How Much Protein Should You Eat Before and After a Workout?

If you’re wondering how much protein you should be eating before and after a workout, you’re not alone. Many people are confused about how much protein they need in their diet, and it’s a valid question.


Exercising vigorously can tax the body, causing increased muscle breakdown and fatigue. Having adequate macronutrient intake before and after a workout is key to help build and maintain muscular tissue, improve performance, decrease muscle soreness, optimize recovery time and support overall health. Of the three macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats and proteins), protein is especially important when it comes to exercise.

Protein contains amino acids that are essential in helping you maintain lean body mass as well as repair tissue damage caused by exercise. Therefore, getting an adequate amount of protein before and after a workout is important to help maximize your exercise experience — too little or too much can have negative impacts on your progress. When planning your protein intake, consider the type of workout you are doing as well as desired outcomes related to your training routine. Generally speaking, those engaging in aerobic activity will need less protein than those engaging in weight-bearing activity or high intensity exercises.

Pre-Workout Protein

Eating the right amount and type of protein before a workout is important for optimizing your exercise performance. Protein before a workout helps you stay energized and provides the building blocks for building and repairing muscles. Eating the right amount of protein pre-workout can help you maximize your results and reduce recovery time. In this section, we will take a closer look at how much protein you should eat before a workout.

Benefits of Eating Protein Before a Workout

Eating protein before you hit the gym can give your performance and overall results a boost. Protein helps provide your body with several essential amino acids, which are important for promoting muscle development and maintaining muscle mass. Pre-workout meals also provide additional energy and help you stay fueled throughout the workout. Research has found that pre-workout proteins may help physically active individuals eat fewer calories, build more lean muscle, perform better during exercise, and delay the onset of fatigue. Moreover, consuming a high-protein meal an hour or two before a workout can improve endurance and strength performance in both active individuals and athletes.

How Much Protein Should You Eat Before a Workout?

The amount of protein to eat before a workout will vary depending on your individual needs, as well as your goals. Generally speaking, you should be eating at least 20-30 grams of protein before you work out in order to get the most benefit from your workout. This is particularly true if you are trying to build muscle mass or are embarking on an extended endurance or aerobic event like running a marathon.

To determine the exact amount of protein that’s right for you, it’s important to consider your body type and exercise goals. For example, if you have a faster metabolism and struggle to gain weight, then could potentially benefit from consuming more protein before your workouts. On the other hand if you have a slower metabolism and already have plenty of muscle mass, then consuming less might be the better option.

When it comes to timing, try eating the majority of your pre-workout meal one hour prior to starting your workout – this will give your body enough time to digest and absorb the nutrients without weighing on your stomach during exercise. Some good sources of pre-workout proteins include lean meats such as chicken or turkey; beans such as black beans or kidney beans; fish like salmon; egg whites; low-fat dairy products such as yogurt; nuts like almonds and peanut butter; and plant-based proteins like tofu and tempeh. Pre-workout shakes are also becoming increasingly popular because they provide quick energy without weighing heavily on the stomach when exercising. Based on individual needs, these can be tailored with various amounts and combinations of carbohydrates, fats, electrolytes and proteins depending upon their goals.

Post-Workout Protein

Eating a source of protein after a workout is important for helping your body build muscle and recover. Protein is essential for muscle repair and growth, and it can help enhance muscle performance and recovery after a workout. In this section, we’ll discuss how much protein you should eat before and after your workout.

Benefits of Eating Protein After a Workout

Eating protein after a workout is an important part of recovery because it helps repair and rebuild muscle tissue. Protein also helps prevent muscle breakdown that can occur when you work out hard or for long periods of time. Eating the right amount of protein following a workout is also important for optimizing performance and aiding in strength gains.

The amount of protein needed depends on the type of exercise being performed, intensity level, individual nutritional needs, etc. Generally speaking, research has found that consuming 20–30 grams of high-quality protein soon after your workout may help maximize muscle growth and adaptation. High-quality proteins include whey, casein, egg albumin, and lean meats like beef and chicken.

Consuming protein post-workout is beneficial even if you don’t engage in intense physical activity—a moderate post-workout snack should contain 15–20 grams of high-quality proteins as well as some carbohydrates to help replenish glycogen stores and promote recovery. In order to maximize the benefits experienced from consuming post-workout protein, it’s best to eat within 30 minutes after exercise session completion. Eating within this time frame will help kick start protein synthesis so your muscles can begin the recovery process more quickly.

How Much Protein Should You Eat After a Workout?

Post-workout protein consumption is beneficial for building muscle strength and promoting muscle recovery. An adequate amount of protein should be consumed within 45 minutes after a workout to ensure optimal muscle repair and growth.

The recommended daily intake for an average adult is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, but active individuals may require a higher intake — [1gram/kg for strength athletes and 1.4-2 grams/kg for endurance athletes] ( To get the most out of your post workout protein, pair it with a small amount of carbohydrate as this helps to maximize absorption rates in your muscles which in turn speeds up the recovery process and reduces soreness [1].

Studies suggest that consuming 20–25 grams of high quality protein immediately following a workout offers the best results [2]. This amount can come from either food or through supplementation such as shakes, bars, or other post-workout supplements like BCAA’s (branched chain amino acids) Look for a product that has at least 10 gms of protein per serving to ensure you are getting enough bang for your buck [3]. Protein sources such as animal products provide all the essential amino acids and can be digested more quickly than plant based proteins, but plant based proteins contain more fiber which is beneficial for digestion health[4].

In summary, getting enough quality protein post-workout can help improve muscle growth and provide lasting benefits in overall health too.[5] Talk to your healthcare provider or nutritionist if you have specific questions about how much protein is best for you depending on your individual fitness goals.


It is important to keep in mind that everyone needs different amounts of protein depending on their individual fitness goals and activity levels. As a general rule of thumb, the more intense and longer the workout, the more important it is for an individual to consume the appropriate amount of protein. Eating an adequate amount of protein before and after a workout can help aid in muscle recovery, growth, and repair. If you are unsure how much protein your body needs for optimal performance and development, it is best to consult with a registered dietician or certified nutritionist to determine your individualized needs.

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