The Building up of muscle protein that occurs after taking protein before going to bed can be increased with strength training on the same evening. Due to the power training the building up of the muscle protein is in fact 35 percent higher than when an athlete takes only protein.

After power training both muscle breakdown and muscle buildup of muscle protein take place. This process is also called muscle protein synthesis. At a positive muscle protein balance the muscle growth is greater than the muscle breakdown, with a negative muscle protein balance the opposite take place.  Athletes take protein in order to ensure that their muscle protein balance remains positive. Thus they prevent muscle breakdown with all the adverse consequences. An effective way to maintain a positive muscle protein balance during the night is to carry out strength training in the evening and then immediately before going to sleep take a considerable amount of protein. Until now, however, it was unclear how large the contribution of the strength training is to muscle protein synthesis, if an athlete takes up just before bedtime protein. The research of the University of Maastricht has answered this question.


Athletes who, immediately before going to bed, take thirty grams of protein casein make about 35 percent more muscle protein when they have done an intense strength training on the same evening. This the researchers discovered in twelve recreational exercisers only to provide them casein right before bedtime and twelve others  also to carry out an intensive power training in the same evening.

Of all the proteins that the athletes took the body used about 55 percent for muscle protein synthesis. This could be determined by the ingested protein was processed in a special way so that it was to trace in the blood and muscle tissue.

The strength that the athletes had to carry out was intended to tax the knee extensors intensively. After warming up the athletes had to perform, during this training, a total of twelve sets of ten repetitions; six sets “leg press” and six sets “leg extension”. The athletes trained around eight o’clock in the evening and immediately afterwards they received a drink with twenty grams of protein and 45 grams of carbohydrates. The athletes who did not perform the strength training also received this recovery drink. Then all athletes got at 23:30 thirty grams of traceable protein and a piece of muscle was removed from the thigh muscle, called a muscle biopsy. During the night was taken blood several times and at 07:00 in the morning again a muscle biopsy.


This study increases the existing knowledge on the use of protein just before bedtime. It was clear that protein intake just before going to bed is an effective method in combination with strength training to maintain a positive muscle protein balance. Now it has become clear that the strength training also plays an important role. If athletes only take protein their overnight protein balance will be positive; if they also carry out weight training then muscle growth increases by approximately 35 percent. Another addition to previous results of this research team is that thirty grams of casein is also sufficient in order to keep the muscle protein balance levels positive throughout the night. In previous studies, the subjects were given namely forty grams. That is an amount which in practice is not always easy to take just before bedtime.