When you push through a tough training session your muscles are constantly challenged, and their fibres begin to break down and sustain damage, (not a bad thing).The process of repairing and rebuilding those fibers called, muscle protein synthesis, uses amino acids from protein to encourage healthy recovery and muscle growth (a really good thing). Although any nutritious source of protein will help the process along, there are few clear advantages to drinking protein shakes after exercise.
Protein powder is an isolated nutrient source, so it provides a lot of nutrition for relatively few calories. After exercise, your body needs that nutrition to recover, but it doesn’t need enough calories to ruin all the effort you put forth during your workout. For post-training find a protein shake that contains some carbs, or blend your shake with a carb-rich snack like a banana. According to the National Sports and Conditioning Association, when you eat carbs and protein in a 4:1ratio within 30 minutes of exercise, you’ll recover faster and actually gain more strength and that’s a really good thing.
Most protein powders on the market feature whey protein concentrate or whey protein isolate as primary ingredients. Whey is a “fast-acting” protein, so most people are able to digest it easily. That makes it a prime choice for post-workout protein shakes as well. Although whey doesn’t affect all athletes in the same way, whey, however, does have the ability to stimulate gains in muscle size in some people, when combined with proper nutrition and regular strength training.
After assessing a wide collection of research related to protein and exercise, the International Society of Sports Nutrition published an article in 2007 stating that having protein shortly after a workout is associated with fewer medical visits, decreased muscular soreness and better immune response to infections. Subjects who received a placebo after their workouts got sick more often and logged more total doctors’ visits.