Three Nighttime Supplements For Recovery
You’ve heard the saying “you snooze, you lose,” but you probably never realized it had such a literal meaning. We typically think of sleep as a recovery process. But that recovery process requires fuel – from carbs in the form of stored glycogen in the liver, fat stored in our fat cells and, unfortunately, amino acids from our muscles, the latter of which you’d rather not lose when looking to gain, or at least maintain, muscle mass.
The following three supplements can help you recover better as you sleep while encouraging more body fat to be used as fuel and minimizing amino acid waste to keep you bigger and leaner.
You’re probably surprised to see casein protein in a fat-burning stack, as it’s typically considered a mass-gainer. But casein protein does more than just preserve and build muscle. According to research from the Netherlands, casein can help to encourage your body to burn more fat during the night. The researchers reported in a 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that male and female subjects placed on a high protein diet (25% of total calories from protein), with all of that protein being casein, had less hunger throughout the day and burned more calories, particularly during the night, than those on a lower protein diet (10% of calories from protein).
Choose: Go with 20-40 grams of casein protein containing micellar casein immediately before bedtime. Also consider adding 10-20 grams of casein protein to your pre- and postworkout shakes, as well as between-meal shakes.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a naturally occurring group of healthy fats that promote fat loss while simultaneously stimulating muscle growth and strength gains. Research has shown that not only does CLA help you drop fat by decreasing the amount of fat that’s stored in your cells and boosting your metabolism, but it seems to also increase the amount of fat that’s burned during sleep. This will not only help you get leaner, but also will help to prevent the burning of amino acids for fuel. The key to using CLA is taking it consistently for at least a few months. You shouldn’t expect to see changes in your physique overnight, but if you stay consistent with supplementing it, the improvements in your physique will sneak up on you.
Choose: Take 2-3 grams of CLA with your casein shake before bed and take another dose when you wake and in the afternoon with food.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an amino acid, but it’s also a neurotransmitter, which means it signals nerve impulses. But while you likely think of nerve impulses as being excitatory, GABA is inhibitory. This means it essentially slows you down and relaxes you, and that’s one reason it’s good to take GABA at night – to promote sleep. Another reason GABA is an ideal nocturnal supplement is because, according to research, it enhances growth hormone (GH) release. Getting a bigger boost of GH while you sleep not only aids muscle recovery and muscle growth but also frees up more fat from your fat cells so you can burn it away while you sleep. And if you stack GABA with casein and CLA, you’ll be sure to lose while you snooze.
Choose: Take 3-5 grams of GABA without food about 45-60 minutes before you take your nighttime casein shake and CLA.