We are often told not to eat before going to bed as this will make us fat; however when you want to build muscle the game changes a bit. You want to be eating before bed especially if you have an ectomorph body type.
Why is it a good idea to eat before going to bed to build muscle?
Usually when you go to bed on an empty stomach your body will use up all the nutrients you ate, depleting your supplies for muscle growth. This is especially the case when you worked out in the day. Your muscle are hungry for protein and carbohydrates and without them muscle won’t grow.
For endomorph body types this is not such a big problem. Your metabolism is very slow and your body will likely not use everything you ate. Thus eating before bed can actually make your body store the food as fat. Now if you have an ectomorph body type your metabolism is very fast and you are typically always hungry. It is quite important for you to eat before bed to continue muscle building while you sleep.
What should I be eating before bed for maximum muscle gains?
Because we sleep for long hours you will need to supply your body with foods that last a long time, thus meaning foods that are broken down slowly. There are 4 factors that generally make food last longer.
Form of the foods:
Eating a big steak versus a whey protein shake is a typical example of a food shape. The protein shake is in a liquid form and will digest much faster than a chunky steak. Your body will need to work a lot harder and longer to completely break down the steak.
The more fat a food contains the longer it takes to break down because fat contains a hormone called cholecystokinin which slows down digestion.
The type of protein you eat is very important. Usually protein shakes contains whey protein which is absorbed very fast by your body. This won’t work as well for a bed time meal. What you need is casein protein. Casein protein is basically a slow digesting protein because it has a great amino acid profile and it actually forms a gel in the gut in order to release these amino acids steadily over time.
Casein protein is the predominant protein found in milk. About 80% of the proteins in cow’s milk are casein while 20% is whey protein.
Fibre can also contribute to slower digestion of a meal. However don’t eat fibre that is too heavy like bread. Eat fibre from fruits that is soluble.
What are examples of foods I can eat before bed?
As we have seen you should not eat something that is too heavy yet you should not eat something that is digested in an hour.
It would be best to create a mixture of foods to include a bit of protein, fats and fibre. Make use of milk for casein protein, you can even make use of powder casein. Get in fibre from raspberries, blue berries or even flax seed. You can eat yogurt for a milk and fat combination. A great source of high protein is fat free Greek yogurt because it contains a lot of protein because of all the milk needed to make it.