All of us already know that you don’t actually build muscles while you’re exercising but while you’re resting. So how come that only a few of us seem to realize that by making maximum use of sleep you can grow more muscle?
People tend to take sleeping for granted – we go to bed only when we are absolutely drained and wake up in the morning without paying any attention to what goes on in between.
However this approach to rest and sleeping is unforgivable when it comes to bodybuilders, powerlifters and anyone who’s serious about being fit. If you eat clean and in the right amounts, train as hard and often as you can, and take the basic supplements but your progress is still weak, there is a fair chance that you’re missing out on the anabolic potential of nighttime nutrition and good quality sleep.
During sleep the body is in a fasting mode and since it can’t get the nutrients it needs from food, it begins breaking down muscle tissue to produce the energy required to power its functions. The body needs a constant supply of energy and nutrients, and when there’s no longer any food in the GI tract, it will start sacrificing your hard-earned muscle mass. If you want to prevent muscle loss, you need to give your body the materials to do its job properly and enable muscle growth.
Simply put, if you want to maximize the effects of your training, you have to start caring about what goes on while you sleep and finding ways to prime your body for growth. Instead of letting your body starve throughout the night, or emptying a bag of cookies before going to bed, you can choose to feed your body in such a way that will satisfy its energy needs and allow you to grow like a beast.
Eat these 3 healthy late night snacks to grow some muscle:
#1. Cottage Cheese
An adequate protein consumption is at the heart of bulking, but achieving it is not as easy as it sounds. To reach your goals faster, you need the help of both whole foods and supplements. But if you rely solely on fast-digesting protein shakes to meet your protein intake requirements, you’ll miss out on the benefits of other great protein sources that can help you keep your body fed throughout the entire night.
Cottage cheese is a great option for a late night snack as it is a form of casein protein that digests slowly and thereby can provide your body with a steady release of energy for a longer period of time.
#2. Casein Protein Powder
If you’re not a big fan of cottage cheese or simply don’t feel like eating real food before going to bed, you can simply drink a casein shake. It won’t be the tastiest of meals, but it’ll be a great investment in your potential for overnight growth.
Unlike whey protein, casein is a slow-digesting protein which slows down the rate of the gastric emptying and allows for a slow and sustained release of amino acids into the bloodstream. This will help you keep adequately fed over the course of the night and prevent the loss of precious muscle. Or, if you’ve had more than enough shakes during the day, use casein protein powder to make healthy before-bed snacks such as protein pudding, cookies or muffins.
#3. Nuts and nut butters
Since fats play a crucial role in the production of hormones, besides adequate amounts of protein, your body needs a proper dose of healthy fats in order to stimulate hormonal responses that will keep you in an anabolic state all through the night. In addition, fats slow down protein absorption and can accentuate the anabolic benefits of a late night meal consisting of slow-releasing protein even further. The easiest way to get this benefits is by choosing to snack on a portion of mixed nuts or add some of your favorite nut butter to your casein protein shake.
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With the help of the right foods, bulking can be a lot easier than you think. But no matter how hard you try to grow during the day, neglecting your body’s nutritional needs during the night can severely limit your mass gaining potential. To prevent this, make sure to consume a balanced combination of slow-digesting protein and healthy fats before going to bed every night. The results will follow sooner than you think!