After a workout, when is the best time to consume protein to maximize muscle growth?Generally, you should consume protein within 30 minutes after the conclusion of your workout. You should be eating carbs during this time too. And the carbs do not have to be sugar/white flour/etc.
As to your second question:
- Maybe not directly but that doesn't matter. If you want to build muscle, you should be eating protein multiple times a day. Don't worry about which serving is doing what. They are all helping in some way (your body uses protein for other things besides building muscle .
- Protein does not convert to fat easily. It is the one macronutiriet I wouldn't worry about over eating.
- You might want to have a small meal (with protein) an hour or two before working out rather than 4 to 6.
A note on pre workout nutrition:
Eating directly before a workout is fine if you can handle it but is not necessary. The big downside is that it can make you feel full/tired and take away from your performance but this depends on the person and the workout. Having a protein shake or a piece of chicken (maybe with some light carbs such as a fruit or a piece of bread) an hour before a workout is probably ideal since it wont interfere with your workout but will still help maintain energy levels.
Don't over think it. Eat a lot, eat clean, eat after workouts and you'll be good to go.