Protein powder is not necessary after a workout, as it is possible to meet your protein needs through a balanced diet that includes a variety of protein-rich foods. However, protein powder can be a convenient and practical option for individuals who are looking to increase their protein intake, especially after a workout.
Exercise, particularly resistance training, can cause muscle damage, which leads to an increased need for protein to support muscle recovery and growth. Consuming protein after a workout can help stimulate muscle protein synthesis, which is the process by which your body repairs and rebuilds muscle tissue.
For most people, consuming 20-40 grams of protein within the first hour after a workout is sufficient to support muscle recovery and growth. This can be achieved through a combination of whole food sources and protein powder, or simply through whole food sources alone.