|Pre-bed protein (meal or shake) is always a good idea, no matter if you're young or old, if you work out in the PM or not - you don't want to miss the increased overnight protein synthesis.|
There is, allegedly, no long-term data (=actual gains) such as the increase in lean mass after 6-12 weeks, but with this study, which was actually designed to test the hypothesis that...
"[...] that physical activity can augment the impact of presleep protein ingestion on overnight muscle protein synthesis [in] 23 older men (71 6 1 y) who ingested 40 g casein protein intrinsically labeled with L-[1-13C]-phenylalanine and L-[1-13C]-leucine before going to sleep with (PRO+EX8; n = 11) or without (PRO; n = 12) a bout of physical activity being performed earlier in the evening" (Holwerda. 2016),the study results (that were, by the way, only marginally in line with the scientists hypothesis from the previously cited introduction) exceed my personal expectations, significantly.
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- normally digested and absorbed, with 54% ± 2% of the protein-derived amino acids appearing in the circulation throughout overnight sleep, and
- significantly boosted the overnight myofibrillar protein synthesis rates
This difference between the actual amount of the traced amino acids that ended up in the muscle, was not just statistically significant (see Figure 3, in bottom line). The 10% vs. 20% difference between the PRO and the PRO-EX group is also of potential practical relevance as it increased from - over weeks the muscle gains in the PRO-EX group can thus be expected to be significantly larger. Damas et al. (2016) have, after all, been able to show only recently that the (logical) correlation between acute increases in protein synthesis and lean muscle gains that has previously been doubted does exist - if you account for muscle damage (which is reduced after 1-3 weeks of training).
- Damas, Felipe, et al. "Resistance training‐induced changes in integrated myofibrillar protein synthesis are related to hypertrophy only after attenuation of muscle damage." The Journal of physiology (2016). Read the SuppVersity article about this study.
- Holwerda. "Physical Activity Performed in the Evening Increases the Overnight Muscle Protein Synthetic Response to Presleep Protein Ingestion in Older Men." First published June 8, 2016, doi: 10.3945/jn.116.230086 J. Nutr. jn230086.