Spend any time in a gym and sooner or later you’ll spot someone mixing powder with water in an official-looking shaker immediately after a workout.
You’ve probably wondered, “What’s in that special powder?” and, “Why aren’t they waiting until they get home to drink that concoction?”
More than likely, the person you’ve observed is mixing up protein powder. Protein is essential to help us build muscle. When we work out, especially with weights, we damage our muscles on a microscopic level. Our body uses protein to repair this damage, forming new muscles in the process.
Scientists used to believe in an “anabolic window,” the hour after a workout in which you had to consume protein for muscles to build and recover. However, recent studies show the timing of protein consumption doesn’t impact muscle development.
Yes, you need protein to build muscle, but it doesn’t matter when you consume that protein.
Is there anything magical about ingesting protein in powder form as opposed to eating a chicken breast?
Most Americans consume more than enough protein. If you’re able to go home after your workout to eat a balanced meal with protein, fat, and unprocessed carbohydrates, you don’t need to add protein powder into the mix.
Protein powder does make sense in some circumstances though. Competitive bodybuilders need to consume massive amounts of protein, without the extra calories coming from other food sources. Also, if you need a quick, portable source of protein, mixing up protein powder post-workout is a great option.
So, bottom line — protein powder is a great option if you need a quick or convenient source of protein, but make sure you also consume other forms of protein as well!