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I use protein supplements when I don’t have time to make a solid post exercise meal for my protein source. This is when I realize that I didn’t premake my post workout meal, which is about a third of the time. And I will use powders to bring a meal up to the protein level I want if the whole food source is low in protein (just to make life easier sometimes).
But you should be planning out your meals and knowing all the components ahead of time as much as you can. This isn’t an absolute must for all meals. But if you aren’t planning at least half of your meals, you are really slacking on your program. It isn’t all that hard or time consuming. You just need to get started and eventually it will be automatic most of the time.
Use the shakes as a quick fix, not as a staple.
It really depends on your goals. If you are trying to build muscle and are participating in resistance strength training you need more protein for recovery then recommended on food labels. I think a protein shake post-workout with some carbs is ideal. Either it is already included in the shake or you can consume an outside source such a banana or granola bar. These foods will spike your insulin levels and force the protein into your muscle.
Around an hour after your exercise and your shake you should have a meal centered around complex carbs (whole wheat pasta/breads, beans), protein(meats) and low in saturated fats.
The reason we consume this an hour after your protein shake is because if you consume more than about 30g of protein at one time the excess amount will be wasted. It will either be stored as fat or urinated out.
Chris Baietto, B.S., CSCS, ACE
I am assuming you are eating a combination of complex carbs (ie. rice/sweet pot.), veggies, and lean protein for your meal. If that is the case, you really should not need additional protein at that time. Save your shake for post strength training recovery – a good whey protein blended with some fruit is great. If you are just enjoying a long run, the protein is not as essential since you will not be needing to rebuild muscle.
Great answers here. Thanks
Mac Dodds M.A., CSCS
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