If you’re one of the many who count regular exercise as part of their routine you’ll probably know a thing or two about how to balance that physical exertion with the right nutrition. Exercise, especially strength training and weightlifting in particular, is tied to protein intake. But have you ever heard someone to claim to be able to build muscle and strength overnight? Well, the idea might sound like something out of science fiction but it’s actually not an unrealistic concept. Well, kind of. Being able to get big and strong in your sleep might once have sounded like a rather unrealistic boast, but it seems to be slightly more achievable than first thought. So, can you build muscle by getting a nightly pre-bed fix of protein? Read on to find out.
A strong start
Firstly, we should point out that you can’t build muscle and strength simply by eating protein. Unfortunately, no one will reach their goals with just good intentions – we need to take action and regularly dedicate time to working out, whether that’s at the local park or in your nearest gym. The protein part comes after you’ve put in the hard work. However, there may well be a shortcut to be found in taking a dose of protein right before you go to bed.
In a recent study, two groups of volunteers were put to the test in a double blinded, 12-week training study. The study consisted of each participant lifting weights on a consistent resistance training regime three times a week with either a placebo or protein drink before bed. The results were very interesting indeed with those getting their good-night protein reporting significant improvements in three key areas; general strength, muscle size and muscle fibre size.
Why before bed?
It’s a common belief that because our sleep lasts for a relatively long time (in terms of daytime nutrition) that our body starts to ‘feed’ on our muscles and begins breaking them down. Bad news right? Well, not really. It’s thought that what’s actually happening is that your body’s rate of protein synthesis at night is just very low rather than counteractive to muscle growth. So your body isn’t cannibalising itself after all. Most of us are used to finishing our dinner in the early evening at around 6 or 7pm. So if your body has processed that meal by around midnight, chances are it still has a fair few hours to go before breakfast. By getting a decent dose of protein just before you go to sleep it means that your body becomes conditioned to receive it at that specific time of day. Over time (and with regular exercise) it gets better at breaking down and using that protein while you’re getting some shut-eye. Talk about a life-hack!
Gains from Graham’s
Of course, it’s well documented that dairy is a fantastic source of protein. We’ve blogged about it here before – it’s one of the many things we love about our produce. If you’re looking to make some serious gains in the gym, we’ve most definitely got the goods. Our Protein 22 comes in a variety of tasty flavours (goodbye synthetic protein shake taste) and contains 22 grams of protein per pot. They’re handy for throwing in your gym bag for after your workout but are manageable for eating as a late evening snack too. There’s also our new Protein 40 milk – it’s fantastically versatile as it can be used to make things like porridge, in a smoothie, poured over your cereal of choice or just enjoyed the ‘old fashioned way’… in a glass, on its own. Oh, and not to forget our Quark and new range of Skyr yoghurts! High in protein, low in fat and sugar… there’s plenty to choose from if you’re looking to get that healthy balance back into your life!