You’re probably well aware of how supplemental protein can improve recovery, support muscle growth, and even boost your immunity. But maybe you’re unsure of exactly when to take it. In this post, we explore four different use cases throughout the day that will help you derive maximum benefits from a pure, high-quality supplement like Momentous Essential Protein.
1) Use Protein in Your Breakfast If…
…you want to build muscle and regulate your blood sugar levels. Whether or not breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day is debatable, given the benefits of fasting and time-restricted eating. But a growing body of evidence implies that if you’re going to eat first thing in the morning, you should include plenty of protein. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that participants who drank a protein shake with breakfast along with a vitamin D supplement for six weeks increased muscle mass and elevated protein synthesis almost two-fold. They suggested that protein supplementation can help offset age-related decline in muscle mass (aka sarcopenia).
Another group of researchers investigated the impact that eating breakfast with different macronutrient compositions would have on the results of consuming a higher-carb lunch four hours later. The group that started their day with a lot of protein had a lower insulin response to the white bread they ate afterward, and their blood sugar didn’t spike as much as those in the high-at or high-carb breakfast groups. While the results can’t be interpreted as a green light to go crazy with refined carbohydrates, they do suggest that protein has a regulating effect on how your body digests and processes sugar.
Including protein in your breakfast is as simple as stirring a scoop of Momentous Essential into your morning oats. You can also use it to enhance your homemade pancakes by putting protein powder in the batter. Here’s a recipe from Momentous Performance Engineer Tim Caron:
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 scoop Momentous Essential Protein
- 1 cage-free egg
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- A pinch of salt and cinnamon
2) Use Protein After Your Workout If…
…you want to improve acute recovery and kickstart muscle repair. Every time you train, you create micro tears in your muscles. This stimulus can prompt the strengthening and thickening of existing muscle fibers and the growth of new ones, but this only happens if you supply your body with enough building blocks. These are the amino acids that come from protein.
A Dutch study concluded that, “Dietary protein ingestion after exercise stimulates muscle protein synthesis, inhibits protein breakdown and, as such, stimulates net muscle protein accretion following resistance as well as endurance type exercise.” The International Society of Sports Nutrition concurred, recommending that you consume 20 to 40 grams of protein within two hours of finishing your workout to optimize muscle protein synthesis.
There are several different types of milk-derived protein you could consume after a training session, but a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a whey-based product like Momentous Essential Protein digests faster and is more readily absorbed than a casein-based option. Its higher leucine content also leads to greater protein uptake in muscle tissue.
To help get ahead of your post-workout nutrition, blend up a smoothie in advance. Including berries or other fruit can help you replenish the glycogen you’ve depleted during your session. If you have a dairy allergy or intolerance, Momentous Essential Protein also comes in a plant-based variety to power up your post-workout nutrition. Here’s Oscar-winning director/climber Jimmy Chin’s mountain recovery smoothie recipe:
8 oz. unsweetened almond milk
1 medium banana
½ cup blueberries
½ cup kale, raw
1 oz. ginger, organic
1 tbsp Hanah One, Botanical Supplement
1 scoop Momentous Essential Grass-fed Whey Protein, vanilla or unflavored
DIRECTIONS: Combine all ingredients and blend till smooth. Add ice as desired.
3) Use Protein in a Snack Shake If…
…you want to increase your overall protein and calorie consumption or will have to wait for your next meal. If you don’t consume enough calories, it can negatively impact your physical performance, inhibit cognition, disrupt hormonal balance, and more. Adding in a high-protein snack between breakfast and lunch and another mid-afternoon can help boost your overall calorie intake and keep your energy level high throughout the day. An experiment conducted at Rutgers University concluded by writing “total daily caloric and protein intake over the long term play the most crucial dietary roles in facilitating adaptations to exercise.”
Another reason to consider a protein-rich snack is that it may well help you build and preserve lean mass. A research team from the University of Mississippi compared several protein intake options and concluded that the participants who consumed protein most frequently had more muscle mass and strength in their legs. A recent review released via the European Journal of Nutritionstated that many people get the majority of their daily protein from their dinner, but found that maintaining muscle mass was better served by intaking this vital macronutrient more evenly throughout the day.
Even if you don’t have a blender handy, you can still get a protein boost on the go. Simply fill a bottle three quarters full with water or your choice of milk, add a scoop or two of Momentous Essential Protein, shake it up, and drink it. Or if you’ve got access to your kitchen, put a heaping spoonful of seed or nut butter into a smoothie to add some slow-burning fat that will keep you full through your next meeting, school pickup, or whatever you need to do before you can eat again. Looking to switch up your usual smoothie? Then include Momentous Essential in a protein ball recipe for a convenient, portable snack. Here’s a five-star one from San Francisco 49ers dietician Jordan Mazur:
CHOCOLATE PB ENERGY BALLS INGREDIENTS:
1 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
1/3 cup honey
½ cup dark chocolate chips/chunks
2 scoops chocolate protein powder
3/4 cup rolled oats
- Stir all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl until thoroughly combined.
- Cover the mixing bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours, or until the mixture is chilled.
- Roll mixture into 1-inch balls with your hands or a melon baller.
- Then enjoy it immediately! Or you can refrigerate in a sealed container for up to a week. You can also freeze for up to three months.
4) Use Protein Before Bed If…
…you want to support overnight repair and optimize your training adaptations. There are people in the performance community who suggest not eating at night, but if you’ve had a busy day that has prevented you from fueling sufficiently, a pre-bed snack is an opportunity to redress the balance. A review by a research group from Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands suggested that evening protein consumption doesn’t only increase the amount of amino acids that are absorbed while you sleep but also promotes recovery by increasing your total protein consumption.
There’s also evidence to suggest that nighttime protein intake can prepare your body to make the most of its overnight repair potential as well, particularly if you exercise late. A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that when a group of young men followed their evening strength training workouts with a post-exercise shake containing carbs and protein and supplemented again before bed, their rate of muscle protein synthesis increased by 22 percent. The authors wrote that this combination of resistance work and protein supplementation can also contribute to gains in both muscle mass and strength.
At the risk of repeating ourselves, add a scoop or two of Momentous Essential Protein to a pre-bedtime bowl of cereal or in a smoothie containing sleep-promoting ingredients like tart cherries and creatine can give your body the raw materials it needs for nighttime repair. Here’s an overnight oats recipe from our friends at M2 Performance Nutrition:
 Audrey Chanet et al, “Supplementing Breakfast with a Vitamin D and Leucine–Enriched Whey Protein Medical Nutrition Drink Enhances Postprandial Muscle Protein Synthesis and Muscle Mass in Healthy Older Men,” The Journal of Nutrition, December 2017, available online at https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/147/12/2262/4727962?searchresult=1.
 Huicui Meng et al, “Effect of Prior Meal Macronutrient Composition on Postprandial Glycemic Responses and Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Value Determinations,” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 2017, available online at https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/106/5/1246/4822341?searchresult=1.
 Luc J C van Loon, “Role of Dietary Protein in Post-Exercise Muscle Reconditioning,” Nestle Nutrition Institute Workshop Series, April 16, 2013, available online at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23765352/.
 Chad M Kerksick et al, “International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: Nutrient Timing,” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, August 29,2017, available online at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28919842/.
 Bart Pennings et al, “Whey Protein Stimulates Postprandial Muscle Protein Accretion More Effectively than Do Casein and Casein Hydrolysate in Older Men,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 2011, available online at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21367943/.
 Harry P. Cintineo et al, “Effects of Protein Supplementation on Performance and Recovery in Resistance and Endurance Training,” Frontiers in Nutrition, September 11, 2018, available online at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6142015/.
 Jeremy P Loenneke et al, “Per Meal Dose and Frequency of Protein Consumption is Associated with Lean Mass and Muscle Performance,” Clinical Nutrition, April 7, 2016, available online at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27086196/.
 Simon E Jespersen and Jakob Agergaard, “Evenness of Dietary Protein Distribution is Associated with Higher Muscle Mass but Not Muscle strength or Protein Turnover in Healthy Adults: A Systematic Review,” European Journal of Nutrition, February 6, 2021, available online at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33550490/.
 Tim Snijders et al, “The Impact of Pre-sleep Protein Ingestion on the Skeletal Muscle Adaptive Response to Exercise in Humans: An Update,” Frontiers in Nutrition, March 6, 2019,available online at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6415027/.
 Peter T Res et al, “Protein Ingestion Before Sleep Improves Postexercise Overnight Recovery,” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, August 2012, available online at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22330017/.