Your body is primed to build muscle two times a day—right after your workout and during deep sleep. With the right meal or supplement before bed, you can get stronger while you doze.
THE SCIENCE: Your body releases its biggest surge of growth hormone during REM sleep. If you have ample amounts of protein in your system, you’ll take full advantage of the spike and make greater muscle gains. Also, your muscles will soak up protein through the night, so you won’t go into “hunger” mode (where your body can break down muscle) as quickly.
WHAT TO EAT: A slow-digesting form of protein, such as chicken or turkey, is ideal. Or try low-fat cottage cheese with pineapple chunks and an ounce of almonds for healthy fats to help slow digestion further.
WHAT TO DRINK: A shake made with casein, a slow-release protein. Good options include BSN Syntha-6 or Labrada Pro V60 Plus. (Because it digests quickly, whey protein powder is not the best choice here.) For even greater gains, consider mixing in five grams each of creatine, BCAAs, and glutamine. You can add them to your shake separately or get them all in one product, such as VPX No Synthesize.