A: That somewhat depends on the individual. If you’re not metabolically compromised, overweight or otherwise ill, it might apply to you. To begin with, how do you sleep? Do you sleep uninterrupted for a full eight-hour? Do you wake without an alarm? Do you sleep at the same time every day? If all of the above describes you (and it probably does not), you’re doing well, sleepwise.
Ideally, you should be sleeping at regular hours as close to the fall and rise of the sun as possible, and your sleep should be uninterrupted. (If you’re a man, you should wake with an erection.) You should be eating the lion’s share of your carbohydrates before sleep, not upon waking or prior to training. Those carbohydrate sources should be nongrain-derived. Think starchy tubers like squash and potatoes as the best sources. Protein is a vital macronutrient to take in before bedtime because it helps keep your muscles from breaking down due to the catabolism that accompanies the long period of fasting during sleep; however, it’s critical that you don’t overindulge in hard-to-digest proteins like beef within a few hours of bedtime, or you won’t sleep soundly.
My favorite protein to have before bed is MHP’s Probolic-SR. It’s a sustained-release combination protein—the only 12-hour protein available on the market. Because it’s digested and absorbed over several hours (first due to the three protein sources and later because of the patented microencapsulation of aminos), it fuels the muscles all night long. The result: You don’t shed muscle as you sleep.
As a hardcore lifter, you must prioritize sleep in your daily schedule, along with reducing stress and eliminating crap from your diet. If you do, sleep will come naturally and you will experience full recovery and growth each night.
Editor’s note: Ben White won his first IFBB professional bodybuilding contest, the Tampa Pro, in 2010. He is also a champion powerlifter and frequently competes in the World’s Strongest Bodybuilder contest at the Olympia. His best competition bench press is 711 pounds. He is an MPH athlete, www.MHPStong.com. IM