This is the best time to drink your protein shake
Protein builds muscle.
If you're looking for optimum muscle growth your body needs a steady supply of good quality protein throughout the day.
It's made up of amino acids which are the building blocks of muscle - and you cannot hope to build or maintain muscle without it.
If you can get all your protein from natural animal and plant sources over the course of day, then you're golden.
But if you struggle to get down all those protein-packed meals of chicken breasts, turkey mince, white fish and lean steak, you probably have a protein shake.
They're a good way of ensuring that you get the right amount of the muscle-building macro nutrient in your diet.
But when are the best times of day to top up your protein supply with a shake?
4. First thing in the morning
You've been asleep all night and your body hasn't taken in any nutrients for at least eight hours. Drinking a protein shake first thing in the morning when you wake up will stop your body going catabolic (catabolism is basically when muscle tissue breaks down).
So getting your protein in early stops this process and gets some amino acids in quickly to stop muscle tissue being frittered away.
Any protein will do - but if you're not keen on salmon, steak or an omelette at the crack of dawn, a protein shake goes down easier, and a good whey will absorb quickly.
3. Last thing at night
This is another important time when you could consider having a protein shake. When you finally get to bed that's going to be at least eight hours when your body goes without nutrients.
Seeing as your body grows and repairs while you sleep, it's not a bad idea to get some protein in to help your recovery and stop muscle breakdown.
But you probably don't want fast-absorbing whey at this time, but many people opt for a casein protein which is slower digesting and releases slowly as you sleep.
2. Before you work out
Getting protein in half an hour before you train will set you up perfectly for a killer session. You could nail a big meal just before you go, but your body will still be digesting all that food and you'll feel sluggish and full.
The reason pre-workout protein is so beneficial is that it gets amino acids to your muscles ready for when you train.
Training is highly catabolic so this pre-gym protein 30 minutes before will stop your muscles breaking down, and will actually start protein synthesis while you train, rather than afterwards.
It also boosts fat burning during the workout, as Conor McGregor's diet guru George Lockhart explains here.
1. After you train
This is the key time when your body need protein the most. Your muscles have just taken an absolute hammering in the gym and now they need protein for recovery, repair and growth.
They will be like a sponge, so feed them up with a good quality whey protein, which is fast digesting.
The quicker you can get amino acids to your muscle tissue, the quicker you can start repairing and building muscle.
Some people prefer the ease of having a shake; others will tuck into proper protein-packed meal. It's up to you.