Ah, one of my favorite questions ever. EVER. I get it all the time.
Well, I should be a little more specific; the question is usually, "Will protein powder make me fat if I don't work out?"
Before I address that, let me ask YOU some questions. Will cookies make me fat if I don't work out?
Will bacon cheeseburgers make me fat if I don't work out?
Will cherry tomatoes make me fat if I don't work out?
If you answered "yes" to all of those, you are right. If you answered "no" to all of those, you are also right.
As always, it depends on how much you're eating versus how much you're moving. If my only food was one bacon cheeseburger a day while doing intense workouts, I'd have a hard time gaining weight. If I ate 300 cherry tomatoes ten times a day (for whatever reason) and spent every day not leaving my couch, I would definitely expect some weight gain.
For the sake of making weight loss simpler, it's good to understand that there is no such thing as a "bad food" or "good food" when strictly looking at caloric intake. Basically, excess calories of ANYTHING will make you gain weight.
(NOTE: I do believe in healthy and unhealthy meals. Nutrient-dense whole foods are still my jam over artificial junk foods)
Now, let's go back to protein powder. I'm not sure how this rumor started, but for some reason people sometimes think there is a mystical property about protein powder whereby you will be cursed with fat gain if you take a scoop without working out that day. I assure you, no such dark magic exists.
Obviously, if you're fitting your protein powder calories into your food macros and calorie plan, as I touch on here, you'll be in fine shape. That goes for whether you're working out or not, as long as the calories fit into your plan.
In short, the answer is no, protein powder won't make you fat any more than any other food will. If you're not sure if you should be taking protein powder, check this out for some ideas.
Happy week, everyone!