Do I Need Protein Immediately Post-Workout or You Won’t Build Muscle


Myth or Fact? You Need Protein Immediately Post-Workout or You Won’t Build Muscle

If you go online and look into this you will find a lot of different answers. Most will tell you that you do need protein immediately after a workout. In fact, some spots on the interned will lead you to believe that if you workout and don’t get your protein ASAP after a workout your whole workout is shot, your whole day is shot, and you might need to re-think your life…That however may not be 100% accurate.

The Myth:

No doubt you’ve heard something similar from your local meathead: “The 30-minute post-workout ‘window’ is the ideal time for gains (okay, this is true, it is “ideal”). If you don’t chug a protein shake within that time frame, your workout was useless, and you can kiss all of that potential muscle gain goodbye.”

The Realistic Truth:

Now, time for the facts. Most importantly, total protein consumption throughout the day reigns supreme. Working out spikes muscle protein synthesis for an extended period of time (as much as 24 hours or so), so as long as you are adequately fueling your body throughout the day, you’re in good shape. Having a hearty pre-workout meal a few hours before training also delays the necessity for anything immediately post-workout (and can make you feel stronger and more energized during the training session).

Consuming some protein post-workout is a good practice, and it is shown that consuming some good carbs and protein shortly after a meal does help your body recover and rebuild from that workout. However, it’s definitely not the be-all and end-all if your diet is on track. Plan to have a protein-packed meal or shake within 2-3 hours post-training to begin refueling and rebuilding. One situation in which you want to prioritize more immediate post-workout protein is if you are training “fasted” (first thing in the morning or more than 4 hours since your previous meal). In that case, try to snack on something as soon as possible post-workout.

I’m not saying getting protein right after your workout is “hooey” – I am saying that your benefits you get from your workout wont disappear if you don’t get it within that 30 minute window.

What I Recommend:

I recommend doing what fits your lifestyle and your schedule. There are lots of ways to get great results and what works for someone else may not be ideal for you, for whatever reason. I recommend eating around your workout schedule. For example, if you workout at the gym after work, drive home and cook/eat a family dinner right away, then drinking a protein shake on the way home may not be the best idea. If you workout in the morning on an empty stomach, then having something right after makes a lot of sense. Play around with it, see what works for you. Focus on eating healthy all day – incorporate that into eating before or after your workout to benefit you the most!

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