by Will Grumke February 23, 2021 5 min read
Ever wonder what you should be eating before bed?
Or if you should be eating at all before bed?!
We hear, see, and read all sorts of conflicting information that can leave you a little puzzled and make it difficult to answer some questions like:
… just to name a few.
I am not going to try to answer every single question here today.
In this blog, we will talk about what to eat before bed…
I know I know ... you've most likely heard that if you're trying to lose weight, don’t eat 4 hours before going to sleep ... but the truth is that eating before bed is not bad.
Eating the wrong things before bed … things that put you over your calories/macros for the day … is what can lead to unfavorable results like unwanted weight gain.
I think one of the places that myth, of not eating before bed, comes from ... is what people typically eat before bed. I know for me, it used to be ice cream, cookies & milk, and high calorie foods.
So, obviously ... cutting these out would decrease my calorie intake and could help with fat loss.
And it's important to note that while your body is in bed and sleeping … it's going through a ton of processes to help you recover and prepare for the next day.
Eating before bed, and eating protein specifically before bed, can help with these processes, and ultimately … help with your results!
Simply put, protein.
Now, depending on what macros you have left for the day, you might be able to have other foods with it.
But a good habit to get into is having at least a protein source before bed.
Ingesting protein before bed is a great idea, no matter if your goal is to lose weight, burn fat, or build muscle.
This is because while you sleep, your body is in the repair and recovery process. It is working hard and burning calories to repair itself before the next day.
By having a high-quality protein source before bed, you can help give your body nutrients it needs to set yourself up for better results.
While that is not a complete list of benefits ... I think it's easy to see, even with just those 4, why it doesn't matter if your goal is to burn fat or gain muscle ... it can be beneficial to have protein before you go to bed either way.
The amount of protein will change based on your goals, but muscle is the most metabolic tissue in the body, and protein feeds the muscle.
Meaning that when you consume a serving of protein, roughly 20-25 grams of protein or more in a single sitting, you supply your body with amino acids to help preserve lean muscle tissue.
It does this by switching the body into an anabolic state, where it is primarily burning carbs and fats for fuel.
Since your body is not burning very many amino acids for fuel, and you gave it amino acids through eating protein-rich foods, it does not need to break down your muscle tissue to find the amino acids it needs to carry out normal operating functions.
This is true even while you sleep. So, by giving your body protein before bed, you are keeping your body in the anabolic state a few hours into the night.
Whether you add a low calorie, high protein snack before bed, or even if you have to restructure your nutrition plan, the benefits of having 20 to 40 grams of protein before bed can be well worth it!
Now, I understand that having chicken, spending the time to cook eggs, or eating another protein source before bed may not sound very appetizing. That’s ok, it didn't for me either.
It's why most people rely on a protein shake before bed. Supplementing with protein powder before bed is quick, easy, and can satisfy your sweet tooth cravings!
But, you might be wondering …
That is a great question!
Before bed, it's very beneficial to your results to use a high-quality whey protein.
More specifically, a sustained assimilating protein shake... meaning that it is typically a blend of proteins, primarily whey, to break down and supply your body with amino acids over the course of a few hours.
You might be wondering, “Aren’t you supposed to use a casein protein powder before bed?”
You can, but the benefits of Casein Protein are not nearly as strong as the benefits of Whey Protein. If you heard about Casein being a “8-hour digesting protein” and staying anabolic all night from one casein protein shake before bed ... that is simply not the case.
You want to use whey protein because of the high essential amino acid content contained within the protein.
This is important because your body can not make the essential amino acids you need, so you have to get them through food, or supplementation.
Therefore, since whey has a higher amount of Essential Amino Acids (EAAs) … it is a superior protein source compared to casein protein.
By using a higher quality protein source that gives your body more of the essential amino acids it needs, you are setting yourself up for better recovery, promoting lean muscle growth, and helping you increase your fat loss efforts!
And if you don't want to just drink a shake, you can even take your Protein Powder and make it into delicious Protein Cookies or Protein Pancakes with just a few simple ingredients! If you want more ideas, you can reach out to our Customer Service Team and we can send you recipes!
So in closing, if you want to recover better…
If you want to build more muscle…
If you want to burn more fat…
If you want better results … adjusting your calories and macros for the day to allow you to have protein before bed is a great idea!
Because once again, it’s not that eating after dinner is bad, it’s overeating in calories and eating the wrong macronutrients before bed that you should be concerned about.
If you’re already eating or drinking protein before bed, you can improve your results by improving the quality of your protein source or protein powder.
Similar to when you improve the qualities of the foods you eat, you can set yourself up for better results.
If you're looking for help with your nutrition plan or tracking your food, you can download the 1st Phorm App or reach out for help!... or both!
Here at 1st Phorm we have a whole team of NASM Certified Personal Trainers and NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist who will help you for FREE!
Just give us a call from 6 am to 10 pm, Monday thru Friday, at 1-800-409-9732, or shoot us an email at CustomerService@1stPhorm.com at any time.
We will get back to you right away and make sure you are set up for success!
Will Grumke is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Nutrition Coach, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, NASM Certified Behavioral Change Specialist, and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer.