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I usually workout at 12pm, take a PWO afterwards, and then lunch. It just occurred to me that I'm taking PWO 50 grams of protein + 30 in a meal in a very close proximity, and the body can probably absort only so much.

I've heard people say that taking protein pre workout give your body an hour to digest the protein, so it reaches the body stream right then you finish.

Are there any benefits in taking a PWO shake pre workout?

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What the other answers said. Additionaly, even the little extra-ingredients of a PWO make sense before workout. Creatine, Beta-Alanine, Carnitine and Taurine as well as the BCAAs all make sense prior to workout as much as post workout. That is if your PWO has those in it, at all. –  LarissaGodzilla Mar 26 at 17:35
    
If it's a post workout shake, it should be taken after the workout. If you take it before the workout, it's become pre-workout shake . But yeah, you can take it before or after the workout :). –  Kneel-Before-ZOD Mar 26 at 19:16

5 Answers 5

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Generally what's known scientifically is that before or after a workout, your body can't differentiate between such states where it somehow arbitrarily "needs" something and can utilize it better just because it's in this mythical state.

e.g.1 your body thinks it can somehow better utilize the protein it gets right after a workout

e.g.2 this guy just worked out and now his body "thinks" it's in a state where it "requires" a post workout shake to get gains.

This is really just a myth and has no scientific grounding.

What most modern studies have indicated is that the post/preworkout craze is really just that, a craze conceived from "bro-science", and, that it's actually the average protein intake over a given period of time that really has the most impact on things like recovery, strength gains, hypertrophy, etc.

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The window of heightened protein synthesis after training is 24 hours long. It's easy to take advantage of that. –  Berin Loritsch Feb 19 at 15:15
    
Good comment. I just wanted to emphasize the point that you don't need to consume anything in a specific 15-30 minute time window either before or after a workout to "get gains". –  Christopher Bruce Feb 19 at 15:30
    
I've never heard about that 24 hour window before. Does anyone have a reference for it? –  jp2code Feb 19 at 17:02
    
Here's one study: easacademy.org/research-news/article/… –  Berin Loritsch Feb 19 at 19:25
    
A lot more are referenced in this article: t-nation.com/free_online_article/… –  Berin Loritsch Feb 19 at 19:33

There's a very good series of articles called "The Protein Bible" over at schwartzeneggar.com

  • Part 1: General info and protein sources
  • Part 2: Protein Powders
  • Part 3: Protein, and suiting it to your goals
  • Part 4: Protein and Amino Acid Timing

The article is written by the founders of Examine.com, which independently reviews research about a number of supplements. It is consequently well researched and fairly easy to understand.

In the section on protein timing, they made a couple very good points:

  • This post workout ‘window’ definitely does apply for the purpose of glycogen replenishment (carbs), but does not apply to muscle protein synthesis.
  • The majority of the research on post workout shakes was conducted in fasted training, not fed training (and as will soon be explained, even if you do train ‘fasted’ there is a better option than a post workout shake).

In a fed state, there were no significant differences found [1] [2].

The whole article is worth a read, because it helps dispel myths that supplement manufacturers want to keep going so you spend more money (hopefully on their stuff). It also helps you understand realistically what your body needs.

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Some of this myth regarding protein replacement after workouts is coming from the endurance athletic sector.

Endurance workouts can run anywhere from 30 minutes to 6+ hours (With the longer workouts needing supplemental food/fluids during training to avoid complete depletion, aka "the bonk" {which is another very misapplied term/concept}). Once you are finished with this, you need to replace basic electrolyte stores as well as muscle glycogen and fluid.

Due to heightened insulin sensitivity, there is a 30 minute time frame post workout where the body will most readily move nutrients into the cells for replacement. Usually an easily digested carbohydrate of some sort is recommended. Studies have been done showing that milk, with a 3:1 carbohydrate/protein ratio is ideal, and easily matches or outperforms every recovery drink on the market.

When you stress the muscle fibers for repair, your body generally has everything it needs to repair and improve the muscle fibers damaged during the workout. As Berin stated and answered, this is a longer process than just the hour after a workout, and can easily be supplemented by a healthy diet and protein intake over the next day.

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There is an article on muscleforlife.com that references a lot of studies:

... They took 6, normal untrained men and intravenously infused them with a balanced amino acid mixture both at rest, and after a leg workout. The post-workout infusion resulted in 30-100% more protein synthesis than the at-rest infusion.

There is enough benefit in post-workout nutrition to want to utilize it.

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I usually workout at 12pm, take a PWO afterwards, and then lunch. It just occurred to me that I'm taking PWO 50 grams of protein + 30 in a meal in a very close proximity, and the body can probably absort only so much.

I've heard people say that taking protein pre workout give your body an hour to digest the protein, so it reaches the body stream right then you finish.

Are there any benefits in taking a PWO shake pre workout?

Can you define PWO? Is that PRE-Workout or POST-Workout? I can still provide some information, I just do not know the context of your definition.

You are definitely taking too much protein at one time. Your body is likely convert that extra protein into fat so it can store it.

The benefits of a pre-workout shake vary with what state your body is going to be in before you get to the gym.

  • If you have not had any food for a long time, a pre-workout shake with "simple carbs" (i.e. sugar) and protein will help you not feel "dead" during your workout. You need to give the carbs time to absorb. The protein will be there simply because you have not had any in a while.

  • If you want an energy boost, there are things like Ripped Fuel that may or may not contain protein. I think these are what most people refer to when talking about a pre-workout drink.

  • If your goal is simply to increase the amount of protein you are taking in a day, a good rule of thumb is to only take in about 20-30 grams of protein per hour, depending on your size and the kind of workout you are doing.

I personally always try to have a good, easily absorbed protein shake within an hour of ending my workout (contrary to comments on Christopher Bruce's answer). My personal favorite is this low calorie, low cost, whey protein isolate: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009K6XH9Q It is cheaper than drinking the same amount of protein in a glass of milk.

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80 grams of protein is only 320 calories. Your body won't "tuck it away as fat". Also, 20-30 grams of protein per hour, for an 8 hour day is 160-240 grams of protein. That's 2-3g/kg of protein for an 80kg individual. Way overkill. –  JohnP Feb 19 at 22:28
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You are reading too much into it, JohnP. If a person's system is unable to process a full 80 g of protein, whatever does not get stored as fat gets discarded as bodily waste - just like most other foods. Also, I'm not saying 20-30 g of protein per hour all day long, but that there is no need in exceeding that amount in a given time frame. –  jp2code Feb 19 at 22:47

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