T Nation

The Necessity for a Protein Shake?


Just because I've heard different opinions on this...
Do I really need to slam down a protein shake immediately after I finish training? I have my breakfast finished an hour before I start, and its a large, substantial breakfast- it gets me though my hour of training. During my workout I'll just drink water- used to drink Gatorade but sometime it left me feeling sorta 'fuzzy' so I don't anymore.

I then finish my session with a 10-minute cardio cool-down, grab my bag outta the locker and walk 15 minute back to my flat. Its just, in my mind, why would it be absolutely essential to have a whey protein shake a couple of minutes after I finish, when I'm gonna be having my PWO meal 20 minutes after I finish, which gives me 50g of protein in itself, along with my carbs and some fats.

Surely if I had a shake with another 20g protein that'd be a hell of a lot within a short space of time, and, being a small guy, I don't have a huge protein requirement (and I exceed it every day anyway.) Would most of that protein not just end up going to waste?

It's just my musings, so call me an idiot if I'm really wrong about it, I'd just be interested to see what other more experienced, knowledgeable guys might think.
Cheers fellas


its hard to have too many calories during/after training. Your muscles are damaged, your body is gonna put that protein to good use. If you're trying to gain weight, the sooner you can get some whey and simple carbs in you the better, although it wont wreck you to wait the 25 mins till you get home and have a meal. if you can do it, do it. if not, dont sweat it.


Not always as big a deal as made out to be IMO. If your breakfast truly is substantial(you don't give specifics), and you are eating it that close before you train and it fuels you through your training session then it's not going to be imperative you start drinking immediately like the dogma suggests. There was a fine article on here sometime back with I believe Dave Tate dispelling the myth the PWO is the panacea it is made out to be.

I believe the basic summary was even if you have the latest/greatest PWO meal/shake known to man timed to the ever pefect millisecond: it doesn't mean jack if your dietary habits the rest of the day are not up to par. Conversely, if your nutrient intake the rest of the day IS up to par; the addtional benefits of said perfect PWO shake/meal(if anyone actually knows what that is) are vastly overstated.

Just my 2 cents.......


Can't remember where I read this, might have even been a T-Nation article - something about it being best to wait 20-30 minutes because if you start ingesting stuff the blood will have to be pulled away from the muscles and to the stomach for digestion.


I think you'll find this interesting. This is probably the one El Sonido was talking about:


so according to this article, it's better to wait after training to drink the protein shake, but it doesn't specify how long to wait. Iffy article IMO.


So try it both ways for yourself.

IMO naturally skinny people have the most to gain from a good PWO drink because they have a large cortisol response to training.


I never quite understood how to effectively put that article into practice, but if you read Thib's latest locker room, I think the stuff he's talking about now has the same premise.


i used to drink a dextrose/maltodextrin drink PWO, i even tried that hydrolyzed protein crap, i think its a waste of money.
i now drink a shake PWO mainly because i am due for a meal anyway, and couldn't be bothered preparing a PWO meal, and all i drink is ground up oats and plain whey protein concentrate, i have become leaner while not losing weight since doing this.

its winter here now, so ive been having pumpkin soup with WPC blended into it for a PWO meal, it goes good.


Agreed, but on that point, it says more or less an hour for PWO shake. You're right, it doesn't specify for the protein shake after PWO shake though.

"Comparing research that used drinks consumed immediately after a workout (Tipton et al., 2001) versus those ingested an hour after training (Rasmussen et al., 2000), the results are surprising: it seems that post workout meal ingestion actually results in 30% lower protein synthesis rates than when we wait!"

A suggestion to OP: you might want to consider taking PWO shake (whenever it's best for you) then wait a bit to drink a protein shake (who knows how long??), make it more than 20 g, and count it as a meal.