You’ve put in the hard work at the gym already and are now relaxing for the evening. You’re lying there watching TV, finishing off your final meal of the day (or maybe sipping a hot beverage to stave off hunger if you’re dieting!) and are thinking you’re just about ready to crash.
What’s your bedtime routine? Do you do the usual’s: brush your teeth, wash your face, get into your bedtime wear, and use the bathroom?
For most people, that’s their go-to. While that’s great and all those are very important to do, you must not forget supplementation. If you can arm your body with the right supplements before turning in, you’ll be preparing your body for success.
During the overnight period, you go into deep recovery so the more tools and resources you have at your disposal, the better progress you can make.
So what should be in your supplement line-up to ensure you get the best muscle growth and recovery? Let’s walk you through what to focus on.
The first thing you’ll definitely want to get into your body before turning in for the evening is some Glutamine. Glutamine is a critical amino acid that plays a key role in keeping your immune system strong1 and while you rest, it’s time for your immune system to be built up stronger again.
Glutamine will go to work, repairing all those damaged muscle tissues while ensuring your body is going to be at its best for the new day ahead.
The two most optimal times to take glutamine are immediately after your workout session and right before you go to bed at night, so make sure you aren’t overlooking them.
Next up on the list are multi-vitamins. Some people do prefer to take theirs first thing in the morning, but taking them in the evening is also very beneficial. Often it’s a bit easier to get into a bedtime routine than in the morning when you’re rushing out the door, so some find they are more consistent with taking them right before bed.
Getting a good multivitamin in your supplement routine is going to help ensure that you are optimizing your nutritional intake during those busy times when your diet may be less than ideal.
It can be hard at times to get in all the healthy food you need each day so having back-up support can provide great assurance that you’re covered.
No bedtime routine would be complete for someone who is hard in training without a joint support product. When you’re in the gym, crushing those heavy weights, your joints are taking a beating. Each and every time you hoist the bar over your head or stack that weight on your back to lower down into a squat, your joints are facing pounds and pounds of pressure.
If you don’t take care of them now, it’ll only be a matter of time before you’re sidelined with an injury. A joint support product can help prevent this from happening.
Don’t wait until it’s too late and you’re already in pain. This is one area where you want to take as many precautions as possible. Joint injuries, especially back and knee injuries can knock you out for months, if not make it nearly impossible to lift maximally for good. Many of those with chronic back pain are constantly making modifications to their workout program in order to accommodate the discomfort they feel and their limitations.
When shopping for a joint support product, make sure to pick up one that contains glucosamine and collagen2.
If you aren’t someone who likes going to bed with a heavy meal in your stomach, a protein blend is a fantastic option. Many people prefer this not only because it’s lighter but because it’s going to supply their body with the high-quality amino acids it needs during the overnight fasting period to repair and rebuild the damaged muscle tissue. Protein also aids in muscle growth and recovery.
A protein blend is a good choice because it’s going to contain both whey protein as well as casein protein powder, so you get both the fast acting and slower acting proteins working in your favor.
A protein blend is also a great option if you are dieting because it’s low in fat and carbs, so will allow you to get that protein in without any unwanted extra calories. At just over 100 calories per scoop in most cases, it’s a very reasonable addition to just about any diet plan.
You can blend this protein with water, unsweetened almond milk, of if you want even more protein and a very slow digesting type, mix it in with some cottage cheese as well.
Branched Chain Amino Acids/Essential Amino Acids
You’ll also want to consider taking some BCAA and EAA products at this time as long as they are pure and contain no stimulants. These can help provide a little extra for your body to use for recovery purposes and help prevent injuries over the long term.
Often those injuries that come on slowly and persist for months and months are due to repetitive movement patterns and when your body is not fully recovering between sessions, that repetition is what causes the tissues to break down, become inflamed, and eventually get injured.
If you can ensure maximum recovery occurs between sessions, you can avoid those problems in the first place.
If you’re someone who is looking to dramatically change their physique and add more lean muscle mass or burn body fat faster, you might look at taking a prohormone supplement before bed.
Each prohormone will have different dosing instructions, but often for many it’s beneficial to take before bed as during the overnight period, your body is going to release the most total growth hormone. By having the prohormone in your system at this point, you can amplify that release, giving you the best results possible, which will also help with muscle growth and recovery.
Finally, the last of the products you might want to consider is a sleep aid. While it’s best to avoid relying on these every single night to help you sleep as you can become dependent on them, getting that sleep you need is very critical to your well-being.
So if you’ve had a night or two where you’ve already tossed and turned all night long and really just need some good shut-eye, don’t be afraid to get some assistance.
A quality sleep aid can both help you fall asleep faster and then stay asleep longer, helping you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face your day head on. Sleep aids can also assist with muscle growth and recovery by allowing you to get more quality and deeper sleep.
If you can get these products working in your favor before bed, you’ll be priming your body for success and ensuring that you are giving your all each time you’re in the gym.
Not enough restorative sleep will impact every single element of your well-being, so it’s not something to take for granted. With so many excellent products out there to help, you can’t afford not to take advantage of them.
- Walsh, Neil P., et al. “Glutamine, exercise and immune function.” Sports Medicine 26.3 (1998): 177-191.
- Clark, Kristine L., et al. “24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain.” Current medical research and opinion 24.5 (2008): 1485-1496