If you've ever casually discussed sports nutrition, you may be familiar with the concept of an anabolic window. The idea is: after you exercise, your body is in a ramped-up state of protein absorption and muscle re-synthesis. In order to maximize your muscle-building potential, you should consume an easily digestible form of protein as soon as possible post-workout.
I.e. drink that protein shake after your workout to maximize your gains.
However, a new study suggests you may not need to down a protein shake after your exercise session. This research compared protein consumption before exercise to after exercise, and found no difference in the amount of muscle synthesis.
The previous concept of an anabolic window pointed to research done on participants in a fasted state, which doesn't apply to the majority of us when we go to exercise. This is important to note, as eating protein before your workout may be just as beneficial.