4 things to do every night to help you build muscle | livestrong.com


Getting enough sleep and eating a protein-rich snack before bed can help you build muscle.

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If you\’re looking to build muscle, you\’re probably at the top of your workouts. But there\’s more to adding size than just squats and biceps.

\”If your goal is to build muscle and you stick to your exercise routine, you\’re only part of the journey,\” David Chesworth, ACSM-CEP, exercise physiologist and program director at the Hilton health resort tells LIVESTRONG.com Head health. . Supporting your efforts in the gym with recovery strategies will let you do the rest.

\”The harder you train, the harder you have to recover,\” says Chesworth. Without recovery, your muscles cannot repair and rebuild. And if your muscles can\’t repair and rebuild, they can\’t bounce back bigger and better than before.

Fortunately, there are some simple strategies you can use to encourage muscle recovery between strength sessions. And the best part is that they can be easily incorporated into your nightly routine. Do these four things every night to see gains.

Few habits will help you build muscle as effectively as getting enough sleep every night. \”Sleep is when the muscle-building magic happens,\” says Chesworth.

For example, dreamless NREM sleep activates hormones involved in protein synthesis (the process of making proteins), according to an October 2014 review in Sports medicine. This helps repair damaged muscle tissue, allowing the muscles to grow back bigger and stronger.

Plus, skimping on sleep can hurt your workout the following day. According to a June 2022 review in Sports medicinesleeping less than six hours significantly affected lower-body strength during afternoon workouts.

\”If you\’re not getting enough sleep, physical gains are unlikely to occur, despite your protein intake and weight,\” Erin Nitschke, CPT, certified personal trainer and health coach, tells LIVESTRONG.com.

If you want to build muscle, aim for at least seven hours of quality sleep a night, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

2. Limit stress before bed

To maximize the muscle-building benefits that sleep offers, minimize stress before bed. \”Limiting stress may not help build muscle per se, but it can help prevent muscle loss,\” Todd Buckingham, PhD, an exercise physiologist and visiting professor at Grand Valley State University in 2010, tells LIVESTRONG.com. Michigan.

When stressed, your body releases a hormone known as cortisol. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone that breaks down molecules (like proteins and fats) your body uses for energy, says Chesworth. While this process is beneficial at times like during exercise, when your body is craving for fuel, it is counterproductive during muscle tissue building.

Chesworth advises avoiding activities that increase your heart rate or induce anxiety before bed, as they will release cortisol. “So things like reading bad news, watching a drama, consuming caffeine or alcohol, and exposing yourself to too much blue light [from electronic screens],\” he says.

Instead, find calming activities that help you relax. These could include stretching, breathing exercises, reading a book (no detective stories or thrillers!), taking a bath, listening to relaxing music or going for a leisurely walk.

Or, try Nitschke\’s bedtime yoga pose: Legs on the Wall Yoga Pose ((Viparita Karani). To do this, lie face up on the floor and lift your legs straight up to rest them against a wall. Move around if necessary. forward so your buttocks are also touching the wall. Relax in that position for 10 minutes. Indicates calm.

3. Choose a high protein snack

As the building block of lean tissue, protein is a must for gains. \”It\’s critical to make sure you\’re consuming enough protein to not only sustain your current muscle mass, but also build new tissue and repair any damage,\” says Nitschke.

If you need a snack before bed, choosing a protein-rich food can be a smart move. According to a June 2020 review in Physical activity and nutritioningesting 40 to 48 grams of casein protein (found in milk) 30 minutes before bed can help keep the muscle-building process moving while the body rests.

But for this strategy to work, you need to strength train first. \”You can\’t just consume protein before bed and expect it to build muscle,\” says Buckingham. “You have to perform a resistance training workout and then consume the protein to get the benefit.”

However, a May 2018 study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that consuming casein both day and night helped men increase muscle size. So, targeting specific daily protein levels may be more important than timing your protein intake. However, choosing protein for your bedtime snack, like cottage cheese, for example, can help you hit your daily protein requirement.

The daily protein requirement varies from person to person. However, the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) recommends aiming for 1.4-2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day to build and maintain muscle. For a 150-pound (68 kg) person, that equates to about 95.2 to 136 grams of protein per day.

4. Watch your exercise time

As mentioned above, resistance training is the key to building muscle. However, pumping iron too close to bedtime can cause you to take two steps forward and one step back.

As Chesworth explains, exercise puts stress on your body, which can counteract the healing benefits of sleep. Also, some people find it hard to relax after a late workout. This can delay sleep and interfere with sleep quality, notes Buckingham. None of these results help build muscle.

However, if your schedule only allows for late workouts, you might choose to go for it. \”If the evening is the only time you can do [strength training]you\’re more likely to build muscle by doing that than by skipping strength training altogether,” Chesworth says. But try to get your workout done earlier in the day.

How late is it? It is not clear. However, a February 2020 study in the European Journal of Sport Science suggests you might be fine if you stop moderate-intensity resistance training 90 minutes before bedtime.

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