If you want to maximize your muscle building potential, you should be consuming about 1 gram of protein for every 1 lb of body weight. This may be hard to do for many of you who are active and have full time jobs or school. The easiest and most effective way to ensure that your body meets its protein requirement is by drinking quality protein shakes.

Protein shakes are so convenient and easy to make that you have no excuse not to get in your daily requirements. We’re going to discuss the best times to drink a protein shake and how it relates to muscle recovery and growth.

The Best Times to Drink a Protein Shake

1. Post-Workout

Whey protein is a must for post workout muscle recovery. You should be consuming a whey protein shake within 30 minutes following an intense workout session.

According to the book Nutrient Timing, the perfect post workout shake will consist of whey protein in conjunction with a fast digesting carbohydrate. The carbohydrate source will serve as a nutrient activator and help your muscles and body quickly absorb the protein and amino acids that are in the whey protein shake. Whey protein is a very fast digesting protein source and is ideal for post workout consumption.

2. Upon Waking

When you first wake up your body needs to go from a state of catabolism to anabolism to set the stage for new muscle growth to occur. One of the best ways to do this is to feed your body a rich source of protein and amino acids upon waking.

Drinking a whey protein shake immediately upon waking is a great way to set the stage for muscle growth and to help counteract muscle breakdown. A protein shake with a handful of almonds will set you up nicely for the day ahead!

3. Before Sleeping

Drinking a protein shake before going to sleep is another effective way to build lean muscles and recover quicker. During the night your body will go for several hours without food, it is recommended that you drink a protein shake prior to sleeping in order to prevent your muscles from entering a catabolic state. Casein protein is highly recommended instead of whey protein before bed as it provides a tapered release of nutrients to the muscles overnight.

If you don’t have casein protein available, an alternative option could be to mix whey protein with milk. This will cause the protein digestion to slow down slightly and give you a more similar effect to Casein.

4. Pre-Workout

Another effective time of the day to consume a protein shake is before a workout. It’s best to consume your protein shake 40-60 minutes before a training session. By consuming a protein shake before working out you are feeding your body a rich source of muscle building amino acids and will prepare your body for a great muscle building workout. It will also help to keep you full until after your workout. Have you ever tried working out when you are starving and can’t stop thinking about food? It is not fun! Make sure to drink a protein shake so this doesn’t happen to you.