When is the Best Time to Take Protein Supplements?

Last week, I wrote about the best type of protein to take before going to sleep for the night. After posting the article, I received a number of emails from exercise enthusiasts who didn’t realize the importance of consuming protein before bed. With that in mind, today’s post will cover the four times (including before bed) when protein consumption is most often recommended.

Obviously, protein requirements vary greatly from person to person. So, first things first, it’s important to calculate your daily protein requirements. For some people with high protein diets or lower protein needs, protein supplementation in the form of powders and shakes may be less important. For others, it can be crucial for success.

1. First Thing in the Morning

When you wake up, your body is in a catabolic state and hasn’t received proper nutrition for a good eight hours. It needs protein, and it needs protein quickly. I usually opt for a whey protein shake because the protein is absorbed quickly by the body. Just like brushing my teeth and flossing, protein consumption is part of my morning routine.

2. Before Your Workout

Some trainers recommend protein consumption 30 minutes before exercise. This will set up your “anabolic window” to help repair and rebuild the damage done during lifting. Again, a fast-acting whey protein works well here.

3. After Your Workout

After exercise is the most important time to consume protein. If you only take one protein supplement a day, this is the time to take it. Research has shown that sooner is better, so you may even want to take your protein powder or shake to the gym. Whey protein, due to its fast absorption, is the best choice.

4. Before Bed

Because your body will essentially be fasting during sleep, it’s important to consume a protein that’s slow to absorb. Before going to bed, I recommend casein protein because it takes 5 – 8 hours to fully breakdown.

Obviously, protein supplements are really just that – they supplement the protein that we get through a proper diet. The extent to which you’ll need to supplement depends on your fitness regime and diet, so just use this advice as a general guideline.

And, keep in mind that more protein isn’t always better! Too much protein can result in weight gain, kidney problems and even heart disease. So don’t overdo it!

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. Paul Jude Sydney says:

    The above is great advice. I have used it and can recommend its effectiveness for weight gain. Several of my friends questioned the before and after workout protein, and I have consistently gotten better gains. Great work Davey Wavey!

  2. Here is my issue Davey. I DON’T WANT to gain weight, I want to LOSE it. If I follow this schedule, will I gain?

  3. Hey there!

    I do agree that water is very important when exercising or overall fat loss, but how much do I need to drink? A glass? 2 glasses?


  4. christopher says:

    i take a whey protein isolate-one scoop-with 8oz/220ml-before start of workout.seems to work well.

  5. Due to my work scheduled, I have to work out in the morning just after getting.

    Do you recommend that I take whey protein prior to that workout (30 min before), then after, then some time in the afternoon and then before bed?


  6. Anti-douche says:


    The general consensus in the scientific community is that protein enzymes are only active in the evening/night. This means proteins can only be effectively digested during this time. Proteins in supplements are a bunch of amino acids (different types of peptides) that are easily digestable but also break down very quickly…I mean if you put in excessive amounts of protein during morning/early you are most likely to urinate these out in their true form and in broken down state…In general this means if you want to lose weight and get “ripped”-> eat carbs and less protein in the morning and vice versa for evening. Also means that the reversed model will help you gain weight…I would like to hear your opinion on this clinical fact.

    best regards,

    A dude

  7. I’m using vital wheat gluten as supplement for body building,
    Since it lacks some essential vitamins I’m adding soya beans to it
    Can I get positive results

  8. nizam shah says:

    i need the help in making body good. m from pakistan will u help me pls

  9. I want to know if I take protein 4 times a day ,how much must I take in ml and should I use milk or water and what brand protein should I buy either usn, evox etc and I will purchase both casein and whey so can you please tell me the amount to take and which protein to take during the day either the whey or casein and what time must I take each for eg casein before workout and whey after workout,
    your reply will be much appreciated as I do mma and I need to gain muscle mass so I will need to know how to take this and the best brand to make me gain lean muscle.

  10. Anurag Gautam says:

    Any side effect to eating protein for sex. Pls anw.me.

  11. Hey Davey! I have a question and im confused. Im a skinny guy and I want to gain weight. I googled and some say take mass gainer’s at morning time and some say take before bed time. Im taking once after workout. Hence kindly advise me the right way to take it to gain maximum weight. thanks

  12. I want to lose weight but be healthy. my hair is fine and thin. I don’t eat right. I startedjuicing and i bought whey protein. I just want to take it to get the amount i need to stay healthy. I dont exercise. when and how much. i been taking the one scoop. please reply to me. thank you in advance
    norma estep ps 54 year old female

  13. Protein shakes can be used before exercise for energy during your workouts and after exercise as part of your recovery

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  15. Thanks for sharing this advice on when to take protein. It has been a bit tough for me to build up muscle after not working out for awhile, and I want to get back into the groove of things. Hopefully some really good peptides and a good workout schedule will help me get back to where I was!

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