Once mixed, protein powders immediately begin to get worse – they often last only 2 – 4 hours at room temperature (if left unrefrigerated).
Shakes left out after this are not entirely undrinkable, just far less pleasant and far more digestively risky than the fresh kind. They’re clearly and unquestionably less enjoyable/effective.
This isn’t a clear cut-off point. Rather, you’re going to experience a progressively worse shake over time, depending on how long you leave it. There’s no single time when it switches from “good” to “bad” – every hour is a slow curdling/fermenting process.
What Affects Protein Shake Gross-ness Rates?
Different protein powders have different effects and times, so we recommend experimenting with what you’re using. A plant based protein powder (other than soy) can last longer – and a brown rice protein or blend is often more stable than a dairy based powder.
This won’t save you from the problem entirely – protein shakes are inherently quite gross and will always age badly – but it may be less of a concern.
On the other hand, if you’re blending your protein shake using other foods or supplements, you may experience a faster turn. If you’re combining acidic or fruity products, or anything bitty, you’re going to need to be more diligent.
These can settle, react with your protein powder, and produce a faster/worse decline. But how are you going to deal with this?
How Can You Stop Your Protein Shake Going Off?
Protein powders can go bad by themselves, but once they’re exposed to moisture by being mixed with milk or water, they’re a nightmare for going off.
We’ve all left a protein shaker without cleaning it for a day or two and the results are biblically unpleasant. The trademark smell of old protein powder is a warning and reminder to take better care of your shakers.
Can You Pre-Mix Protein Shakes?
Can you make protein shake before a workout & drink it later?
The best approach is simply to make a shake as close as possible to when you drink it.
It’s a product you can prepare on the fly with a shaker and a container for your protein powder. Just pour in your favorite beverage (or water), add protein powder to the shaker, then shake for 20 – 30 seconds.
Many of the best shaker cups even provide a separate compartment for storage (like the one below).
Can You Make Your Protein Shake the Night Before?
The only way to really get around this is high-quality refrigeration. If you can keep the shake chilled during the day then the chemical processes that cause it to go disgusting are stalled and slowed.
If you’re going to prepare a shake for tomorrow, for example, you should be keeping it refrigerated. This keeps it fresh and might save you from an unpleasant surprise in the morning!
If you can’t make this work with your transport/schedule/equipment, then ready-to-drink (RTD) protein shakes are a totally reasonable option. These are produced specifically to be stored and consumed on the go, while protein bars also work well.
Protein shakes – dairy or plant based – are going to go off. They’re rich in protein and sugars can rapidly accelerate the breakdown.
Overall, you need to have a good idea about what you’re using and how you’re going to keep it fresh and effective. You don’t want a smelly shaker full of chunky protein shake, so pay attention to when and how you’re using your protein shakes!
Last update on 2019-08-20 UTC -5 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API - Details