you also eat some clean and slow releasing carbs to sustain your energy levels throughout your workout. While exercising, be sure to stay well hydrated by drinking water and then follow up your weight training workout with another whey protein shake and some additional carbs (quick acting sources like dextrose or waxy maize starch are great) to flood your body with muscle building nutrients to help you recover. The reason a whey protein shake is advised after a workout is so your body doesn’t have to worry about taking additional time working to digest an actual food source and can focus solely on quick muscle recovery. Around 2 hours after drinking your post-workout whey protein shake, it’s always good to eat a whole food meal that contains some more quality protein and carbs (chicken breast, brown rice, and broccoli). Spread out the remainder of your protein intake over the rest of the day in order to maintain a positive nitrogen balance.

Good complete protein sources include fish, chicken, turkey, pork, lean cuts of beef, eggs, and low-fat cottage cheese. You can also get protein from vegetables, nuts, and grains but they are incomplete proteins, meaning they lack some of the essential amino acids. To get all of the essential amino acids your body requires from one source, you must choose protein derived from animals. Vegetarians need to be sure to combine the right protein sources so their bodies still receive all of the essential amino acids. Protein shakes are wonderful when used as a supplement before and immediately following workouts, but they should not replace actual nutrient dense whole food meals.

So yes, drink that protein shake after your abdominal workout to help build up those abdominal muscles you worked so hard training. You can achieve the results you are looking for with perseverance, discipline and hard work!

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