When you think of eating protein to enhance muscle size, you typically think that this period is confined to post training only.
However, research strongly suggests that you should evenly distribute your protein meals throughout the day to stimulate 24 hour muscle protein synthesis (MPS) more effectively.
*MPS being the trigger for muscle growth*
If you think of a typical westernised diet, you would have hardly any protein for breakfast (cereal) and lunch (sandwich) with the bulk of protein coming from your evening meal (chicken dinner). Now, if the goal is to truly maximize growth, then this would be inferior to having ample amount of protein with each meal.
That being said, athletes who adopt this approach still forget about the pre bed protein meal…therefore limiting their potential gains due to the fall of MPS whilst sleeping.
A really interesting study by Trommelen et al (2016) aimed to see if you can rescue the decrease in overnight MPS by having protein pre-sleep. In short, they had a group of ‘gainers’ train in the evening where they were given a drink immediately after containing 20g of protein and 45g of carbohydrates
They then went on to see whether consuming an additional 30g of protein at 11.45pm (pre sleep) would further enhanced gains…Long story short, It did.
Even when the recommended 20g of protein is consumed post training, rates of MPS during sleep were still low. So, this highlights the need to add another high protein meal/snack pre bed even when eating protein post training later in the day.
To counteract this and keep MPS rates high during sleep, consuming 30-40g of high quality protein before falling asleep will elevate MPS throughout the night and most likely lead to greater gains.
To conclude, eat some protein before bed for overnight gains.
p.s. this study used whey protein…other sources of protein would still work.
p.p.s…don’t wake up at 3am to neck a shake. Just no.
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