Making protein work for you is a question of timing. Contrary to popular belief latest research suggests that slamming down a protein shake directly after a workout is not ideal!
Fact: Building muscle ie protein synthesis does not happen until 30 to 60 minutes after physical stress. Research is now suggesting protein synthesis may decrease by as much as 30 percent in this immediate post-exercise period. So actually giving your system adequate time to first catabolise protein (ie recovery!) is critical. Thirty to 60 minutes after exercise is the optimal moment to consider drinking your protein shake, as your body can then allocate the protein to muscle growth.
The best thing to do immediately after your work out is quite simply – rehydrate!
If you’re maintaining a consistent daily regimen of regular exercise, then it makes sense to help your system where possible by supplying protein at other times. Sleeping eight hours will result in incremental muscle breakdown to supply energy to the body first thing in the morning, so starting your day with protein can help shore up this gap. Equally, taking protein before sleep will optimise the chance of creating even protein levels through till morning and provide amino acids for muscle repair while you sleep.
Note: More protein shakes does not mean more muscle! General protein requirements are around 0.8g-1.6g per kg of body weight per day – the lower end of the scale for regular maintenance and the upper end for hypertrophic muscle gain through regular workouts. You don’t need more than this!