Just in case you didn't know, your physique doesn't grow and develop while you're in the gym, it grows when supported by proper nutrition and while you sleep. Yes you'll get a nice pump most of the time during you workouts and your veins will be popping due to the increased blood flow into the working muscles, but you actually grow and develop while you're asleep which is why getting a good solid six to eight hours' of sleep per night is crucial after your workouts to get the best from your time and effort spent in the gym.
When you lift weights you cause damage and trauma to your muscle fibres, which is needed in order for them to repair and grow back bigger and stronger to be ready for such demands again. Of course, getting bigger doesn't just happen overnight, which is why progressive overload and intense challenging sessions that push you past your comfort zone are key to getting the results you crave from your training. But this is something that many fail to realise and execute effectively.
Without proper nutrition and supplementation, you will struggle to make the progress you desire from your training. This is one of the main things most people struggle to understand, which leads to them feeling demotivated and constantly feeling like they aren't getting anywhere with their training.
A high-protein diet made up of solid meals throughout each day will help you to build lean muscle mass, but there are also a lot of useful supplements that can be added to your diet/meal plan to give your body further assistance in making progress.
As we've covered above, you grow and repair at night while you're asleep, so it's crucial that you provide your body with the nutrients it needs to get to work on repairing those damaged muscle fibres to grow back bigger and stronger over time with consistent training. Most people go to sleep not realising that their body is going to be In a fasted state for anywhere up to eight to ten hours, without anything to keep it going through the night. Since it can't get the energy and nutrients it needs from food, your body gets them any way it can, usually by sacrificing some of your muscle for the amino acids your body needs for it's various functions and for fuel.
Below are some great supplements that you can incorporate into your diet which will provide your body with what it needs to repair your muscle fibres to grow bigger and stronger, using slow-releasing protein and amino acids released throughout the night helping to avoid entering into a catabolic state and using your hard-earned muscle as fuel.
We know protein is the building block for muscle tissue, so providing yourself with a casein protein shake before bed is a quick and easy way to provide you body with protein to use throughout the night. Casein has the ability to provide your bloodstream with a slow and steady flow of amino acids that can last for hours. You won't get huge overnight, but casein is the ideal protein to consume right before bed and it will be more helpful throughout the night than any other protein option.
If you don't like the idea of drinking a load of liquid protein before bed, then cottage cheese makes a great alternative as it's a great source of casein protein. It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, and it certainly isn't mine, but sometimes you just have to suck it up and eat things you don't like when you know it's beneficial to your training and physique goals. Again these are the choices that can make or break some people, and your nutrition is the key component that separates the people who actually want the results and the people who just think they want it. Not everything you're going to eat is going to taste amazing. For example, I hate the taste and consistency of cottage cheese and avocados, but I know they're good for me so I shut up and eat them.Try cottage cheese spread over organic rice cakes as an easy snack to give yourself some slow-releasing protein.
This supplement has been proven to help the body achieve deeper levels of REM sleep and has been know to enhance strength levels. For anyone that struggles with getting to sleep or getting enough good-quality deep sleep, I would recommend using ZMA before bed to see if it helps. This supplement is made up of zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6, and there is research to support that zinc can have an effect on testosterone levels. Research shows that consuming 5mg per day can help you achieve higher testosterone levels.
L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid, meaning that it cannot be produced by the body so it must be acquired from food or supplementation. L-tryptophan is naturally found in animal and plant proteins and it is important for the development and functioning of many organs in the body.
L-tryptophan has been used in alternative medicine as an aid to treat sleep problems and anxiety, so it may be beneficial to use an L-tryptophan supplement to see if it can improve your quality of sleep. L-tryptophan is usually sold as a herbal supplement, but it can also be found in foods including nuts, seeds, tofu, cheese, red meat, chicken, turkey, fish, oats, beans, lentils and eggs.
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