The type of protein powder that is best for post-workout recovery is one that is quickly absorbed and utilized by the body, providing the amino acids necessary for muscle repair and growth. Whey protein powder, which is derived from milk, is considered the most effective protein for post-workout recovery because it is quickly digested and has a high content of essential amino acids, including leucine, which is particularly important for muscle protein synthesis. However, plant-based protein powders such as pea protein, brown rice protein, or soy protein can also be effective for post-workout recovery as they contain all essential amino acids and are easily digestible.
A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition compared the effects of whey protein and casein protein supplementation on muscle recovery after resistance exercise. The study found that whey protein supplementation resulted in greater muscle protein synthesis and a faster recovery of muscle function than casein protein supplementation (1). Another study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition compared the effects of whey protein and pea protein supplementation on muscle recovery after intense resistance exercise. The study found that both protein sources resulted in similar gains in muscle mass and strength, suggesting that pea protein can be an effective alternative to whey protein for post-workout recovery (2).
- Tang, J. E., Moore, D. R., Kujbida, G. W., Tarnopolsky, M. A., & Phillips, S. M. (2009). Ingestion of whey hydrolysate, casein, or soy protein isolate: effects on mixed muscle protein synthesis at rest and following resistance exercise in young men. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 6(1), 1-9.
- Babault, N., Païzis, C., Deley, G., Guérin-Deremaux, L., Saniez, M. H., Lefranc-Millot, C., & Allaert, F. A. (2015). Pea proteins oral supplementation promotes muscle thickness gains during resistance training: a double-blind, randomized, Placebo-controlled clinical trial vs. Whey protein. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 34(3), 185-193.