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Pre-Workout Protein Shake Boosts Metabolism Over the Next 24 Hours

A study published in 2010 in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise examined the effects of a pre-workout protein shake in comparison to a carbohydrates drink on the rate of calorie burn over the next two days following the workout. The researchers suspected that taking a protein drink before weight training would increase metabolic rate following the workout more significantly than the carbohydrate drink would.

8 subjects were chosen for the study. 5 of the subjects were men, 3 were women, and all subjects were previously trained in resistance training. The subjects were split into two groups. One group consumed 18g of whey protein 20 minutes before resistance training, and the other group consumed 19g of a carbohydrate supplement before training. Resting energy expenditure was measured at 7 a.m. The day before, the day of, 24 hours after, and 48 hours after the supplement was consumed. In a second trial, the groups switched which supplement they consumed and the process was repeated. There were no changes in calorie or macronutrient intake besides the addition of the protein or carbohydrate supplement.

24 hours after the supplement was consumed and training was performed, the whey protein only group showed significant elevation of metabolic rate over the carbohydrate only group. The researchers conclude:

“Timing PRO before HRT may be a simple and effective strategy to increase energy expenditure by elevating REE the day after HRT. Increasing REE could facilitate reductions in body fat mass and improve body composition if nutritional intake is stable.” (PRO refers to protein, HRT to heavy resistance training, and REE to resting energy expenditure)

It is well known that protein takes more energy to digest that carbohydrates, but elevation of metabolism even 24 hours after consumption is certainly due to something more. Many people consume a whey protein drink before training to prevent muscle breakdown and help with recovery, but it turns out that it may even help you burn fat too!



Hackney KJ, Bruenger AJ, & Lemmer JT. (2010). Timing protein intake increases energy expenditure 24 h after resistance training. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 42(5), 998-1003.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cassie is a chemistry major and national level bodybuilder. Questions or comments? Talk to Cassie on the FORUM or on FACEBOOK.

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