DURING THE NIGHT
MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT
One of the best ways to prevent your body from getting catabolic and tearing down muscle tissue is to provide it with protein during the night. You might not want to set your alarm to wake yourself up, though — the disruption of sleep is a tradeoff that might not be worth the advantage of an extra protein shake. However, if you tend to wake up in the middle of the night, pound down 20-40 g of casein protein. Consider making this shake in advance (perhaps at the same time as your bedtime drink), so you won't have to invest more time or energy in preparations.
By consuming a shake at the midpoint of the night, you effectively end the fasting phase that naturally occurs during sleep. Your body will have to go only four hours without food at any point around the clock. This is a huge advantage in helping prevent muscle breakdown.
AFTER YOU SLEEP
WHEN YOU WAKE UP
Right after getting out of bed, have 20-40g of whey protein mixed in water. Whey is one of the most quickly absorbed proteins. The faster you get it into your body, the sooner the amnios will be available to end the catabolic process of tearing down your muscle mass. You may also eat one or two pieces of fruit, such as bananas, cantaloupe or pears. This minimeal is a good choice for all — hardgainers, dieters, and those who tend to retain fat. At the beginning of the day, all bodybuilders need quickly absorbed aminos and the quick shot of energy that comes with fruit. You'll restock liver glycogen and convince your body to stop using amino acids as fuel and use more glucose.
Afterward, take a shower or do whatever you do to start the day, and then have breakfast.
This is one of the most important meals of the day, but if you've already eaten your wake-up meal, you've already addressed some of the most critical bodybuilding nutrition issues. At this point, eat a normal breakfast — four whole eggs, lean breakfast meat, another piece of fruit and a portion of oatmeal. A good-sized breakfast with protein and carbs will help fuel your day. Hardgainers should eat as much as they reasonably can. Dieters should go a little lighter on carbs, eating a smaller portion of oatmeal and one peice of fruit with their morning meals.
If you don't eat a wake-up meal, make some adjustments in your breakfast. Whole eggs contain protein and healthy fats, but the fats in the yolk slow down digestion of protein. If eggs are part of your first meal of the day, you'll be better served by eating egg whites to more quickly deliver amino acids to your bloodstream and end muscle breakdown.
You can improve your bodybuilding regimen greatly by making your nights less catabolic. Doing that, you'll be better able to retain the muscle tissue you've worked so hard to build. Implementing a solid nutrition program before, during, and after sleep can be one of the best ways to see dramatic improvements in your physique. Follow the nutrition plans on the following page to keep your body growing 24 hours a day.
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