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PWO Meal or Sleep?

I’m trying to figure out what’s more important between the 2 for my goals. I’ve discussed in an old thread that midnight workouts after work is the ONLY time I can lift. In bed by 2am, then up by 8am with the kids until I leave for work at 2pm. Since October, (HST program) I’ve been eating a reasonable post workout (2 eggs on a single slice of whole grain toast) with my supps of creatine, leucine, and amino blend, and now have noticed the belly fat steadily returning after spending the previous 5 months of circuit training to get rid of. My question is should I skip the post meal and just down a protein shake with the supps, or skip any kind of calories being it is right before bedtime? Thanks for any input you can put out there.

You can eat all you want in the other hours of the day away from your workout (might not be optimal but won’t take away much) but losing out on sleep or sleep quality from having a belly full of food will take away from any goals.


I think the question is more around can he reduce those calories to mitigate fat gain even though it’s in the post-workout period.

I say yes, especially since you’re eating all day before your workout. If you start getting incredibly sore, add a little something back in.

I don’t think post-workout is especially magical if your whole day is right. To be fair, I don’t think right before bed is, either; but if those calories aren’t benefiting, go ahead and knock them out.

In the long run, though, that looks like ~250-300 calories right after a workout; it may not be the whole story of the fat gain - you might have to evaluate your day.

Thanks! I’ll try eating a slightly heavier snack at my 9pm break and then skip the PWO meal for a month and see what happens. I’m pretty much screwed with my options as far as sleep. It’s either focus on 100% proper nutrition with no workout getting 8 hours of crib time, or proper nutrition with a workout while only getting 6 hours max of sleep.

Do you have a home gym? Does your training have to be with weights or would calisthenics be an option? Your post-workout involves wheat, so insulin would be elevated for quite some time especially if it’s straight to bed thereafter as digestion slows down. Immediately after a workout it isn’t necessary to refill muscle glycogen (especially if you have carbs intra-workout). Try just having a proteinshake post-workout. Whey or casein, whatever.

I do have a home gym. Full rack and a Bowflex X SE 2 converted to pull free weights. I do no cardio. My normal workday requires me to be constantly moving, climbing, lifting. I’ve tried the no post meal in early January for about a week, but I couldn’t fall asleep easily due to my stomach growling at me like it was telling me it needed fed. Being I only get about 6 hours sleep on workout nights, I quickly gave that up and put the meal back in place.

I’m old school when it comes to stuff like this. I wouldn’t want to miss out on a post workout meal OR a pre bed meal, so the idea of skipping both is no bueno as far as I’m concerned.

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Speaking of old school, what about cottage cheese and some pie filling post workout/pre- bed?


Since no one asked this I’ll do it myself…

How does the fact that the calories you eat post workout are right before bed have anything to do with gaining more fat?


Two more thoughts. First of all, I believe this depends on your goal. Unless you’re happy with your muscle mass and trying to stay lean, the little fat you’re gaining probably shouldn’t be your first concern.

Secondly, if you’re gaining fat and don’t want to keep doing, you should probably look to lower your calories taking away from another meal. Your post workout meal is arguably the most important single meal in a day, so why not lower your calories at lunch (or whatever)?

To reiterate the first part of my post, you don’t get fatter just because you eat before bed. If you’re getting fat, it’s because you’re eating too much overall. So if you don’t want to gain any more fat or lose some, IMO take away from a less critical meal and keep your pwo meal.


I personally like both. I scarf down some pasta and then take a nap if I have time.

But if you only have time for one, I’d do a pre workout meal.