Protein shake nightcap gives strength athletes more muscle



From Ergo Log

If you’ve just started resistance training and want to see results fast, then a discovery made by nutritionists at the University of Maastricht may be just what you’re looking for. The Dutch researchers discovered that beginners at strength training can almost double the amount of muscle mass they build up by drinking an extra protein shake just before going to bed.


In their article, which has been published in the Journal of Nutrition, the researchers describe how they got 44 male students to do weight training for 12 weeks. The students were healthy and active, but had not pushed iron in the previous two years at least.


Just before going to bed, half of the subjects drank a placebo drink. The other half drank a shake containing 13.75 g Peptopro, a casein hydrolysate, 13.75 g casein and 15 g carbohydrates.


At the end of the 12 weeks the students in both groups had gained strength. But the increase in muscle strength was significantly bigger in the group that had drunk a protein shake before going to sleep.


The same is true for muscle mass, as the figure above shows. The students that drank a protein shake before going to sleep built up almost twice as much muscle mass in their legs than the students in the placebo group. The increase was above all in the fast type-2 muscle fibres.


“We conclude that protein ingestion before sleep represents an effective dietary strategy to augment skeletal muscle mass and strength gains during prolonged resistance-type exercise training in healthy, young men”, the researchers wrote.


Always something to moan about
The subjects in both groups consumed 1.3 g protein per kg bodyweight, not counting the shake. That’s not a huge amount. Adding the shake brought the protein consumption up to 1.9 g protein per kg bodyweight per day.

We, the ignorant compilers of this webzine, can’t help posing the one obvious question: did the students really build up all that extra muscle mass because they drank a protein shake just before going to sleep? Or was it just because they upped their protein intake?


Wouldn’t the students have built up just as much extra muscle mass if they had – say – drunk the protein shake in the morning?


J Nutr. 2015 Jun;145(6):1178-84.





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