T Nation

Protein & Recovery Time


#1

Guys, would it make sense to take a big dose of protein before you go to bed? Just by logic I am making assumptions. When a scab on your knuckle heals it will heal faster if you do not move it because the scabbing needs to span the gap and it gets ripped if moved. Wouldn't the same thing happen with your muscles during the day? So I am assuming that protein would best be consumed around of the end of the day when you are winding down and getting ready for 8 hrs of sleep (Little Movement) as apposed to equal doses throughout the day... Can you guys shed some light on my thoughts weather they are right or wrong? Thanks!


#2

Your body can only handle a certain amount at a time. Studies and experience have shown that a protein-rich meal every 2-3 hours is the best way to go. At night, you want a slow digesting protein like casein found in cottage cheese, Metabolic Drive, etc...

Sleep is darn important in recovery, and throwing a big load of protein at your body just before hitting the sack will affect the quality of your sleep. Not something I'll advise.


#3

to maximize recovery, a fast digesting protein should be consumed as soon as possible after a workout along with something to replenish glycogen - surge is what you want here unless you go the whey/glycine/glutamine route. this will minimize any further breakdown and put muscles into a positive protein balance within an hour. protein breakdown and synthesis is an ongoing thing. higher protein intake will lead to higher protein turnover as rates of both increase meaning you get 'new' muscles more often and repond to training faster.

see Cy Willson's article that deals with all things protein, references included:

http://www.T-Nation.com/readArticle.do?id=461429&cr=

the recovery during sleep is due to the hormonal milieu and the lower energy use by resting systems - though if you are recovering, your body will be doing a good part of this during sleep and metabolism will be higher, but the most important part has been taken care of in the postworkout shake.

eating often with protein, carbs and fat of similar amounts is the best way to go, except for taking half your protein in one big meal and spreading the rest out is actually better (see the Cy Willson article link i posted). As for sleep quality, most people i know do fine with large meals before bed because they have gotten used to it. trying it a few times when you have never done so and not sleeping well is expected as you haven't gotten used to it. the first time i took fish oil before bed i couldn't sleep for 6 hours, now i can take 10 and be asleep in 15 minutes.

the little movement during sleep means nothing. recovery is often faster when lighter 'flush' workouts are done the next day as much higher blood flow to the muscles is experienced. taking in 40-60g of something like Metabolic Drive protein before bed for the average male is the most bang for your buck, with the higher intake for training days. if you did an insane workout (elite level workload), by all means take up to 80g. your post workout meals should also scale in protein based on total workload.

the final time you may want to eat more protein than the average meal is breakfast. at this time whey is usually the best as long as it is followed by an animal protein source within 2 hours or so.

having a couple of larger protein meals creates an important spike in synthesis, while the moderate meals will keep synthesis going and prevent breakdown. Berardi has written about this too, way back. check out Cy's article it will answer most if not all your questions.