Have you ever heard about the Anabolic Window for muscle growth? You know, that magical 30 minute window after your workout where it is extremely critical to get protein in you to make huge gains?! Well, if you have been up to date on the research, it doesn't really seem to be a real thing, or at least that window is extended much greater than 30 minutes. If this is news to you, don't worry, your workout still counts even if you don't get protein in immediately after your workout session.
So, what does this mean about protein powders now? Do we need to throw away our protein powder because this isn't as true as we once thought? Not so fast...If protein powders fit into your budget, don't throw them away just yet. I'm going to share my thoughts on why I still drink a protein shake post workout and recommend them to my clients as well.
Yes, I have my own Private Label of supplements, and yes I'm going to tell you that they taste amazing and they seem to digest really well for most people. I like to think that it's a great quality product. I even created this Brand after I knew that the Anabolic Window wasn't a real thing...But, I DO NOT MAKE A LIVING SELLING SUPPLEMENTS. In all honesty, I created the brand to have supplements that I knew my clients could have access to. If people outside of my facility want them, then that's cool too! But, me having my own Brand ONE EVO, has zero influence of my opinion on this topic.
So hang tight and lets get to my thoughts on protein shakes...
"I got the shakes that'll make you quake" -Cheeseburger Eddie
We know that in our body, we store protein in our bloodstream. We don't have any fast reserve of using protein. So, I find it very beneficial that if you're trying to gain muscle or minimize muscle loss in an optimal manor, you should be consuming protein at least every 4 hours. I find this to be a very good idea if you're trying to maximize performance and physique of your muscle quality.
Why is this important to know? Let's talk about training and meal timing. Most people are going to have their pre workout meal 1-2 hours before your workout. Then they will probably train for a hour or so at the gym or wherever it is. Then it may be another 1-2 hours until they can have their post workout meal. So if you're like me, my pre workout meal and my post workout meal will be closer to the 2 hours range as I need time for food settle to digest in order to train well and I can never eat solid food right after a workout.
Let's do some basic math for people like myself who need the 2 hours pre and post workout.
Pre Workout Meal: 2 hours
Workout: 1 hour
Post Wokout Meal: 2 hours
Total time between meals=5 hours
So, this is where I believe a protein shake can help fill a small void in your day. When you have a decent amount of time that passes by, like your workout, you can easily drink and digest a protein shake to get some protein in your bloodstream. This idea is not motivated by the 30 minute anabolic window, it's just to a convenient time to digest a shake and will mostly NOT HURT your progress if you do decide to drink a shake afterwards. Most people are not going to be able to eat and digest steak or chicken during or after training to rely on getting in their protein. This is where the idea of drinking a shake can come into play to help you fill that big gap. We are talking about convenience, not solutions to bigger problems.
What is the most important thing for you to consider about protein shakes? That they are available to HELP YOU along throughout your day. They are not meant to replace any lean protein food. I tell my clients that supplements are like icing on a cake, and that if the cake itself isn't any good, no icing will make up for it. So if you have protein powder and it helps you fill a void throughout the day to keep your nutrition in check to help you, then by all means drink your protein shake! Even if the Anabolic Window is a lot bigger than we thought...
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Physical Prep Coach & Owner of Joel Younkins Training.