In general, the three most critical times for drinking your protein are:
- First thing in the morning
- Half hour before a workout
- Immediately following your resistance or weight training workout.
Why first thing in the morning?
Well, when you wake up, you have essentially been in a fasted state for the past seven to eight hours. That means you’ve had no protein during this time and you are at risk for becoming catabolic (meaning you’ll start to break down muscle for fuel.) By drinking a protein shake with some simple carbs (like orange juice or a banana blended in) as soon as you wake up, you can stop this muscle breakdown dead in its tracks and put yourself back in “positive nitrogen balance” — a fancy term that simply means you have more protein available for your body than what it is using for fuel or excreting.
The second key window of opportunity for drinking a protein shake ishalf hour before your workout.
This sets up the “anabolic window” before your workout and provides your muscles with adequate nutrition so that the effects of weight training (weight training breaks down muscle-called catabolic) are not as severe.
And immediately following your resistance or weight training workout.
During this 30-60 minute post-workout window, your muscles are like a sponge and need instant nutrition for muscle recovery and growth. Your body also utilizes carbohydrates more efficiently during this period, due to increased insulin sensitivity, so drinking your protein shake with some simple carbs can help the body more efficient absorb amino acids and utilize them for ongoing tissue repair and growth.