“Don’t eat before going to bed. It will make you fat!”

I’m sure we’ve all heard this statement once or twice from less than credible sources, but this statement couldn’t be further from the truth. It completely ignores the principles of meal composition, meal timing, and daily caloric intake. In this article, we will discuss how pre-bedtime meals, specifically those high in protein, can aid in maximizing your progress in the gym.

 

Muscle Protein Synthesis and Protein Timing

Before diving into pre-bedtime nutrition, it is important to discuss muscle protein synthesis and protein timing. Studies indicate that 30-40 grams of high quality protein is sufficient to maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Muscle protein synthesis is the anabolic process by which our bodies use amino acids to make new proteins, allowing us to build bigger muscles.

Ideally, we want to have elevated levels of muscle protein synthesis for as long as possible throughout the day in order to remain in an anabolic state. Consuming more than the aforementioned amounts of protein in one sitting doesn’t necessarily mean more muscle protein synthesis. If you consume about 1g of protein per pound of body weight and you weigh 200lb, muscle protein synthesis will be elevated longer throughout the day if you consume 5-6 meals containing 30-40g of protein each rather than consuming two meals with 100g of protein each.

A study conducted by Areta et al. illustrated this exact point. This group of scientists wanted to analyze the levels of muscle protein synthesis throughout a 12-hour period following a bout of resistance exercise. Three groups were studied; bolus which consumed 2x40g of protein every six hours, intermediate which consumed 4x20g of protein every three hours, and pulse which consumed 8x10g of protein every hour. The results showed that the intermediate group had significantly higher muscle protein synthesis throughout the 12 hours when compared to the other two groups. [2] These results reinforce that protein timing and distribution is crucial.

A question that may arise is that if more frequent protein intake is superior, then why did the intermediate group have elevated protein synthesis when compared to the pulse group who consumed 10g protein hourly? Research is indicating that there may be a minimum threshold needed to stimulate adequate muscle protein synthesis. Thus, the 10g consumed hourly by the pulse group may not be sufficient protein to optimally stimulate muscle protein synthesis.

JOIN NOW to continue reading...
All the science, none of the B.S. Sign up today. Monthly plans starting at $5.99
Exclusive Articles

Discover a plethora exclusive articles and videos on nutrition and training from some of the top experts in the world.

Instructional Videos

Layne and his trusted peers will teach you how to perform the lifts more safely and efficiently.

BioLayne: The Rebuild

A video series documenting Layne's journey back to the professional powerlifting stage.

Monthly Webinars

This is your chance to learn from some of the top experts in the world in a classroom setting from the comfort of your own home.
**Gold (or higher) membership required

Video Q&A

Get YOUR questions answered every week by Layne himself.
**Gold (or higher) membership required

Workout Builder

Create your own customized program based on specifications developed by Layne.
**Gold (or higher) membership required

Amanda Bucci

"Not only does Layne talk the talk, he's walked the walk. I recommend listening to and reading his resources to any of my friends looking for science-backed fitness information to guide them on their path of knowledge expansion within the realm of fitness. He's one of the few people i've found to be a reliable, educational, no b.s. resource."

- Amanda Bucci (Bodybuilding.com Athlete)
Sign Up Now Members Login
Facebook Twitter Google+ Reddit Tumblr Email Back To Top