Mistakes in evening meals will limit your fitness progress. Let’s talk about the top 4 nutritional problems before bed and look for solutions.
Bedtime nutrition issues have baffled many fitness enthusiasts. Once the dominant hypothesis was that dinner after six is laid on your stomach, especially if you are heavy on carbohydrates. Although science has long ago shattered these theories to smithereens, the confusion over evening meals remains today.
In some cases, eating before bedtime is not harmful, but very useful. For example, snacking closer to midnight will fuel anabolic powerhouses, especially if you eat the right goodies.
If you want to realize 100% of your fitness potential, there should not be a hint of the following evening meal mistakes in your life!
Mistake 1. Forgetting protein before bed
Problem. For protein to be of real benefit, it needs to be in 25-30 grams every 2-4 hours. If you dined around six and didn’t go to bed until ten, throw some protein wood in the oven, otherwise you will be at the mercy of catabolism (muscle breakdown).
Catabolism interferes with maintaining muscle mass during the weight loss and drying phase, and during muscle gain, it also puts a spoke in the wheels.
Solution. Be sure to include plenty of protein in the last meal, which we just found out could be an extra “snack” before bed.
Experimental results published in the Journal of Nutrition have shown that protein-rich foods boost muscle growth, even if you fall asleep right after a meal!
To make the most of this snack, combine fast and slow proteins.
Dairy is a great source of casein and tastes great, especially when mixed with whey protein, but casein powder would be nice to add to a shake.
This fusion will quickly switch the switches to anabolism, and then ensure the continuity of protein funding for the muscles throughout the night.
Mistake 2. Afraid of evening carbs
Problem. Many people think that carbohydrates should not be eaten in the evenings because it will all end in weight gain.
Nothing of the sort – only the total daily calorie and carbohydrate balance matters, which should be consistent with your goals.
Changes in body weight depend on the ratio of calorie intake / expenditure over a 24-hour period, not on evening snacks.
If most of the calories – in our case, carbohydrates – you get in the evening, so be it, all the same, only their deficit or surplus matters.
And yes, good luck to those who work out in the evenings and expect a full recovery without a portion of carbohydrates before bed!
Solution. Don’t be afraid to eat carbs before bed. There are tons of studies showing that people successfully lose weight, even if they eat the lion’s share of their due carbs for dinner.
Moreover, such a diet improves indicators associated with obesity, and during the day the feeling of fullness and satisfaction does not go away.
Is it worth giving up carbohydrates during the day for this? No. But experiments prove that calorie surplus or deficit is more important than timing of carbohydrate intake for weight control.
The daily routine often dictates how many carbs to eat at night looking. If you go to the gym in the evenings, or love carbohydrate foods for dinner, go ahead. As long as the total carbohydrate intake over a 24-hour period meets your fitness goals, there is nothing to worry about.
Mistake 3. Drink stimulants in the evening
Problem. Taking stimulants shortly before bed tends to make it difficult to fall asleep and certainly impairs sleep quality.
Even if you literally pass out after a cup of coffee, caffeine will still affect your sleep – especially in the deep REM phase.
Sleep is the perfect time to rest and recover from exhausting workouts, as most of the anabolic hormones are secreted during sleep.
Taking stimulants before going to bed not only loses sleep quality, but also makes it harder to gain muscle mass.
Solution. Stop drinking stimulants (caffeine, high caffeine tea, energy drinks, pre-workout supplements) 6 hours or less before bed. The body has enough time to destroy all caffeine before you go to the kingdom of Morpheus.
Do you work out in the evenings? Try supplements with theacrine, a caffeine derivative that has its benefits without overstimulating the nervous system. Tandem with low doses of caffeine (50-100 mg), theacrine stimulates cognitive function in the same way as caffeine.
The difference is that the effect lasts up to six hours, not 1-2 hours, as after caffeine alone, and there is no inherent overexcitation of caffeine. Drink less coffee and sleep better at night.
Mistake 4. Using alcohol as a sleeping pill
Problem. Alcohol impairs the quality of sleep: it increases the duration of the first stage and shortens the REM phase. Of the four stages of slow wave sleep, the first is the most “superficial” and most vulnerable to various sleep disorders.
REM, or REM (rapid eye movement phase), is characterized by maximum depth. It is in this phase that the body rests and recovers best.
Second. Alcohol suppresses the secretion of growth hormone (GH). Growth hormone is a key player on the anabolic team. Its secretion peaks in the first 90 minutes of sleep, and then the level remains elevated for about 3.5 hours.
Alcohol decreases GH secretion, and the effect is dose dependent: the more you drink, the less growth hormone you get.
Solution. Alcohol is a poor solution to sleep problems and a poor travel companion if you want to lose weight. Developing an evening ritual in combination with a balanced diet and regular exercise at the gym will help you sleep better.
If that’s not enough, supplementation such as magnesium and melatonin can help improve sleep quality and sleep.
Relying on alcohol will only exacerbate the problem, not to mention the negative effects of alcohol on your figure, health and muscle growth.