Everybody Tells Me That It’s Better To Eat and Train After I Wake Up as Early in the Morning as Possible and I’m A Loser If I Don’t Do As They Say.

Well, sometimes everybody’s just a damned nincompoop.

There are those of the tribe of early risers who will assure you that the best part of the day is before 06:00 and that they are in some sure but unspoken way superior to all who are not up, as they are, with the crowing cocks.

Everybody knows that morning training is better, and the early, the better right? It seems that unless you’re in a rock & roll band, those early birds are going to catch the worms and the rest of us are just out of luck.

Historically, both getting up and eating late have been considered “BAD”. You are just a lazy, dozy, self-indulgent no-good so-and. You will never amount to anything, most probably winding up on skid row with a wine bottle in your hand and vomit on your shirt if the sun is up before you are.

Assuming  that training and eating after you wake up in dawn’s crack is better than training (at least, as far as resistance training goes) and eating before you go to sleep is like pretending that Mick Jagger sings because he’s a good worm catcher. It’s just bullocks on stilts.

Early risers vs. night owls, individuals vary wildly in determining that sweet spot when they feel that are at their best. And so, the best time to train and eat that all important post-training meal depends on your lifestyle, biorhythms, previous experience and genetics.

I’ve been in bodybuilding since I was 17 years old and have seen or met many champions who have trained in the morning (Reg Park, Bill Pearl and Frank Zane), in the afternoon (The Metzners, Dave Draper, Ronnie Coleman, Ken Waller) and late at night (Sergio Oliva, Serge Nubret, Pete Grimkowski, Vince Taylor). And of course, the great Arnold, who in his prime would train twice a day for 2-3 hours at any time that he could fit it in his busy schedule. Arnold would go on to say that never allowing his body to get used to any habit was the secret to his success.

Enough of  the testimonial thing and telling stories, I don’t want to be accused of  “bro-sciencing” anybody. So, let’s see what science has to say about it:

Resistance-type exercise performed in the evening augments the overnight muscle protein synthetic response to presleep protein ingestion and allows more of the ingested protein-derived amino acids to be used for de novo myofibrillar protein synthesis during overnight sleep.[1]

In plain english, this study in fact indicates that training and ingesting protein afterwards before sleep increases the synthesis of new muscle fibres.

Ok, still not convinced, here’s another one:

Pre-Sleep Protein Ingestion to Improve the Skeletal Muscle Adaptive Response to Exercise Training. [2] When applied during a prolonged period of resistance-type exercise training, protein supplementation prior to sleep can further augment gains in muscle mass and strength. Recent studies investigating the impact of pre-sleep protein ingestion suggest that at least 40 g of protein is required to display a robust increase in muscle protein synthesis rates throughout overnight sleep. Furthermore, prior exercise allows more of the pre-sleep protein-derived amino acids to be utilized for de novo muscle protein synthesis during sleep. In short, pre-sleep protein ingestion represents an effective dietary strategy to improve overnight muscle protein synthesis, thereby improving the skeletal muscle adaptive response to exercise training. 

These two randomly chosen articles are not from some fashion magazine like Muscle & Fitness or FLEX, just trying to sell you something or push their magazine ratings, but disinterested, peer reviewed scientific journals. You can find scores more supporting similar findings on Medscape.  You don’t have to take my word for it.
So, what is the point of all this?
Well, the point is this that if you like to throw yourself out of bed, kiss the world hello, neck a raw egg or two and high-tail it off to the gym as the sun gloriously tears itself out of the owls of the earth, by all means go for it. But if this doesn’t work for you, there are ways than one to skin a cat.
What’s important, is that cat gets skinned.

 A wise man will often make more opportunities than he finds.

Sir Francis Bacon.

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