– Kyle Denton, Sports Editor

Whether you are a beginner, novice or expert at weight lifting, you have your own opinion when it comes to supplemental preparation.

Any given person can be lifting weights for three weeks and think they know all about nutrition. This theory about weight lifters has laid the foundation to one of the most contested debates in nutritional balance outside the gym: when do you drink your protein shake?

Lance Armstrong’s LiveStrong website explains that protein has plenty of benefits, including increased muscle growth, stabilized blood sugar levels and increases a persons caloric burn.

The debate then becomes at which point, during or around your workout, should someone digest a protein shake?

Many forums on bodybuilding.com and other websites rule out the idea of taking a shake during a workout. Frankly, the beverage is too heavy for a workout, and one should be focusing on hydrating the body with water more than anything.

Many studies show that it is important to drink your shake directly after your workout. Jose Antonio, co-founder of International Society of Sports Nutrition explains that protein shakes are a fantastic replacement for a meal often within 90 minutes after a workout. He dissects the matter further by illustrating that the average person does not have time to prepare a healthy and supplemental meal immediately following their workout.

On the flip side, other participants on forums around the web suggest that by taking a protein shake before your workout, allows it to enter the blood system by the time you start your workout when your muscles are at their maximum inflation. This, some argue, is the most effective way for increased muscle growth.

Personally, I often take pre-workout supplements before I go to the gym, thus making the after-workout protein shake my choice. However, I strongly advise people to eat within one hour of working out, so as not to feel weak or dizzy at the gym. I have been there before and it not only compromises your workout, but your health as well.

Also take into account that different protein mixes have different components and caloric sizes. Don’t drink a thousand calorie protein shake at ten p.m. after your workout, when it is only going to break down partially and sit in your gut all night.

Feel free to try both before and after workout protein plans, and see what works best for you.

Remember every person, and their body, is different, see what works best for you.