The most beneficial time to drink a protein shake is within the first 20 minutes after a workout. This is when muscle synthesis is at its peak. Studies show that between 20 and 40 grams of protein is ideal for recovery. If you want to add more than one protein shake, drinking a pre-workout is beneficial but not essential. You can also add a pre bed casein protein drink to aid in muscle recovery during sleep.
There are many times during the day when a protein drink can aid in muscle recovery. The most common and best time to drink a protein shake, if you’re limited to one per day, is within 20 minutes post workout. After a workout, your muscles are torn and damaged. Your body is working to rebuild that damage by regenerating new muscle, so getting between 20 and 40 grams of protein during this time is essential for muscle synthesis and recovery. This is typically a whey isolate or concentrate.
If you are looking to add protein in addition to the post workout protein, one of the next best options would be a pre workout protein shake. A pre workout is beneficial if you have not eaten within 3 hours before your planned workout. Your body uses Macros to give you energy during your workout, if you did not eat protein or carbs, drinking a protein shake will give your body what it needs to perform at the gym. Pre workout should consist of whey concentrate with amino acids and carbohydrates.
The next best time to drink a protein drink is right before bed. Muscle recovery occurs while you are sleeping. To aid in recovery drink a casein protein before bed, the casein is a slow digesting protein making it perfect as a pre bed recovery drink. Each protein drink should consist between 20 and 40 grams of protein for optimal performance.
If you are adding a protein drink to your diet for weight loss instead of muscle recovery, drinking a protein shake for breakfast will help to keep you feeling full for longer. Meal replacement protein drinks are also a good option to aid in consuming fewer calories for weight loss. Aim for a protein shake with over 200 calories if you are using a shake as a meal replacement.
References: DailyBurn, MensFitness, RelentlessGains