I'm a boxer and after a workout I like to fix myself a recovery shake with protein, healthy fats and some carbs. After training I need some time to shower and change and then drive home. I'd say it takes me about 45 minutes. Is this already too late for the shake? I could bring whey powder and some soy milk to the gym but then I wouldn't have all the other goodies like banana, peanut butter and oats...

I read many times you should have your protein within 30 minutes of working out.

4 Answers 4


45 minutes is fine. 2 hours, also fine.

The whole "you need to do it RIGHT AFTER YOUR WORKOUT" is a misinterpretation of actual science, propagated by protein shake producers, because a protein shake is much more convenient than a chicken dinner in the locker room. They call it the "anabolic window".


  • Where is the threshold? If two hours is still fine, how long is not fine anymore? Or doesn't it matter?
    – user5376
    Commented Nov 15, 2015 at 21:24
  • 2
    @stacey - We're all different. There is no way to say that "you need to have protein in your mouth within 5 hours 23 minutes 12 seconds". Going from catabolic to anabolic is a continuous process, and is different from person to person. But a couple of hours is a nice rule of thumb.
    – Alec
    Commented Nov 15, 2015 at 21:27
  • From my understanding, our bodies do most of our repair while we're sleeping. If that's the case then I think so long as it's available in the blood during sleep then the body has what it needs
    – Bendy
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 14:03
  • 1
    @Bendy - You're right, but with a twist. It's not like ALL recovery is done while sleeping. The recovery process starts immediately, if there are resources for it. So if you work out in the morning, you wouldn't wait until nighttime to get your nutrition in. But I will say that having protein just before bed is amazing for overnight recovery!
    – Alec
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 17:55
  • 1
    Actually, it's not a myth, it's misinterpreted science. There was a 1988 study that showed that glycogen levels were replenished more rapidly when carbohydrates were consumed very shortly after exercise. However, this is not really a concern unless you are doing long duration (1+ hours) endurance type training.
    – JohnP
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 22:46

No, it's not late. Your body will be in need of proteins and carbs as long as it doesn't get enough amounts of them. But, it is better to get your nutrients before going to bed, else, it will result in catabolism.


For a post-workout meal time, don't buy into an arbitrary number of minutes or hours. Everybody is different. There isn't one schedule that works for all human bodies.

In my case, if I'm doing cardio, legs or abs, I normally start my workout at least 2 hours after eating. Sometimes I just go in before breakfast. I prefer an empty stomach for these sorts of exercises.

After the workout I just let my body guide me in terms of nutrition. Sometimes I feel a strong urge to eat right after, sometimes during, sometimes not for a few hours.

If I'm doing arms, shoulders, back or chest, I could have a meal right before a workout. This way I'm assured not to run out of energy for hours. Plus, I don't need to eat for hours after the workout.

This works well for me. May not work for you or others. Bottom line is listen to your body and don't worry too much about absolute claims (especially from people trying to sell you something).

When I was younger, I bought into the relentless and ubiquitous claim that I should drink 8 glasses of water a day. I tried my best to follow this advice. It was not a fun experience. I felt like I was forcing myself to drink water, was peeing all day, and couldn't help thinking I was flushing important nutrients out of my body. Well, turns out the claim was a load of crap:


One factor to consider is that if you've set yourself a high calorie & protein intake, one which challenges your normal appetite, a recovery shake immediately plus a meal some hours afterwards may be easier for hitting your intake goal than just one larger meal hours afterwards.

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