Since I began offering online training services a couple of weeks ago, I have already obtained a decent number of clients. I was shocked to find that, amongst almost all of them, there is still a widespread fear that eating late at night will make you fat.
Many women believe the nonsense promoted by magazines and celebrities that you cannot eat once the sun goes down. This is complete rubbish! Your body does not know what time of day it is and will respond in the exact same way every time, whether you give it carbohydrates, protein or fat.
Women are taught to undereat throughout the day. When it gets to dinner time and they choke down their measly salad which they are forced to believe is adequate fuel, they will inevitably feel hungry an hour later. This is when trouble emerges and they eat whatever food is readily available. This may not necessarily be junk food – I have had women apologising to me for eating protein powder before bed because they were starving!
The last thing I do every single night right before I brush my teeth is EAT! I have one scoop of casein protein powder and a tablespoon of peanut butter as my last meal of the day. I have previously discussed the benefits of casein protein here and Meg did an informative vlog about it yesterday.
There are a number of healthy meals you can have before you go to bed, such as cottage cheese, greek yoghurt, an omelette or even a chicken breast! Casein protein can take up to seven hours to digest, and the addition of fat further slows the process.
The reason why it is important to eat right before you go to sleep is that your body will then enter a fast, where you won’t eat again for eight hours or so. If you miss that last, critically important meal of the day, your body could be fasting for up to 12 hours.
If your goal is to gain muscle, I can promise you that fasting for half the day will not help you (I’m not talking about intermittent fasting here; that is much more complicated than simply skipping your pre-bed snack!). When your body doesn’t receive fuel, it will start breaking down your muscles for a source of glycogen while you sleep – thereby reversing all the hard work you put in throughout the day.
Even if your goal is solely to lose fat, fasting for long periods of time followed by a regular eating schedule will wreak havoc with your metabolism and make things harder than they need to be.
I have found forums where women recommend what carb-free meals are good to eat after training at night, to prevent them from getting fat. Carbs are incredibly important to fuelling your body after a workout, and you are not going to see any adverse effects by having them right before bed.
I time my carbohydrates around my workouts. If I work out in the mornings, I eat the bulk of my carbs in the morning and early afternoon. If I train in the evenings, I eat one serve of carbohydrates at breakfast, one in the middle of the afternoon and two after I finish my workout – even if that second meal comes at 10pm. If I know I have an unusually heavy leg day coming up the next morning, I may also eat extra carbs for dinner that night.
Do you eat before bed? Are you afraid of eating carbohydrates at night?