Protein is one of the most important parts of your diet. Especially if you love hitting the gym. This nutrient is responsible for growing your muscles. Time your meals right and you could supercharge your muscle growth. Should you be taking protein before bed? Let’s delve into this question, the answer might surprise you.
Why Eating Protein Before Bed Is A Good Idea
Eating protein before bed sounds like a crazy idea. But, when you look at the science, it makes a lot of sense. To prove this, you need to know a little bit about how protein works.
Protein is needed to support amino acids. These are responsible for repairing your muscles after a tough workout. As your muscles heal they become stronger. Studies have shown that consuming protein before bed might help you improve your recovery time. Repairing your muscles faster. Letting you spend more time in the gym.
Amino acids tend to be most active at night. Protein before bed can allow them to work more efficiently. Again, there is some evidence to back up this claim. Scientists set the same exercise routine for a group. Both groups consumed protein after their workout. But one group had casein protein before bed. Producing an increase in muscle size and larger muscle fibers, which the control group didn’t receive.
There is one caveat to keep in mind. It can be difficult to determine if these results were caused by consuming protein before bed. Or if it was just because the body was getting the right dose of protein and the time you eat it doesn’t matter. Either way, it wouldn’t hurt to consume some protein before bed.
We place a lot of focus on bodybuilders. But they aren’t the only ones who can benefit from eating protein before bed. Overweight people can reap the benefits. Eating casein protein can help raise their insulin levels the next morning. Obesity can often lead to diabetes, making it harder to regulate your insulin.
How Much Protein Should You Get?
You also need to know how much protein you need to be consuming. This will often depend on your body weight. Aim for around 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. However, bodybuilders might need a little more protein. To give them the tools needed to build their muscles.
Finding The Right Type Of Protein To Eat Before Bed
Just eating protein before bed isn’t enough. You need to consider the right type of protein you are eating. There are plenty of valuable sources of protein. Here are some of the options you can consider:
- Low-fat cottage cheese
- Peanut butter
- Greek yogurt, with berries added for extra flavor
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Legumes and peas
Remember, this is meant to be a pre-sleep snack. There’s no need to cook yourself a whole meal. For example, you only need a handful of nuts. A cup of low-fat cheese or yogurt is all you require.
Some people prefer to avoid doing any cooking before bed. The good news is that there is an alternative. You can use a protein shake or a protein bar. But choose carefully. They might not be as healthy as they appear. Some are high in artificial sweeteners. Which can increase their caloric intake, giving you more fat that you need to burn off in the gym.
It’s best to have some casein protein before bed, rather than whey. Casein takes longer to be digested. It can also help you boost your metabolism rate, allowing you to feel full while you sleep. Even better, it makes you feel full. Eliminating your desires for a midnight snack during your cutting cycle.
Supplements For Muscle Growth
If you want to supercharge your muscle growth, you might turn to steroids. These boost your testosterone levels. Creating the huge muscles that bodybuilders are famous for. But beneath the ripped body, there is a dark secret. These drugs can destroy your health and wreck your self-confidence. It’s not uncommon for men to develop man boobs. They might get acne or oily skin. Women can develop facial hair and a lower voice. Over the long term, there is a significant risk of major health problems. Most notably, liver failure.
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Other Nutrients To Look For
Protein is important. But it isn’t the only thing to look for when planning your meals. Let’s run through the other important nutrients to include:
- Amino acids. These are found in foods like eggs. This will help create Human Growth Hormone (HGH), helping you build muscle.
- This ingredient makes you feel sleepy. Making it easier to get a good night’s rest.
- These nutrients rid your body of free radicals. Improving your recovery.
Meal Ideas Before Going To Bed
Planning healthy meals before bed doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are some ideas that you can try:
- Combining one ounce of cottage cheese with an ounce of almonds. This is a nice easy meal to create. But it comes with plenty of healthy nutrients. In this case, you’ll be getting casein protein from the cottage cheese. Almonds will slow down your digestion rate. So, the casein will last you through the night.
- Mixing a tablespoon of Chia seeds into a cup of Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is packed with protein. On its own, it’s an exceptional choice. But when paired with Chia seeds, you’ll be upping the nutritional benefits. Chia seeds also contain some protein. But they have antioxidants and fiber.
- Pairing a scoop of Whey protein with two tablespoons of peanut butter. Whey protein is an essential part of your bodybuilding arsenal. Containing plenty of amino acids. Peanut butter adds even more protein. It also makes it a little tastier for a delicious pre-sleep snack. If you prefer, you can also use almond butter.
- Mixing nuts and seeds. If you want something easy, this is the perfect meal idea for you. All you need to do is mix a handful of nuts and seeds. It doesn’t matter what kind of nuts you use. But there are a few that will deliver additional benefits. For example, pumpkin nuts, walnuts, and cashews are all good options. They are high in nutrients like magnesium and potassium.
- Add some chicken breast to a salad. If you want a larger night-time snack, this might be the best option. Chicken breast is loaded with protein and valuable nutrients. Making it a cornerstone of any bodybuilder’s diet. Pairing it with salad does two things. First, the vegetables contain other important nutrients. More importantly, it helps slow the release of the protein in the chicken. So, the amino acids will be digested as you sleep. If you want, you can pair this with a butter dressing.
These are just some of the meal options you can explore to get some protein before bed. It all depends on the type of snack you want. If you love cooking, you might want to cook some eggs. Or you might want something simpler, taking a protein bar.
How Long Before Bed Should You Consume Protein?
Deciding what type of protein you want to take is only part of the equation. You also need to know how long before bed you should take it. Usually, 30 minutes will get the best results. Allowing your body some time to start processing the food before you go to sleep.
Should You Take Protein Before Or After A Workout?
Taking protein before bed is a good start. But to get the best effects, you’ll need to take it with your workout. There is a lot of debate and whether it’s best to take protein before or after you hit the gym. Some people claim it’s best to drink it before you start your workout. Giving you the energy you need to push yourself hard.
But it’s usually best to drink it after you finish your workout. In the gym, you’ve been stressing your muscles. Breaking them apart so they can grow back stronger. Protein will allow the amino acids to begin rebuilding your muscles. During this period, your body is primed to receive these nutrients. If you want, you can take a natural supplement from Crazy Mass before hitting the gym. These will give you the energy required to power through your workout.
It should be noted that you can consume a protein shake by itself. There’s no need to have it with food. Just remember to have some water after your workout. Topping up the supplies you lost through sweat.
Other Tips To Optimize Your Night-Time Routine
What you do in the gym is important. But it isn’t the only thing that determines how effectively you grow muscles. It’s worth checking that you are building an effective night-time routine. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind.
Prioritize Your Sleep
Many bodybuilders need to balance the gym and their jobs. Requiring them to get up earlier in the morning. Giving themselves time to have a workout. But this can mean that you aren’t getting the right amount of sleep. Most people need between seven to nine hours per night. Aim to wake up feeling refreshed each morning.
This isn’t just about improving your mental health. Sleep plays an important role in muscle growth. When you are sleeping, your body produces hormones. These help your muscles heal and recover. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you aren’t giving your body enough time to recover. Fewer healing hormones are being released. Even worse, you might be lowering the amount of testosterone that your body is producing. Limiting your ability to build muscle.
If you have trouble getting to sleep each night don’t worry. You aren’t alone. One in three adults don’t get enough sleep. Implementing some small changes can fix this problem. Here are some of the things you can try:
- Steer clear of phones before bed. Phones emit blue light. Replicating sunlight. Messing with your melatonin levels. This is the hormone that makes you feel sleepy. Not enough melatonin and you’ll struggle to drift off. Avoid screens an hour before bed.
- Try a soothing activity. Many people struggle to get to sleep due to the stress that they have built up during the day. Stress levels can be managed. Try a calming activity. Perhaps you want to meditate. Or you can read a novel. Listen to natural sounds.
- Consider getting a new mattress. Over time, your mattress will become less supportive. Leaving you with a sore back.
- Turn off the light. It’s best to fall asleep in a dark room. Too much light may trick your brain into thinking that it’s daytime. Slowing down your melatonin production.
If you want to take things to the next level, you can download a sleep-tracking app. This will record the amount and quality of the sleep that you are getting.
Avoid Caffeine Before Bed
Most of us love a cup of coffee during the day. Helping us feel refreshed and alert. But caffeine is a stimulant. Consume it before bed and it will keep you awake. It’s best to avoid having coffee six hours before you want to go to bed.
Avoid Carbs Before Bed
Protein before bed is a great idea. But carbs before bed aren’t. There are a few reasons for this. First, carbs might interfere with your sleep cycle. Making it harder to fall asleep. If you eat carbs, the excess energy will be stored as fat. Requiring you to work harder in the gym to burn it off.
What you do in the gym is important. But the food you eat, and when you eat it, has an equally important role to play. One of the easiest ways to supercharge your muscle gains is by taking some protein before bed.
Gary David is the founder and CEO of CrazyMass, one of the nation’s leading supplement companies. Before starting CrazyMass in 2006, Gary was a bodybuilder and personal trainer for several gyms throughout Northwest Michigan, helping clients meet their fitness goals. Gary happily worked in this profession for over 15 years. He saw that most weight gaining products to increase muscle were made with ingredients that were dangerous or of poor quality. He knew there was a safer and healthier way to do this, so he created a special blend of herbs, amino acids, and nutrients to help bodybuilders slim down and gain muscle.
Although Gary no longer participates in bodybuilding competitions, he continues to be involved in the community, helping others prep for shows and attending events where he can advertise CrazyMass products. When Gary isn’t working long hours, he likes to spend his time working out at the gym, boating on Lake Michigan, traveling the trails around Northern Michigan by four-wheeler, and spending time with his family. He also loves to take a yearly trip to Europe with his wife and children.