I work out right before going to sleep – do I have to eat supper?

It is often very difficult to balance afterworkout meals. There are many different theories concerning the nutrition promoting recovery. There's no doubt people who train late in the evening are in special position. In such cases it is hard to decide what to eat, or even whether to eat at all if there is a straight path from gym to bedroom.

Afterworkout meal – the most important in the world

Although breakfast is supposed to be the most important meal during the day, the fact is that more important is what we eat after the workout. It is crucial to supply some dose of nutrition compounds, preferably proteins and carbs, or at least just proteins. (We're talking about strength training here) Thanks to this action it is possible to:

  • inhibit muscle catabolism,

  • start recovery process,

  • supply biochemical tracks directed at muscle protein synthesis.

Omitting an afterworkout meal causes not taking all the advantages from training, which does not influence positively the progress optimization. For majority of people this aspect is clear and obvious, but when physical activity takes place late in the evening, there is a concern if the nutrients from food stay as body fat. Is this way of thinking right?

Eating in the evening – facts an myths

It is claimed that the body is set on burning supplied calories in the morning. According to the same claim, in the evening hours there is a “metabolism switch” and there is a preferential cumulation and gathering of body fat from eaten carbs and lipids. Even if that was true, it would not justify the afterworkout lent (you could only eat some light protein in a form of a supplement). This theory is not true.

It was proven in research that moving the calories from the first half of the day to the other may support body fat reduction and protect muscle tissue. What's more, there is experimental data that eating carbs in the evening has similar effect. What's interesting, this situation happens even when there is no workout in the evening. However, physical activity may additionally justify those actions.

The metabolic rate increases after physical activity and the insulin sensitivity is better, what visibly lowers the risk of gathering the body fat. This statement could fininsh all the discussions around eating or not eating supper. However, time is sometimes one of the arguments, precisely – short break between the workout and the moment of going to sleep. It's hard to eat large meal when one goes to bed straight from the gym. In this case, can skipping supper be justified? It turns out that not!

What should we eat before sleep?

Even when between the end of workout and the moment of going to sleep there's only less than an hour, it's good to eat even a small meal containing at least proteins, and even better – proteins and carbs. For the convenience one can drink protein supplements, the best would be a mix of quickly digested concentrate or whey protein isolate and some amount of casein or egg albumen. When it comes to carbs, white rice with some fruit is really good (it can be e.g. kiwi, which is rich in melatonine).


For people who are threatened by colourful magazines and other popular sources of information that eating in the evening is harmful, I will say that again: evening meals don't have to be worse for the body than those eaten in the morning. What's more, the afterworkout time is the safest time to supply the body with energy and the most important time to eat proteins. Of course, it doesn't mean that you can eat anything in any amount right after training. I only pay attention to the fact that you should eat after training and not starve for many hours and not to be afraid of evening meals.