A study from the Netherlands has shown that young men in resistance-type training who ate protein before going to sleep increased their muscle protein synthesis rates following exercise.

The findings were published in the June edition of The Journal of Nutrition.

Researchers assessed the impact of dietary protein supplements on muscle mass and strength that were taken before sleep. About 44 22-year-old men were randomly assigned to progressive 12-week resistance exercise training. One group consumed protein supplements with 27.5 grams of protein, 15 grams of carbohydrate and .1 gram of fat before bed.

The control group was given a placebo.

The results showed that muscle strength significantly increased after resistance training in the non-placebo group when compared to the control group.

Researchers have concluded that pre-sleep ingestion of protein supplements following resistance training is an effective dietary strategy to increase muscle mass and strength.


Dr. Richard Maurer, ND, author of The Blood Code, said “Does pounding protein at bedtime help build muscle? I want to emphasize a couple things that are well-understood long-before this study—body building is best accomplished when resistance is increased with tolerance. Many exercisers, myself included, are interested in maintenance of fitness and tend to keep the weight and resistance similar from workout to workout over years.

“This type of exercise does not send the message to make bigger muscles. Second, when using a strenuous workout to build muscle mass, body-builders know that higher protein intake works better than moderate to low protein intakes. Did the researchers simply show us that daily protein intake of 1.7 g/kg (119 g of protein for a 155-pound man) works better than 1.3 g/kg (91 g of protein for a 155-pound man) when engaging in a strenuous body building workout program—regardless of timing in the day?”

Maurer has his own methods, but says this study adds to his expertise.

“Years ago, I explained the importance of the 30-60 minute window post-workout for my athletic clients. In recent years, research has opened the “recovery window” wide—additional protein intake doesn’t need be within one hour of your workout, it can be any time later that day. The researchers in this study show me that even bedtime fits into the recovery window to help build strength and muscle mass with resistance training.”

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