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TO FURTHER THE GROWTH PROCESS, IT’S UP TO EACH OF US TO ENSURE THAT THE CORRECT BALANCE OF MUSCLE-BUILDING PROTEINS IS MAINTAINED AT ALL TIMES. IF WE NEGLECT THIS CRUCIAL ASPECT OF BODYBUILDING, THE CONTINUED DEPLETION OF MUSCLE PROTEINS IS LIKELY TO MAKE OUR GYM EFFORTS WASTEFUL AT BEST.
The major imperative of the human body is homeostasis – the maintenance, or regulation, of the body’s physiological equilibrium. Indeed, the biological balancing of myriad bodily functions (from temperature to pH balance to blood glucose levels) is imperative to human survival. Homeostasis also governs muscle growth. Our most metabolically active and adaptive tissue, muscle exists in a constant state of flux. It’s either being broken down or built up depending on the amount of stimulation and the quality of the raw materials it receives. The process of building new proteins is called muscle protein synthesis. It’s what bodybuilders desire most. On the other side of the muscle remodeling equation is protein degradation. This is what happens when protein synthesis is not occurring. The muscles function in either in a catabolic (breaking down) or anabolic (building up) state. There is no in between. Thus if size increases are high on your list of objectives, it’s important to keep the muscles anabolic at all times. This requires that muscle tissue be in a continued state of muscle protein synthesis. We may think we eat enough protein. With the multiple daily servings of chicken, fish eggs, and beef and the strategic incorporation of superior products like whey, surely the synthesizing of new muscle will continue unabated. While protein consumption throughout the day is a great start, it’s not the complete picture. Read on to learn how you can further optimize your protein intake for more impressive gains.
RESEARCH HAS SHOWN THAT HIGH-GRADE PURE PROTEINS TAKEN BEFORE TURNING IN WILL NOT LEAD TO ADDED ADIPOSE BUT MAY, IN FACT, HAVE THE OPPOSITE EFFECT: A BUMP IN ENERGY EXPENDITURE DUE TO ENHANCED FAT METABOLISM.5, 8, 12
As long as we do not gorge on plates loaded with fatty steaks or 10 egg omelets, a 30-40g serving of high-quality protein before bed will not only help to accelerate muscle growth but will also keep our metabolic machinery on point – so we can build muscle and burn fat while we sleep. The best form of protein to take at this time is casein as it’s less insulinogenic (it encourages the body to use more fat for fuel) and more sustained-release (it keeps amino acids circulating in the blood for as much of the sleep period as possible to help stimulate muscle protein synthesis and, in particular, safeguard against muscle losses).
EATING PROTEIN BEFORE BED ENABLES US TO MAXIMALLY STIMULATE PROTEIN SYNTHESIS BY ENSURING THAT A HIGH NUMBER OF GROWTH-INDUCING AMINO ACIDS CONTINUE TO CIRCULATE WHILE WE SLEEP.10
Under normal circumstances, when awake, we would not ‘dream’ of going 8-10 hours without at least three evenly spaced 30-40g servings of quality protein. However, this is exactly what many of us do when we neglect pre-sleep protein. In fact, it’s believed by many that a failure to consume adequate protein before bed is the single biggest barrier to muscle retention – remembering that when the muscles are not in an anabolic state of muscle protein synthesis they must, therefore, be in a catabolic state of protein degradation. Thus, for many, muscle catabolism is even more likely to occur during sleep. Unless we consume adequate pre-sleep protein, the liver and muscles will be forced to send amino acids and glucose to the blood in order to maintain blood glucose and tissue metabolism, to keep our biological machinery ticking along while we sleep. Research has verified that during the 8-10 hour fasting period otherwise known as sleep, muscle protein breakdown exceeds muscle protein synthesis. Research has also found the reverse to be true when supplementing with casein protein before bed: that with a small investment of time you can double your muscle gains while increasing muscle strength.11
Lean proteins containing a full complement of essential amino acids are best before bed. Egg whites closely followed by low-fat cottage cheese (rich in casein) remain the best whole food sources. The best of the supplemental proteins is casein due to its slower absorption rate of 6.1g per hour (as opposed to 8-10g per hour for whey protein).2 For whey to maintain the same steady release of amino acids throughout the night, massive quantities of it would need to be consumed before bed (both impractical and counterintuitive when seeking to shred and build more muscle). On the other hand, casein’s slow digestion rate more effectively reduces protein breakdown and amino acid oxidation (the burning of amino acids for energy) while still boosting muscle protein synthesis (just not to the same degree as whey).
CASEIN-FX REMAINS THE BEST OF THESE PRODUCTS AS IT IS SOURCED FROM ONLY THE PUREST 100% MICELLAR CASEIN. THE MICELLE STRUCTURE OF THIS FORM OF CASEIN PROTEIN IS MOST EFFECTIVE IN DELIVERING A COMPLETE, FULL SPECTRUM SUPPLY OF AMINO ACIDS OVER A PERIOD OF 10 OR MORE HOURS.While it won’t stimulate maximum muscle protein synthesis to the same extent as whey protein, casein will prevent protein breakdown and amino acid oxidation. To avoid any degree of muscle wasting its inclusion before sleep is to be encouraged among all serious athletes. While casein is regarded as the best of the pre-sleep proteins, I would also include a half serving of ISOFLEX whey to further stimulate protein synthesis while you sleep. To stimulate maximum muscle protein synthesis the body needs plenty of the highly-anabolic branched-chain amino acid leucine.6, 7 However, with its relatively low leucine content of 8% compared to whey’s 11%, casein is not entirely suitable for this role. By combining a full serving of CASEIN FX (25g) with half a serving of ISOFLEX (13.5g) you’ll be providing your muscles with a full 37.5g of muscle building protein and getting the best of both worlds: maximum muscle retention and maximum muscle protein synthesis. So be sure never to be caught napping when it comes to supplying your muscles with exactly what they need when needed. Pre-sleep protein remains a smart supplemental strategy for smart bodybuilders and athletes at all levels. Remember that progress never sleeps and neither will your muscle gains.
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