In today’s digital age, information is right at our fingertips. Unfortunately this means that a lot of times we’re going to be exposed to material that may not be totally accurate. Becoming informed shouldn’t seem like a chore; for you to be successful in your fitness journey over the long-term, you must be passionate enough to want to learn everything about the lifestyle. Be aware of the traps laid out by greedy companies, power hungry trainers, or uneducated friends who believe everything they hear. With that being said, I’m here to get you started on what not to believe.
One of my favorite late night snacks is ground turkey. A little Worchester sauce, a little garlic salt, and some chopped mushrooms are all it takes to make a seemingly boring dish taste absolutely delicious. Not only is it easy to cook, but it doesn’t leave you feeling full or bloated, which is good when you’re close to going to bed. The deliciousness of this dish didn’t stop my roommate from questioning my eating habits and explaining how he read an article about the negative effects of eating before bed and why it was a sure way to put on fat. If I didn’t know any better I would have started going to bed hungry and angry every night. Hanger (hunger + anger) is real and it’s not enjoyable.
Webmd.com claims that the U.S Department of Agriculture Weight and Obesity website states, “It does not matter what time of day you eat. It is what and how much you eat and how much physical activity you do during the whole day that determines whether you gain, lose, or maintain your weight.”
If you exercise at night, your body needs to replenish its glycogen levels in order for your metabolism to maintain an anabolic, or muscle building, state. Don’t be afraid to have complex carbohydrates after the sun goes down. Complex carbs are also known as polysaccharides because they consist of more than two units of sugars linked together in a chain. Your body releases glucose at a slower pace when digesting these molecules as opposed to simple carbohydrates that don’t consist of as many sugar subunits.
According to livestrong.com, eating complex carbs can help curb your hunger late at night as well. For those of us who have studying to do before bed, eating a bowl of oatmeal or some baked sweet potatoes will give our brain the boost it needs to concentrate.
Another of my favorite pre-bed meals is cottage cheese. Cottage cheese contains casein protein, which is a milk derivative that is slower digesting than whey. Slow digesting protein will help your muscles remain satisfied while your catch some shut-eye, and is important for recovery because muscle regeneration occurs when you sleep.
A different method for obtaining casein is buying casein protein powder and making a nice shake before hitting the hay. For more on the benefits of casein check out this article from mensfitness.com.
Eating late at night may seem like a bad idea if you’re pounding Oreo Milkshakes and Double-Doubles, but as long as you keep it clean, it’s a necessary habit to develop in order to ensure your body gets the proper fuel needed to build muscle during the night.
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