Welcome back! In part one of the blog, we went through just how important calories are, the role they play in weight loss and weight gain & exactly why there is no such thing as a good or a bad food. You can find part 1 RIGHT HERE.
Part 2 explored why cheat meals are rubbish, the supplements that are actually worth spending money on as well as why you might actually want to reconsider being lean ALL THE TIME. Yep – you read that right. Part 2 is RIGHT HERE.
Part 3 then took you through why fasted cardio is irrelevant & why training one muscle group per workout probably means you’re leaving gains on the table. Check that one out RIGHT HERE.
Part 4? That was all about the right rep ranges, some of the best exercises you should probably consider having in your routine & why brown carbs aren’t necessarily better than white ones – which is why you should eat what you prefer for the most part. That can be read RIGHT HERE.
Then, in part 5, we went through some of the reasons you don’t actually have to do cardio in order to burn fat or get leaner, why making slow progress is absolutely the best progress & also touched on why training volume is arguably the single most important factor when it comes to building and maintaining muscle mass. Read that HERE.
During Part 6, I explained all things deloads & took you through exactly why training to failure each and every time you enter the gym probably isn’t the best thing to do.
Today, we’re going to go back to nutrition, to explore meal timing & protein.
Meal Timing Only Kind of Matters
A few years ago, everyone was all about eating little and often, with the idea that this boosted the metabolism.
You’ve probably heard the line – ‘eat small, frequent meals to stoke the metabolic fire’.
Then, the intermittent fasting craze hit. Suddenly guys and girls were eating nothing but water, black coffee and BCAAs until 3 or 4pm in the afternoon.
They were completely different methods.
The only similarities?
Both groups thought their method was best.
The truth, as it so often does, lies somewhere in the middle.
You don’t need to eat every few hours, as your metabolic rate isn’t just linked to meal frequency, but to the total number of calories you eat too, meaning if you ate 2,000 calories per day, you would burn the same number through digestion regardless of whether this was over 2 meals or 10.
As for intermittent fasting?
It can help to control hunger, but the fat loss benefits are unsubstantiated and you are probably going to train like crap, unless you are used to training without food, so I wouldn’t recommend it to most people.
Your best bet?
Eat every 4 to 6 hours, and have a protein shake or some BCAAs if you are going to go much longer than that. Research shows that the thermic effect of feeding, or rather, the amount of calories you burn through digestion and eating is directly proportionate to the amount of calories you consume, and NOT the frequency with which you eat.
That means, you will burn the same amount of calories through eating and digestion if you eat 10 x 200 calorie meals or 1 x 2000 calorie meal. Obviously, the former might affect things like; your mood, energy levels at certain times of the day, even your gym performance (dependant on when you go), but as far as body composition is concerned, meal frequency is pretty irrelevant, outside of those factors I just mentioned.
Eat as many meals as is convenient or enjoyable for you – so long as you can do so whilst also hitting daily calorie and macronutrient guidelines.
1. Protein Doesn’t Have Magic Properties
Thanks to bodybuilding folklore, plenty of guys think they have to cram down as much protein as possible.
That just doesn’t sit right.
You probably need a very minimum of 0.7 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day (1.5 grams per kilo) up to a maximum of 1.5 grams per pound. Even this is overkill.
A fail-safe option is to aim for around 1 gram per pound, or 2 grams per kilo, and understand that any more than that, simply can’t be used by the body.
In an ideal world, you could calculate protein requirements using lean body mass, as more muscle/ lean tissue will mean you turnover more protein, but as most people don’t really know this, the above will work well.
Rather than over-consuming on protein, get any extra calories from fats and carbs – as those nutrients are the ones that provide more readily available sources of energy and hence will help with improving training performance and strength.
Next week, I’ll hit you with some science regarding high intensity interval training & artificial sweeteners.