Protein: When Should You Drink a Shake?

peotein shakesWhen Should You Drink a Protein Shake?

Conventional wisdom says that the best time to break out the protein and blender is right after a workout. We looked at the science.

By Alex Shultz

March 12, 2019

Picture this: You’ve just completed a workout. You’re feeling accomplished—yoked, swole, jacked, buff, muscly, ripped, cut—and are in the throes of the sensation Arnold Schwarzenegger memorably christened “the pump.” And all of that is great, as long as you don’t say any of those words out loud, ever, to anyone.

The next step, according to lore passed down through generations of diligent weight-room enthusiasts, is to grab a protein supplement and let its precious grams flow through your body, thereby repairing microtears in muscle and maximizing the well-earned gains in mass and strength. But what does the science say? And is the timing really so important that you have to clean out your disgusting shaker bottle in the office kitchen sink every day?

The conventional wisdom around when to drink protein shakes—or bars, or beef jerky, or whatever—is that you should do it as soon as possible after finishing a workout. As it turns out, this is only sort of true. In 2017, the International Society of Sports Nutrition issued a position statement on all things protein and exercise, based on its extensive review of existing research. And on the subject of protein consumption and timing, their conclusions didn’t make any definitive statement—they just noted that the optimal moment for supplementation is “a matter of individual tolerance.”

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