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Build muscle while you sleep

A Man
(Image credit: Unknown)

The problem You’re working hard in the gym, getting enough rest and eating high-protein meals – but you’re not seeing the gains you want. Is it time to double your sessions and start eating nothing but raw venison?
The solution There’s a easier way. While you sleep, your body releases growth hormones and testosterone to rebuild tissue damaged during exercise, resulting in bigger muscles – but if you don’t fuel your body correctly, it won’t have the nutrients it needs. Consuming casein (a type of protein found in milk that’s released far more slowly into your bloodstream than other proteins such as whey) just before bed will drip-feed quality nutrients into your muscles through the night, allowing your body to rebuild your muscles, according to a new study.
The science In the study, subjects performed resistance training at 8pm and drank a post-workout shake containing 60g of carbs and 20g of protein. Then, immediately before sleep, half the group consumed 40g of casein, while the other half took a placebo. The results, published in the journal Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise, were that consuming casein resulted in a ‘rapid rise in circulating amino acid levels which were sustained throughout the remainder of the night […] stimulating muscle protein synthesis and improving whole-body protein balance during post-exercise, overnight recovery’. So if you’re struggling to build muscle, a late-night hit of casein could be the remedy.

Image used courtesy of Shutterstock (opens in new tab)

Joe Warner
Joe Warner

Joe Warner worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach, from 2008 to 2013, then returned as editor of Men’s Fitness UK from 2016 to 2019.