The process of building a great body is two-fold. First, you need to learn the fundamentals and apply them consistently. After that, you need to get a bit more structured with your approach and learn how to optimize your results.
Eating protein before bed falls in the second part of the process: optimizing results.
First and foremost, you need to get the fundamentals in place. The fundamentals are:
- Calculating and tracking calories and protein;
- Optimizing your training with compound lifts and progressive overload;
- Resting enough between workouts and getting your 8 hours of sleep;
If these fundamentals aren’t in place, just eating protein before bed won’t make much of a difference. BUT, if everything else is in check, learning how to optimize your results is the next step and this article is going to help you.
It was a common belief that you need to eat food every few hours to prevent muscle loss, speed up metabolism, etc.
Today, we know better and there’s much more research at our disposal.
Eating protein before bed isn’t necessary and you won’t shrivel down into nothing if you don’t consume that late-night cottage cheese bowl.
With that said, I do recommend eating some protein before bed, preferably a slow-digesting one such as:
- Cottage cheese
- Casein protein
- Greek yogurt
Say you eat your dinner around 7 PM and usually have the next meal (breakfast) around 7.30-8 AM. That is a good 12.5-13 hours of no new nutrients coming into the body.
Well, to build muscle you need to be in a positive nitrogen balance and provide your body with the needed training stimulus. Aside from lifting weights regularly, your body needs to build more protein than it breaks down.
First off, you need to take enough protein every day (around 1g of protein per pound of body weight). Secondly, making sure that you provide some amino acids for your body during the night could provide beneficial for muscle growth and muscle maintenance in the long run.
Amino acids are the raw materials that make up protein and that the body uses to build tissue, including muscle.
So, if no amino acids are available during the night (by eating some protein before bed), protein synthesis levels are lower.
Thus, eating some protein (30-40 grams) before bed gives your body amino acids to work with during the night and potentially help you build more muscle mass.
Instead of harming protein synthesis during the night, you keep the momentum going, keep growing and repairing muscle tissue.
As you can probably guess, most of us spend a good 3rd of our time asleep, which is why doing this “small” thing every night before bed adds up and creates a snowball effect.
This is especially important during fat loss periods when you’re in a caloric deficit and your body is struggling to maintain the muscle mass it has.
Although eating protein before bed won’t “boost your metabolism” or lead to better fat loss, it truly does offer other benefits and is a habit worth taking up.
But don’t forget to account for the extra food in your total calories for the day. After all, weight loss and weight gain come down to calories in versus calories out.
And if you’re interested in supplements that can help you along the way, we’ve got you covered. We recommend starting with the following muscle-building essentials:
If your interested in learning more about the how-to’s of building muscle, check out our free articles: