So here's my basic response to your post Jason. Nothing aimed at you personally just the points you made.
I train for great results, not pretty good. I'm currently still gaining & I ve gone from 132lb to 187lb in 9ish months.
You are right saying an immediate protein shake is not entirely needed but what is needed is amino acids in the blood from previous meals, up to 24hrs before.
The body responds almost immediately when foods consumed, even more so with sugar & the insulin response. So anything in the blood stream & in the stomach will almost immediately begin being shuttled to the muscle (exercise increases glut-2 expression on muscle cells, down regulates it on adipocytes=bonus).
So creatine passing the gut without being actively transported, amino acids either in raw form or from quality proteins pass the gut quickly & enter the blood. Also aminos already in the blood pass.
Recovery obviously takes hours, days so post workout nutrition is just as important as pre workout.
If you're aiming at just protein shakes all I can say is that if they help you in your every day life eg myself I work 12 hr days/nights. I can't keep going off to eat so a shake is convenient. That's how I treat them as convenient, not an actual protein source which I depend upon.
If you have ever used bcaa's, creatine,leucine, taurine & a number of quality supps the majority of people will see the difference in adding/removing them & actual body composition. I do agree that some people do not respond to some things like myself using pre workout shakes/energy drinks/shakes,They do nothing for me & I'd prefer coffee, banana covered in peanut butter.
A med protein, high carb/bcaa/lecuine & creatine shake towards or after training Is great. Especially on a low carbs (fasted/semi fasted not a deplete)
You are right but...supps do work. They key is experimenting & seeing what works for you. I buy my supps in raw form eg bcaa's glutamine ect & mix my own shakes. I'd never consider buying some of the crap that's peddled on sites/mags. Just don't be so quick to dismiss some, you seem an intelligent guy so do a bit of experimenting/research.
Don't wanna go back & forth over this, you said your bit I ve said mine.
Ps if anything has been "auto corrected" or something doesn't quite make sense I blame my iPhone