Study: Can Drinking a Protein Shake Before Bed Aid In Muscle Growth?

There is no shortage of modern-day snake oil salesmen out there in the fitness community today looking to push and peddle less than ethical “solutions” promising to help men and women build tight, lean, muscular bodies if they’ll just try this “next big thing”.

The fitness industry has always been a breeding ground for hucksters and conmen, people looking to trick those desperate for an edge into trying something that’s filled with pseudoscience – something with all kinds of promises – while really only being interested in separating folks from their hard earned money along the way.

But every now and again you come across a new fitness breakthrough that radically changes the way we look at how we build our bodies, how we heal, how we recover, and how we develop the kind of physique we’ve always dreamed of.

Recent research out of the Netherlands suggests another big breakthrough is just over the horizon – and it’s a breakthrough that borrows a lot of the big promises huckster fitness supplement companies have been making for quite a while.

Scientists and researchers operating out of the Maastricht University in the Netherlands conducted a recent study, tracking the progress of 44 men over a 12 week block of time to see what kind of impact a single nightly protein shake could have on their ability to build and grow muscle.

These “test shakes” included 30 g of casein protein and 15 g of carbohydrates and were given to the test individuals just before they went to bed for the night. No extra exercise was prescribed but somehow these test members were able to pack on quite a bit of extra lean muscle mass over this 12 week stretch of time all the same.

Researchers were originally convinced that this decision – “fuelling the body” before you go to bed with proteins and carbs – was actually going to make these otherwise fit individuals gain fat. They believed that because the body wasn’t in motion, wasn’t burning off the excess calories, and didn’t have an elevated metabolism already the fuel was simply going to be converted into fat for energy storage later.

The clinical research project showed that the body actually elevates nighttime metabolic activity when it is flooded with a new source of protein, but not just that it also works to actively target fat in the human body and melt it away for energy while you sleep.

Interestingly enough, compared to a control group that wasn’t given anything and another group that was given an energy drink, the protein shake group woke up feeling the most rested, the most energetic, and the happiest throughout these trials as well.

Another interesting side effect of this nighttime protein shake was that the old myth of people eating before bed not being able to slip off to sleep was dispelled as well. Researchers found those that had consumed a protein shake 30 minutes before they laid down to go to sleep fell asleep faster and woke up feeling more rested.

At the end of the day, the research shows just how much rest and recovery plays a role in protein synthesis and the rebuilding of muscle. Because the individuals in this test flooded their bodies with protein while they slept their body had more stores of protein to pull from, using these building blocks and amino acids to regenerate new lean muscle mass tissue at a faster pace than the body would have done before.