Should You Drink Protein Shakes Before or After Your Workout?

When to Consume Your Protein

Protein shakes are often thought of as a great post workout treat, something that makes it easy to get quick macronutrients into your muscles and start the recovery process right off the bat once you are done your workout. The anabolic window, despite being proven to be mostly false, is the reason for people rushing to get their protein in immediately after they are done at the gym. But with that being said, should you drink your protein shakes before or after your workout?

The Anabolic Window

First off, let’s discuss the anabolic window. You may have heard of this gym myth before, but the anabolic window is the extremely short 30 minute period of time after your workout when your muscles are broken down and in dire need of post workout flood of protein. It has been speculated that if you do not consume protein within that time frame, that your body will not utilize it properly and in essence, you will be leaving gains on the table. This has been proven to be mostly false, and you do not need to consume anything immediately after your workout, as the anabolic window is now thought to be much longer than 30 minutes, though it does not hurt to do so. 

So does this mean drink your protein shake before your workout?

Protein Shakes Before a Workout

Going into a workout, you should be well fed and have allowed yourself enough time to digest whatever you consume. Food is fuel, so when it comes to getting to the gym, you want to eat before your work out, right? So consume your protein shakes before a workout? 

Sure, if this is what you would like as your pre-workout fuel, there is absolutely no harm in downing a delicious protein shake before you hit the gym. But is having your protein before the gym better than after?

Protein Shakes After a Workout

Even though the anabolic window may not be entirely true, it cannot hurt to get your protein in right after you lift. A post workout shake is convenient, and it does get the nutrients to the muscles faster. 

Macros Over Timing

The truth is, it really does not matter when you take in your protein shake, but rather your total protein intake for the day. Now keep in mind, the body can only absorb a certain amount of protein every 1-2 hours, which is thought to be about 25-35 grams. The standard recommendation for protein intake for someone who is very active is 1 gram per pound of bodyweight

That being said, whether you drink your protein shake before or after a workout should depend largely on when you last consumed the muscle building macro. 

What to Consider

calories to build muscle

Something to consider is that food is fuel, and protein is honestly one of the most important macronutrients you can consume (although do not forget to take in your daily dose of fat and carbs). What to consider is timing your meals around your training. For many bodybuilders and people into heavy resistance training, their heaviest meals will be based before or after a workout. The reason for heavy meals before training is to provide fuel for their workout, and heavier meals after training helps replenish the spent calories and start the recovery process.

The issue with placing heavier meals around training is that some people may not have time to prepare a meal before or after the gym, and obligations in their daily lives can pull them everywhere but home. For example, if you are going right from work to the gym, or going to work after the gym, you might not have time to stop at home and make some food. 

This is a big reason that people will rely on protein shakes to substitute for their meals, and for good reason. Protein shakes certainly provide a nice and easy way to get your macros in without really any thought or effort. Just think, all you have to do is throw a scoop of protein powder into a shaker cup and add some water or milk if you so choose, then you have a ready to go shake that helps you hit your macros.

The problem is, a lot of protein powders on the market are packed with junk ingredients and additives, and they react in the body differently. Whole foods are usually the way to go when it comes to your food sources.

Our Recommendation 

When it comes to supplements and fitness related products, we do not mess around. Our team at Generation Iron hand picks each supplement, then tries it out for a period of time to make sure that we are providing honest, quality recommendations. 

That being said, in a world full of junk protein powders, one product that stands out comes from REDCON1, it is MRE LITE WHOLE FOOD PROTEIN, and lucky for you it is back in stock. 

MRE LITE is formulated for athletic people of all skill sets looking to keep a close and watchful eye on their macronutrients. MRE LITE is for men and women over the age 18.

Packed 24G of protein per serving and formulated with 5 whole food protein sources: chicken, beef, egg, salmon, and egg protein. It is not a whey protein, it is easy to digest and easy on the stomach, the macros support recovery and muscle building. The best part is, it mixes easily and has a creamy milkshake taste and texture. 

It comes in multiple delicious flavors, and not just your standard chocolate and vanilla. MRE LITE WHOLE FOOD PROTEIN comes in banana nut bread, fudge brownie, vanilla milkshake, snickerdoodle, oatmeal chocolate chip, peanut butter cookie, blueberry cobbler, and strawberry shortcake. 

If you are looking for a great protein shake before or after your workout, MRE LITE is certainly a great option. 

Check out our individual review for MRE LITE WHOLE FOOD PROTEIN here!

Verdict on Protein Shakes Before or After Your Workout

Pre-Workouts Vs. Fat BurnersHonestly, it does not really matter when you take in your protein shakes. Whether it be before or after your workout, what you really want to pay attention to is how much protein you are taking in every day. Macronutrients are key to progression, and protein shakes certainly aid in getting there. 

One protein product we can recommend is RECON1’s MRE LITE WHOLE FOOD PROTEIN, whether it be before or after your workout!


schneik4. (2022, October 26). When you should drink a protein shake. Cleveland Clinic.

Walle, G. V. D. (2023, March 30). Should you have a protein shake before or after your workout?. Healthline.
Dylan Wolf
I work mainly in content writing, focusing my free time on bodybuilding and strength sports. I was introduced to fitness in high school and after watching Generation Iron movies. I love to train. I have competed multiple times, even winning a junior title in classic physique. I have a bachelor's in criminal justice and business obtained through Alvernia University. When I am not focused on work or training, I enjoy watching films or reading about anything and everything.