Should You Drink a Protein Shake After a Cardio Workout?

Kaelin Tuell Poulin, LadyBoss Co-Founder, Weight Loss Expert, Best Selling Author

Kaelin Tuell Poulin is an award-winning fitness professional, best selling author, and weight loss expert who personally lost 65 pounds in 7 months. The founder of The LadyBoss Movement, her LadyBoss Formula has helped tens of thousands of women lose weight and keep it off forever.

You know to drink a protein shake after lifting weights, but should you drink protein after cardio too?  After all, isn’t the point of drinking a protein shake after weight lifting to help build and repair muscle?  So, does the same principle apply to drinking a protein shake after a cardio workout if cardio is more about fat loss and not so much about building muscle?

The short answer to the question of “Should I take protein after cardio?” is yes!  Because when you drink a protein shake after cardio, you are still gaining benefits for your muscles and overall recovery.

So why is a protein drink good after cardio? Well, we’ve got two very good reasons to share with you so you’ll never have to wonder about it again!

In this article:

Benefit #1: Recovery

Benefit #2: Performance

Benefit #1 of a Protein Shake After A Cardio Workout: Recovery

When it comes to proper post-cardio refueling, it’s all about the carbs to protein ratio.  This ratio is especially true if you just finished a HIIT circuit or other high-intensity cardio. 

First of all, by drinking a protein shake that contains a proper balance of protein and carbohydrates, such as LadyBoss LEAN®, your body is getting what it needs to refuel and rebuild.   

The carbohydrates help replenish the glycogen stores you lost during exercise.  The energy you just used to perform that high-intensity cardio workout? That came from your body’s glycogen stores.  So when you finish, your body is looking for something to replenish that expelled energy.  A protein shake after a workout can do just that.

Along with replenishing your glycogen stores, the protein you get from the shake plays a role.  While you don’t typically build muscle during cardio, protein is still vital to preserving that muscle.  When you perform cardio, you are in fat-burning mode.  The last thing you want is for your body to take that hard-earned muscle and begin breaking it down as fuel.

That can happen if you don’t provide your body with protein after cardio to help preserve your muscle mass. So drinking a protein shake after cardio may not help you build muscle; it does help your body recover while protecting the muscle you’ve gained from strength training.

Benefit #2 of a Protein Shake After A Cardio Workout: Performance

Who doesn’t want to perform better during exercise?  

One study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that cyclists who drank chocolate milk after an intense cardio workout saw significant improvements in overall exercise performance over time.  Now, that doesn’t mean that everyone should head out and start downing chocolate milk after a workout.

The point of the study is that chocolate milk contains both carbs and protein. This combination does its magic to help restore glycogen stores and preserve muscle, improving exercise performance over time.

That same study found that cyclists who only drank sports drinks, which only contained carbohydrates, saw less improvement in their exercise performance over time. 

 That is why drinking your LEAN shake after your intense cardio session will not only help you recover faster but, over time, can provide benefits to help you perform better during that fierce cardio.

That’s what we call a win-win.

Yes, You Should Drink a Protein Shake After a Cardio Workout

There you have it;  two huge benefits you get from drinking a protein shake after a workout. 

When you challenge your body, whether you are strength training, performing HIIT, or doing cardio sprints on the treadmill, it is essential to replenish what your body loses on account of those challenges.

Drinking a protein shake within the hour after an intense cardio workout not only helps your body recover faster as well as preserve muscle mass, it can help improve your overall exercise performance.

So yes, drink that LEAN shake after your HIIT circuit, and get those benefits!  You’ve earned them.



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