Loving the BITE: Pre-Sleep Muscle Sparing Shake
Typical cyclist nutrition wish-list: Lose fat, gain muscle, improve strength to weight ratio, continue to improve on the bike and feel strong while riding, no cramps, no bonking, no stomach issues, no starving. Stay healthy throughout the season. Recover quickly. Train/race harder the next day.
A tall order, I know. And, it’s the same list from pros and amatuers. There are many factors that go into a nutrition plan to cover all daily nutrition and training nutrition. In previous posts, we’ve dicussed a lot of options for hydration, lytes, and fuel on the bike. This week, our Loving the Bike recipe will provide some support for many of these other requests…and it’ll taste good doing it.
Recipe of the week:
Before-Bed Muscle-Sparing Chocolate Cherry Protein Shake
- 2 Tbsp chia seeds
- ½ cup water
- ½ Tbsp organic coconut oil
- ½ cup low-fat Greek yogurt (or, 1 scoop any protein powder at 80-100 calories)
- ½ cup pitted cherries or berries
- 1-2 Tbsp organic cocoa powder
- Place chia seeds and water in blender or food processor. Allow to set for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from clumping up.
- Add remaining ingredients. Process/blend until smooth.
- Don’t allow to set for long, or you’ll end up with pudding (the chia seeds will continue to “gel”). Drink ~30-60 minutes before bed.
Why a pre-sleep protein shake? There’s a few reasons to drink up:
First, here’s how it can help you lose fat:
- Many cyclists, who are trying to lose fat, find that they are hungry, or eat out of habit, before bed. This shake made with chia seeds, provides satiety to help fill you up, without a lot of extra “junk” dessert calories that you don’t need.
- Having a set portioned dessert can save a lot of calories compared to “grazing.” I often recommend that clients “close the kitchen” after dinner or after a small dessert, and not allow themselves to graze throughout the evening. If you plan on this one shake after dinner, there’s not any gray area that allows extra calories to creep in.
- The healthy fats in the shake, including medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) from coconut oil and omega-3s from chia seeds promote healthy, steady hormone levels that discourage insulin resistance. It’s a long story, but overall, the less insulin resistance (and more insulin sensitivity), the less fat accumulation.
How it helps you spare muscle:
- If you’re training hard, your body continues to burn extra calories long after you park the bike. During the night, as you fast for several hours, your body will burn some muscle in the absence of food intake. Long lasting proteins, like those found in Greek yogurt, provide a steady stream of available protein that can reduce overnight muscle catabolism. In fact, the dairy proteins specifically contain branch chain amino acids and glutamine, which distinctly promote muscle recovery after training. And, in case you’re wondering, it’s not just wishful thinking…studies show reduced catabolism and increased muscle gains when protein is consumed by athletes before bed. Don’t eat dairy? No worries, nut proteins, soy, or vegan mixed proteins are all good choices for a pre-bed muscle sparing shake.
How it improves overall health and wellness:
- This shake is simply loaded with health-promoting nutrients. Cocoa and cherries/berries promote reduced bodily inflammation and provide loads of antioxidants, chia seeds provide fiber and super healthy omega-3s fats, and organic coconut oil provides a good energy source in MCTs that are also anti-inflammatory.
If you’re ready for bed, you’re ready for our muscle-sparing shake. By cutting down on evening snacking and filling up on protein, anti-inflammatories, and antioxidants, you can give your muscles an edge and keep them around for when you need them. On the bike.
Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.