It stands to reason that if you want to build muscle, it’s not enough to train heavily.
You also need to take care of what you eat.
And a big part of your diet, whether or not you want to build up that muscle, is or at least should be protein.
Research suggests that consuming a protein-rich meal before you go to bed can actually maximize the results of your training and help build muscle more easily.
So, here is exactly what to eat before bed to build muscle.
10 Muscle Building Foods To Eat Before You Go To Sleep
If you’re trying to gain mass, eat one or more of these muscle building foods before bed.
Each has protein and healthy fats to fuel muscle growth while you sleep.
One of the many reasons you want to add eggs to your before-bed routine is that they’re such a versatile food.
From scrambled to boiled, there are so many ways in which you can cook an egg and they’re all relatively low in calories, so you don’t run the risk of eating a heavy meal.
Not to mention that egg yolks provide essential nutrients and fatty acids that support your body’s correct functioning and may even regulate hormone levels.
On average, one medium-sized egg contains about 6 grams of protein.
Flax seed (or Flax seed Oil)
The next thing on what to eat before bed to build muscle is flax seed.
Often recommended by professionals to regulate hormones and aid digestion, flax seed is an excellent addition to your diet.
It is believed that flax seed and flax seed oil can also help lower cholesterol, and thus diminish the risk of heart disease.
If consuming flax seeds, make sure you ground them first, because flax seeds in their entirety are not digestible and will go straight through you.
As for flax seed oil, you can mix it in food (maybe an omelet!) to make the taste more palatable.
One tablespoon of ground flax seeds contains 1.3 protein grams.
100 grams of flax seed oil only score 0.1 protein grams, but flax seed oil can help protein absorption!
Another really versatile food, avocado can be mixed with eggs, flax, eaten as guacamole either raw or on toast.
And, that’s just a few ways to consume it!
One regular-sized avocado contains roughly 4 grams of protein, which is nothing to sneeze at.
Along with protein content, almonds also offer large amounts of vitamin E, magnesium, and phosphorus.
As with any other nuts, almonds should be consumed in moderation due to their high-calorie content.
Greek Yogurt is great for a wide variety of reasons, and you must’ve heard at least some of them by now.
It’s a powerful source of probiotics (which help replenish and nurture the flora of your digestive system), vitamin B12, calcium, and potassium.
But perhaps its greatest achievement is being so rich in protein.
100 grams of Greek Yogurt contains around 10 grams of protein without anything added.
So, imagine how great and easy it’s to mix in some ground flax, chia seeds or fruits!
Speaking of which, 1 ounce of chia seeds contains roughly 5 grams of protein.
Once again, Greek Yogurt has the benefit of being light and easily digestible meal before bed.
Speaking of dairy that’s easy to eat before bed, we have to at least mention cottage cheese.
Another versatile option in which you can mix all sorts of other protein-rich seeds and ingredients.
100 grams of cottage cheese provides a whopping 11 grams of protein.
You’ve probably heard about this wonderfully potent little ingredient.
Whey protein is a high-quality complete protein that doubles as a rich source of essential amino acids, which support protein production within your own body.
Another excellent benefit of whey protein is that it prevents fat gain as you age and promotes muscle growth, which is great news for us!
1 cup of whey protein averages around 2 grams of protein.
Peanut butter is not only delicious, but also versatile, and extremely protein-rich.
2 tablespoons of PB (which is, on average, how much you need to cover a slice of bread) rock an impressive 8 grams of protein.
Of course, if you want to skip the bread, PB is great on crackers, saltines, or even by itself.
You can also incorporate other nuts in your before-bed diet to maximize your protein intake.
Tuna And Other Fish
It might sound a little weird to chomp down on fish before bed, but this is actually some of the best protein you’ll get.
And besides, there are so many great ways to cook and consume it.
Three ounces of tuna contains about 25 grams of protein, whereas an average (drained) can give you about 40 grams!
Yellowtail fish (34 protein grams/4 ounce serving), anchovy (58 protein grams/4 ounces), and salmon (31 grams of protein/serving) are all excellent sources of protein as well.
Tuna should be your go-to source of protein because it contains very little fat or calories, so many refer to it as pure protein.
So, you went through this list of what to eat before bed to build muscle and you were wondering where that meat was, weren’t you?
As you might’ve guessed by now, poultry is another excellent source of protein.
It is something that is easily cooked and can be served cold (which is great if you don’t want a heavy, hot meal before bed).
Half a pound of poultry averages around 25-25 grams of protein and goes wonderfully with a side of avocado, legumes or Greek Yogurt.
But What About Eating Late?
You’ve probably heard it said that you shouldn’t eat after a certain hour and that eating before bed is a definitive no-no.
Well, that’s nothing but a myth. Many are under the mistaken impression that if you eat late, your body won’t digest the food as well and it will turn into fat.
That’s not, in fact, true. The amount of fat you put on is determined by the calories you eat, not by when you eat them.
For example, if you eat three bags of chips and chase them down with a bottle of Coke, you’ll still put on fat (not to mention all the other unpleasant health effects), even if you eat them at 3 in the afternoon.
Whereas, if you eat a little Greek Yogurt or any of the other products recommended here before bed, you won’t put any more weight on than you would if consuming them during the day.
Your metabolism doesn’t just stop when you fall asleep and your body won’t just make up calories out of thin air.
Why Should I Eat Before Bed?
You might be wondering if you can’t just eat these protein-rich foods during the day or at normal meal times.
And there’s no one saying you shouldn’t or that you can’t.
Protein stimulates protein production, so a protein-rich diet is welcome at any point during the day.
The reason you want to eat before bed, however, is that you’ll want something to assuage those nighttime cravings.
It’s normal, especially if you’re following an intense training routine, to crave more nourishment.
And at night, you are most at risk of munching down on something unhealthy.
And naturally, this is detrimental to your muscle-building routine.
So, by sneaking in a healthy meal from the above list of what to eat before bed to build muscle, you ensure you won’t be up at 2 AM raiding the fridge.
Another great aspect of eating before bed is that while you sleep, your body has time to recharge and rebuild.
And among those things it rebuilds, we have the muscles you used and exhausted during the day while working out.
A protein-rich meal before bed helps your body heal and rebuild those muscles and stimulates protein production.
How Much Protein Do I Need?
While it’s great to have a protein-heavy diet, you don’t want to go over the recommended intake, as that’s not good for anyone.
Don’t think that if you eat 200 grams of protein per day, you’ll turn into the Hulk in a month.
There’s only so much protein your body can build and too much protein can actually have a reverse effect and lead to weight gain over a longer period.
How Do You Calculate Your Protein Intake?
Well, the DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) says you need 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (or 0.36 per pound).
So for example, if you weight 80 kg, you’ll need to consume 64 grams of protein per day.
But this is the very minimum and not really optimal for a healthy existence, much less for muscle growth.
In general, the recommendation for people who wish to build muscle is 1 gram of protein per pound or 2.2 grams per kg.
So, the same 80 kg individual would have to consume roughly 180 grams of protein in a day.
In addition to the foods recommended in this article, you might also consider taking our favorite protein supplements, though keep in mind that they should not replace your diet.
We now know the best foods to eat before bed to promote muscle growth – out of the list, which is your favorite?