Protein After Workouts: Proven Recommendation or a Myth?

Eating protein
Photo by Mark DeYoung on Unsplash

Who hasn’t heard at some point in their lives that it’s beneficial to consume protein after working out? Whether you work out regularly or are a regular couch potato, it’s safe to assume you probably have this tip stored somewhere in the back of your mind. So, is it merely an urban legend, or is it based on facts? Let’s dig into it.

First of all, in order not to keep you hanging any longer, the recommendation of consuming protein as part of your workout routine is based on scientific facts. However, the “right after workout” part is a bit less unequivocal. 

Why It’s Critical

When we work out, our muscles work hard, which damages the muscle cells to a certain extent. This means they later need to recover and rebuild towards their next workout. Protein actually contains the very material making up our muscles—amino acids—which means, regularly consuming it is really important for muscle maintenance.

But Is It All About Timing?

Well, it depends on who you’re asking. Some people claim that there’s such a thing as an “anabolic window”, which takes place about 40 minutes after you finish working out; and is supposed to be the best time for the muscles to absorb and make optimal use of protein.

However, others say that it’s daily protein intake that actually determines how successful one is in building muscle. This is not to say that post-workout protein intake doesn’t count! But it offers a slightly broader view on how consuming protein throughout the entire day can assist with that, too.