Drag your butt to the gym, slay your session, down a protein shake within 30 minutes, and go on with your day—we all know the formula to carve killer muscles, right?
Yet, when has anything ever been that simple? “It is crucial to consume protein within 30 to 45 minutes after your workout—but that’s at a minimum,” says Chris Jordan, C.S.C.S., director of exercise physiology at The Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute.
That half hour window is heavily influenced by, well, a whole lot of things. Plus, there’s 23.5 other hours in the day to consider. “You need to be consuming sufficient protein each and every day—both workout and rest days—evenly distributed across multiple meals to help optimize repair and growth.”
So what is the ideal protein shake schedule to build bulk?
We’ll get to that. First, a quick biology refresher: When you strength train, you’re actually damaging the muscles, causing small tears to the muscle tissue. It sounds bad, but this is what stimulates the muscle to repair itself and come back even stronger and bigger, Jordan explains. In order to repair, though, your muscle needs amino acids (the building blocks of protein) and energy (carbohydrates) to do the job.