Bedtime Protein Max Muscle

Bedtime Protein To Maximize Muscle & Performance

Sleep is a unique opportunity for muscle recovery and growth. Muscles can only grow and repair themselves when the right building blocks—amino acids from protein—are available in the blood. But unlike blood glucose, the body does not store and release amino acids to maintain near-constant circulating levels.

That’s why consuming a threshold dose of 20 grams of protein at strategic time points throughout the day is necessary to stimulate protein synthesis and promote muscle recovery. But what about overnight when the body shifts into a catabolic state?

New research shows that consuming a higher 40-gram dose of protein right before bed will prevent muscle breakdown overnight and maximize results.

Eating Before Bed?

Eating before bed is often frowned upon based on the belief that digestion is disturbed during sleep. Other criticisms of bedtime snacks include the fear that eating before bed would encourage obesity, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, more recent research shows that there are no negative effects to a high-quality protein snack right before hitting the pillow.

Protein that is consumed right before bedtime is effectively digested and absorbed, increasing overnight protein synthesis rates. Eating before bed also doesn’t appear to reduce appetite at breakfast the following day or change resting energy expenditure. Further, protein intake reduces the insulin response to subsequent meals, pushing the body to use more fat—a phenomenon that is supported by the finding that a bedtime protein supplement increased fat burning the next day.

When applied over a prolonged period in conjunction with strength training, pre-sleep protein supplementation has a beneficial effect on the increase in muscle mass and strength. Nutritionists recommend consuming protein prior to sleep as an effective nutritional strategy to preserve muscle mass in the elderly, especially when combined with physical activity.

How The Body Builds Muscle

The body is constantly in a fluctuating state of muscle loss and gain. Scientists have identified several nutritional strategies to stimulate protein synthesis and keep the body in an anabolic state:

Consume a daily threshold dose of at least 1.2 g/kg of protein. Most people will benefit from a higher intake of 1.6 to 2 g/kg of protein a day.

Spread protein intake throughout the day, consuming a minimum of 20 grams of high-quality protein at least every 4 hours.

Consume 20 to 40 grams of protein during the immediate post-workout period.

This three-pronged approach maximizes protein synthesis during daylight hours. But during the 8 to 12 hours overnight from your last meal to breakfast muscle breakdown accelerates and catabolism accelerates.

Pre-Sleep Protein Augments Muscle & Strength

Eating a high-quality protein shake right before bed is the perfect solution. In one study that tested the effect of 40 grams of pre-sleep protein in athletes who strength trained in the evening, protein synthesis was 22 percent higher overnight compared to a placebo group.

A second study reveals the long-term benefits of combining a bedtime protein supplement with regular strength training. In this trial, young men were enrolled in a 12-week periodized strength training program in which they trained 3 times a week and consumed either a noncaloric placebo or a protein shake containing 27.5 g of protein and 15 g of carbohydrate prior to sleep. Total protein and calories were matched between groups with the placebo group averaging 103 grams of protein daily (17 percent of calories) and the protein group averaging 106 grams (17 percent of calories).

Results showed significantly greater increases in muscle size and strength in the protein supplemented group. The protein group had a 66 percent greater increase in muscle growth in the quadriceps after the exercise intervention. There was also a 16 percent greater increase in leg strength as measured by leg press and a greater increase in type 2 muscle fiber size in the protein group than the placebo group.

A third study of professional soccer players shows that pre-sleep protein accelerates muscle recovery. In this study, players consumed either 40 grams of protein or 40 grams of carbs 30 minutes prior to bed after a soccer match that occurred at 7 pm. Results showed that the protein group had better recovery as measured by countermovement jump performance at 12 and 36 hours post-match. Reactive strength and muscle soreness were also improved by bedtime protein consumption.

Take Aways

Consuming high-quality protein right before bed is an easy way to accelerate muscle recovery and stimulate muscle building all night long

A protein dose in the 40-gram range is recommended, which is larger than the 20-gram threshold recommended post-workout.

Combining strength training with targeted protein supplementation will maximize body composition benefits. By priming the muscle with resistance exercise and then consuming protein before bedtime, one study found a 76 percent greater incorporation of amino acids into muscle protein fibers compared with consuming protein in the absence of an exercise protocol.

Anyone can benefit from bedtime protein, but athletes who want to maximize muscle recovery and older adults battling muscle loss are prime candidates for this therapeutic approach.

When choosing a bedtime protein snack, opt for a high-quality protein source that is free from added carbs or sugar. Try our Whey Stronger or Primal Clear Pea Protein products.

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