Pre-Workout vs Protein Shakes - Which is Better?

Pre-Workout vs Protein Shakes - Which is Better?

If you’re currently trying to decide whether pre-workout or protein shakes are for you, there are some key things you should know to make a decision. Going by the names alone, you’d think the decision was simple. One works before a workout and the other supplies your body with a boost of protein, right? But there is definitely more to be explored, and when fitness pros get involved, things can get a little more complicated. Before we get stuck in, it’s important to pay attention to the fact that pre-workouts and protein shakes are not intended as a replacement - but simply an addition to a healthy lifestyle. By now, you’re probably well aware of the benefits associated with both types of supplement - but how do they match up side by side? We take a look which comes out top.


Designed to help you get the most out of your workouts, pre-workout supplements can provide you with incredible focus, increased energy and that power to push your workouts further. How does taking pre-workout work?
  • Designed to be taken 15 to 30 minutes before you exercise
  • Usually sold in flavored powders to be mixed with water for drinking
  • Frequently contain caffeine or similar stimulant
  • Other common ingredients include vitamins, minerals and creatine
Some of the leading pre-workout supplements usually contain a carefully designed blend of different ingredients to help you maximise your workout potential. They tend to contain a small dose of caffeine as a stimulant to keep you on top of your game throughout your exercise regime. The intention of a pre-workout supplement is to help you push yourself further during a workout. Maximum input = maximum results. If you’re spending time in the gym or exercising, that time is important to you. Getting the most out of every workout can help you push past your personal bests.
Also Read: 9 Vegan Pre-Workout Foods That You Need to Try!
Let’s face it, we’ve all had those sessions where we spend more time on our phone finding the right music - facing an impossible struggle to get going. The point of pre-workout is to boost your focus, energy and help you achieve maximum performance in the gym or during your chosen exercise.


What’s the deal with protein shakes? With many available on the market to try, protein shakes are one of the most popular products within health and fitness. Although there are plenty of different types around, whey protein remains one of the most popular. What you need to know about whey protein shakes:
  • Commonly used to conveniently top up your body’s protein
  • This protein supports the maintenance and growth of muscle mass
  • Not intended as a replacement of any kind, and should be consumed as part of a balanced diet
  • Very popular supplement
Protein shakes do pretty much what they say on the tin - They top up your protein intake. These remain a popular go-to for those that are training hard and seeking added protein on top of their nutrition plan. Again, we must stress that protein shakes shouldn’t be considered a replacement of any kind, and are better paired alongside a healthy diet and lifestyle. Instead, think of whey protein shakes as a boost to your body’s protein intake. Dietary protein is crucial for supporting muscle growth and maintenance, helping you to up your gains and maintain them. If you’re going hard in the gym building muscle mass, your body requires fuel to do so. As well as including the obvious - protein - whey protein shakes are also great for incorporating amino acids into your body’s system. These also aid your desire to build more muscle! While whey protein shakes tend to fall into a slightly different category to pre-workout supplements - some people do prefer to take their protein shake before they hit the gym rather than after. Typically, gymgoers take their shake after a workout to support recovery time. While it’s not necessarily a bad idea, taking a whey protein shake before exercising is most definitely not the same as consuming a specially-designed pre-workout beforehand.


How do you decide whether to take a protein shake or pre-workout before your workout? It’s pretty simple when you think about it. Want to power up your workouts? Take a specially-designed pre-workout. Want to aid recovery and increase protein intake? Protein shakes are for you. Although many remain a little confused as to how these two supplements really differ, the answer is in their purpose. A protein shake is formulated to give your body the fuel it requires to aid recovery (before / after your workout). While a pre-workout is designed to deliver just the right amount of each ingredient to help you power through your workouts (during your workout).


You’ve probably pondered over taking a pre-workout and protein shake together, right? Well, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. Why? Because the two supplements have different goals. Theoretically, they should complement one another, making them a great pair to partner up. However, before you go mixing up a pre-workout/protein shake concoction, we recommend you speak to a medical professional before getting started. Whether you’re trying a new supplement for the first time or looking to make a major lifestyle change, it’s always best to speak to a doctor before doing so. Generally, protein shakes don’t contain any type of stimulant, such as caffeine - so you shouldn’t be at risk of over-doing it there. When it comes to knowing when’s best to consume either supplement - pre-workouts are best taken around 15 to 30 minutes before exercising. Protein shakes on the other hand… Well, that one is up for debate! Generally, many claim you should take your protein shake as close to your session as you can. Without feeling a little queasy of course. Whether you choose to take your protein shake before or after your workout to support recovery is totally up to you.


While neither pre-workout nor protein shakes hold the magic answer to your workout success, they can definitely help you in different ways. Remember, supplements are designed to be an addition to a healthy diet and training regime. Before getting started, always pay attention to the ingredients in your chosen pre-workout or protein shake - and take as directed.


That’s it, really - our breakdown of pre-workout vs protein shake. While we’ve given you the main differences between the two, the rest entirely depends upon your specific goals. If you’re looking to get the most out of your workout, go with a pre-workout supplement. If you’re looking for a protein top-up, protein shakes may be the better choice. Ready to get started with a pre-workout? Look no further than BlackWolf’s scientifically backed formula to help you train at the top of your game. Our powerful ingredients will deliver lasting energy - so you can get the most out of your training sessions.
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