I am a 17 year old athlete, and am trying to build muscle effectively. I workout maybe 3-4 times a week for an hour with a combination of running, pushups, crunches, lifting and chin ups in varying order. I am working to increase my endurance as well as mass and strength and I often drink whey protein after workouts, but some of my friends drink it pre workout. I wanted to ask the community if it is more effective or efficient to drink it pre or post workout to maximize muscle gain.
Divide your dose. Have some before and some after your workout. Unlike fat and carbohydrates your body can't store protein. If it doesn't get absorbed it gets passed through your digestive tract, your liver, your kidneys, etc. This not only wastes protein/ supplements and money it also taxes your machine by forcing it to process something that it can't use.
Analyse and calculate your protein needs very carefully and try to meet them without going over. Once you've calculated what you'll need divide that up into doses throughout the day. Use more on workout days before and after workouts. Don't forget to include the protein in the food you consume in your calculations.
Remember more frequent smaller doses are better than infrequent large doses. Why? Because you can't store the protein!
Having a protein before your workout will allow you to have more energy, resulting in your workouts feeling stronger, but you will not burn as much fat when you workout.
After your workouts, it is commonly accepted that your body acts like a sponge for about an hour while your muscles attempt to collect nutrients to repair what was torn down during the workout. That is why it is important to have a quality source of protein immediately after your workouts.
I would tend to say having your protein after your workouts is more important.
If you are fat and/or you had a decent meal within the last 3 or 4 hours, that protein drink before a workout is not really needed because your body has energy stored up and ready to burn.
If you are very lean and/or cutting calories to drop some weight, then you are likely to show up at the gym with no energy. To prevent this, take 10 to 25 grams of protein 30 to 60 minutes before going to the gym. This does not need to be 100% protein, and it would even be good to have some carbs in there to help make you feel pumped in the gym.
That being said, I should probably start taking a little protein before I go to the gym in the morning because my body has fasted for 6 to 8 hours during my sleep. (Note to self...)
To answer your question specifically: it doesn't matter. Studies show that the average amount of protein taken in over a given period of time(days, weeks)is what matters far more than getting your whey in before or after. The body does not really become magically more efficient at using protein after a workout. As long as you're hitting your daily intake spread out amongst reasonable servings(instead of trying to consume 80g of protein all at once)each day you'll be fine.
Remember the 80/20 rule. 80% of the results actually come from 20% of the things that matter.
The 1 hour post workout window is actually a thinly substantiated myth. If you ACTUALLY want to focus on getting your protein in after a work out then just make sure you get it in at some point in the following 24 hours. I'm not kidding:
Another good reason dispelling some myths:
Agree Christopher, pre/post doesn't matter.
If you are eating enough protein, you will likely still be digesting protein when you workout and for the next few hours after.
Do what makes you feel better. Pre will give you more energy, but I personally do IF and lift fasted, waiting till after I workout for my first meal. Sometimes its a shake, sometimes its chicken or shake.
I also prefer to get as much of my nutrients, including protein, in as close to whole form as possible. This means if I can meet my protein requirements of 240g/day eating meat, there is no benefit at all to taking whey. If I have enough carbs/fat in my macros, I may drink a whole quart of whole or skim milk. Only if I am too busy to cook or too full do I use whey.