Throughout my life of lifting weights, I have had mixed opinions about taking a protein supplement after my workout. To date, there is a good bit of strong scientific evidence that supports taking whey protein isolate after your workout to increase muscle size, strength and performance. Further, whey protein isolate may also help to improve your post-workout recovery. Whey protein isolate is a milk protein processed from cow’s milk. There are many available brands on the market, but I tend to prefer Bluebonnet WheyProtein Isolate because it comes from grass-fed cows. The risks — as with most supplements, they are not FDA approved, so you never truly know what is in them or if they are safe. Also, too much protein can be a bad thing, particularly if you have kidney problems. Always, check with your doctor before deciding to supplement with anything.
Ok, so you take whey protein isolate (or are thinking about it) and wonder if whey protein isolate enough to take after your workout.
The short answer — no.
Whey protein isolate only provides your body with an additional source of protein, and maybe some additional calories and minerals. This simply isn’t enough. After your workout, your body uses carbohydrates, which need to be replenished. In addition, in the process of repairing muscle, your body uses many different nutrients which are not in most whey protein isolate supplements. These are not meant to be meal replacements at all.
After every workout, take your whey isolate supplement (if you choose to) and eat something within 30 to 2 hours of your workout. The earlier the better. The best all-around post-workout meal is probably a turkey sandwich. The bread, turkey, lettuce, and other healthy toppings provide a complete range of nutrients that you body needs, including fiber, vitamins and additional protein. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is another great option. If a sandwich isn’t convenient or your preference, try eating fruit or vegetables.
Overall, don’t fall into the trap of using whey protein isolate as a meal replacement. No matter the time of day, try to eat something after your workout that can be coupled with a whey protein isolate supplement if you choose.