Building Muscle 24 Hours Per Day!

One of the things that comes up more often than not, is the question of what to have before bed to keep the
I'm fairly new to the site, and I've been getting involved in some of the discussions on the message boards. One of the things that comes up more often than not, is the question of what to have before bed to keep the "Anabolic Drive" going all night.

Well to be quite honest, there isn't anything that is going to last the 8-10 hours you're asleep. It only takes roughly 4 hours for your body to slip into a post-absorptive (catabolic) state[1]. I believe that I've come up with a simple technique that is not only effective and potent, but also convenient and easy to do.

Some serious bodybuilders will get up in the middle of the night and make a full-blown meal. To me this is a bit on the extreme side. Not only does it limit sleep and recovery time, but not many of us really want to fire up the George Foreman Grill® at 2 am!


So here's what you'll need:

  • 1 packet of your favorite MRP
  • 1 C milk - I prefer skim, but its up to you.
  • 25-30g of Whey Isolate
  • 5-10g Glutamine
  • 500mg of NAC
  • 16-20oz of water throughout the night.
That's it, its simple, but very effective and I'll explain why.

Breaking It Down


By now, I'm sure most of you have read Big Cat's article on milk, so I will spare you the lecture on benefits. But, there is one very important aspect that milk has beside its protein make up. And that is lactose.

If you aren't lactose intolerant, it's your best friend in the middle of the night. Skim milk has a Glycemic Index of about 32 out of 100. That's is very low and what that means is that it will provide a slow and steady release of the all important hormone, Insulin. Also the continual supply of insulin will ensure that the whey Isolate is channeled to muscle tissue and not utilized for energy production.

And yes, you do burn calories during sleep. If you want to figure out how many, (.0175) x (.9) x (weight in kg) x (time in minutes). If you're focused on getting lean or getting ready for a contest, you would need to figure this "mid-night muscle meal" into your daily caloric intake.

Whey Isolate

I'm sure we are all well aware that whey is on the top of the charts in protein. But it's often looked at as a "post workout" protein. I hope to change that theory. Whey isolate, when processed correctly, has unbelievable able health promoting properties.

But oligopeptides found in certain hydrolisates have the unique ability to stimulate protein synthesis.[2] Unlike whole proteins oligopeptides are not completely cleaved into single amino acids before absorption. They are absorbed intact and deliver massive amounts of muscle building nitrogen to muscle cells[2]. When combined with the milk, you provide a very fast and large amount of protein followed by a more steady and continual flow of nitrogen, which promotes higher nitrogen retention[3,4].

Personally I would suggest a hydrolyzed whey for benefit of the delivery of oligopeptides (amino acid chains 6-8 aminos long). My choice is VP2 from AST, but I know that NITRO-Tech, and designer protein are also hydrolyzed. However I don't believe they are isolates. You could also opt for a 1/2 serving of Isopure, but I don't think it is hydrolyzed.


On the message boards there was a big debate about whether or not it was beneficial for use during a bulking phase. I truly believe that it is. Its role in muscle growth is multifaceted and indirect. To make a long story short, you relieve the burden from your muscle tissue to meet the demands of glutamine by your immune system, intestinal track, brain, and so on.[5] You have to realize that the amino acids that contribute the most to protein synthesis are the BCAAs.

However, they are also the amino acids responsible for Glutamine synthesis[5,6]. Combining large amounts of BCAAs from the Whey isolate with a large dose of Glutamine will ensure that the critical building blocks from the whey are utilized for protein synthesis[7].

It's also a cell volumizer, which is also critical. Even a slight increase in cell volume is like a light switch for protein synthesis[8]. Lastly are its effects on GH. Over a 400% increase in GH when administered orally. However, Most GH is destroyed in the liver and converted in Insulin Growth Factor-I (IGF-I). And much like the name implies, insulin is required to maximize its effects on muscle growth[13]. This ties back with the low GI carbs found in milk.

You don't need to worry about Glutamine competing with other proteins for absorption; it appears that is a thing of the past [12]. Probably due to the poor testing techniques that were available then. It seems that adding glutamine to your protein will increase the rate of protein synthesis [7]. If you think you're "OK" during a bulking phase with out it, you're kidding yourself.


What's the deal on NAC?

NAC is the only stable form of the amino acid, cysteine, that has an acetyl group bound on the N-Terminal, or N-Acetyl-Cysteine. Cysteine, along with glutamine, is the critical link in muscle growth. Net gains in muscle mass will only occur when enough of these to nutrients have been supplied by the liver, or in this case from supplementation [9,10].

It also raises levels of Glutathione in blood, out bodies primary anti-oxidant and with out it it we can build a single strand of muscle fiber.[11] This will keep those free-radicles at bay and prevent any damage they might do.

And lastly, maintaining high levels of cysteine & glutamine in the blood allows intra-muscular glutamine stores to go untouched which leaves the muscle building process un-interrupted.[14] The combination of whey & NAC provides ample amounts of cysteine and the addition of glutamine meets all the demands of the body so your muscles can recover and grow like never before!

Bringing It Together

So how do we make this work?

It's rather simple and very easy to do. About 30 min before you plan to hit the sack. Mix up that packet of your favorite MRP. I like to dump mine in a bowl and mix it into a thick chocolate pudding before bed! The combination of slow digesting protein from casein/milk isolate will last most of the for 4 hours before a catabolic state ensues.[15]

Now before you brush your little teeth and go to bed, get everything ready to make this as smooth as possible. Get a shaker bottle, pour 1 cup of milk in and put it somewhere that is quick to get at. I have a very small apartment, so I just leave it on the top shelf of the fridge. Then scoop out your Whey and set it next to the milk.

If you want measure out your Glutamine and put in something small and set it aside as well. Lastly fill a tall glass or bottle with some water and set it next to your bed. So plan to get up about half way through your normal sleep time. Most of us have that certain time when we wake up to hit the john, so this would be good. Usually wake up around 1 or 1:30 am, which is perfect.

Now when you wake up to hit the bathroom, just stagger to where your stuff is, dump the Whey and glutamine in with the milk and down it with the capsule of NAC. The important thing to remember is NOT to forget is to drink the water you have by your bed. Try as hard as you can to finish it.

The first couple of nights are rough but you get used to it. Remember, cell volume is important to muscle growth. We loose about 3 liters of water during sleep - that's bad! If you've got a stuffy & hot apartment like me, then you're probably loosing more.


So there you have it. That was simple, right? That will only take a total of 3 min out of your precious sleep and will boost gains significantly. Three little minutes to keep you building muscle 24 hours a day. Catabolism is now a thing of the past. Follow this for plan for a few weeks and I'm sure you'll see the benefits of those 3 extra minutes!

I place a high priority on diet and nutritional timing. We have to realize that muscle development is going on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If we don't supply the right material, we short-circuit the process and our results.


1. S aladin, K. Anatomy & Physiology: The unity of form and function 2nd Ed. p1007.
2. Grimble GK et al. Effect of peptide chain length on amino acid and nitrogen absorption from two lactalbumin hydrolysates in the normal human jejunum. Clin.Sci.71:65-69, 198
3. Pollain MG, et al. Effect of whey proteins, their oligopeptide hydrolysates and free amino acid mixtures on growth and nitrogen retention in fed and staved rats. JPEN. 1989:vol13#4:382-386.
4. Keohane PP, et al. Influence of protein composition and hydrolysis method on intestinal absorption of protein in man. Gut.26:907-913. 1985
5. Walsh, NP, Biannin AK, et al. Glutamine, exercise and immune function. Sports Med:26(3) 177-191, 1999.
6. Wagenmakers AJ, Muscle amino acid metabolism at rest and during exercise: Role in human physiology and metabolism. Exercise & sport Secience Rev. 1998;26:287-314
7. Nutrition, 2001. 17(1) 35-40.
8. D. Haussinger et al. Functional significance of cell volume regulatory mechanisms. Phys. Rev. vol 78(1) p 247-290, 1998
9. Dodge W. And Holm E. Role of cysteine and glutathione in HIV infected and other diseases associated with muscle wasting and immumological dysfunction. FASEB J. 11:1077 - 1089,1997
10. Fern EB, Bielinski RN and Shultz Y. Effect of exaggerated amino acid and protein supply in man. Experimentia. 1991;47:168-172.
11. Sen CK. Glutathione homeeostasis in response to exercise training and nutritional supplements. Molecular & Cellular Biochemestrt. 196:31-42, 1999
12. Rennie Mj et al. Glutamine metabolism and transport in skeletal muscle and heat and their clinical relevance. J. Nutr. 126: p1142S-1149S, 1996
13. Carroll PV, Christ ER, umpleby AM et al. Diabetes, 49(5):789-96, 2000
14. Watford M. Does Glutamine regulate skelatal muscle protein turnover? TIBS 14 1-14,1989
15. Mahe S et al. Gastrojejunal kinetics and the digestion of [15N]B-lactoglobulin and casein in humans: the influence of the nature and quality of the protein Am. J. Clinical Nutr., 63. 546-552, 1996.