top of page

Protein: Before Or After Workout | Ideal timing to maximize muscle growth and fat loss | Tokyo Titan

Which is better for muscle growth and fat loss - a protein shake before or after you workout? Is the anabolic window real, or just a gym myth? In this video, I talk about the ideal protein timing for optimal fitness results.

Note: A video was published on the same topic. To watch the video, click the link below:


  • The Anabolic Window

  • The Supplement Industry

  • Research on Pre and Post-workout Shake

  • Optimal Protein Timing

The Anabolic Window

Chances are you've probably heard of the anabolic window. Even if you haven't heard of it in those terms, I'm sure you've heard someone say:"You have to drink a protein shake within 30 minutes of your workout or you're just not going to build muscle." And there's also people who say: "Lifting weights damages the muscle and makes you lose muscle, so you need to have a protein shake before you work out."

So which one is correct?

Both of these concepts are absolutely crap.

The Supplement Inudstry

The reason why both these concepts are so popular is because of supplement companies. In 2020, the supplement industry was worth 61.2 billion USD. If everyone's taking a protein shake before or after their workout, that's a lot of money that the supplement companies are making. When I used to work out at a commercial gym which had all those open box lockers, every box had a post-workout shake in it ready for the person to drink as soon as they finished their workout.

Research on Pre and Post-workout Shake

There's a research paper that was published by Brad Schoenfeld, the leading expert in muscle hypertrophy research. This research looked into the anabolic window and analyzed whether there was any gained benefit from a pre or post-workout shake.

For ten weeks, the subjects did a full body workout three times a week. Each exercise was performed for three sets at 8 to 12 reps. The test subjects were split into two groups. The first group had a protein shake before their workout, and then after their workout they weren't allowed

to eat for 3 hours. The second group weren't allowed to eat for 3 hours before their workout, and then after their workout they had a protein shake. The shake was a whey protein shake and consisted of 25 grams of protein and one gram of carbs.

In the results, there was no significant difference between the pre-workout protein shake group and the post-workout protein shake group. Both groups had about a 3% increase in their squat and bench strength, and both groups had similar increase in muscle size in all the body parts that were measured. Furthermore, the research went on to conclude that the optimal protein intake timing is completely unrelated to your training. The biggest impact was seen in

how long it has been since the last protein intake.

Optimal Protein Timing

This research backs up something that has been proven so many times in the fitness industry. For optimal results, consume about 30 grams of protein every 3 to 5 hours. So whether you have a pre-workout shake or a post-workout shake should depend entirely on your schedule. For example, if you're like me and you work out early morning, you usually don't have enough time for an entire meal. In this situation, a pre-workout shake is going to be the best choice.

However, if you have a meal 1 to 2 hours before your workout, you'll probably benefit from having a post-workout shake. Or better yet, because that anabolic window is actually 3 to 5 hours from your last meal, you have enough time to skip the post-workout shake and get a full meal. As long as you have about 30 grams of protein within 3 to 5 hours of your last protein intake, you'll get the maximum benefit.

Want to put on muscle in a short amount of time? Try Tokyo Titan!

I am Tokyo Titan, an internationally certified bodybuilding specialist trainer and nutritionist, and I run a personal gym in Omori-nishi, located in Ota Ward, Tokyo. Using bodybuilding techniques, we create the body that you want in a short amount of time. Lessons can also be provided online, accommodating even the busiest of schedules.

Furthermore, as a native English speaker who is bilingual in Japanese, lessons can be provided in either English or Japanese. If you want to build up your body and your English skills, inquire today.


bottom of page