The Importance of Frequent Meals

As a Certified Fitness Trainer and the owner of a supplement store, I am asked many questions regarding supplement use. During the course of a day, I receive numerous inquiries from both walk-in customers as well as on-line folks inquiring as to which supplement can result in the achievement of their fitness goals.

I am often asked which product will “get me ripped” or which product will “give me some more muscle”. I always answer these questions with a question of my own; how many meals do you eat per day? Many times the answer is two or three, which is not at all conducive to either building muscle or losing fat, let alone both.

My Frustration:

Simply put, if you are not willing or able to eat a minimum of five small meals daily, you will not build muscle or lose fat, no matter which supplement you use. Quite regularly, I am forced to actually argue with a customer who is unhappy with the advice being given. It seems people want an easy solution, a pill, or a drink that will get the job done and it simply doesn’t work this way. I have listened to people go on endlessly about how desperately they want to get in shape and then had them argue with me over the fact that they don’t have time to eat five meals per day. Well, make time! I have had people tell me that they will not stop drinking beer, that they will not eat protein with each meal and that they cannot limit their serving sizes of pasta. I am left to wonder why one would ask me for advice only to argue with me about it. Perhaps I look like someone with a lot of free time. I always end up saying, “look, either you want it or you don’t”. Getting in shape requires effort and sacrifice, not pills and bottles. You should not even ask for advice or attempt to buy anything until you accept the fact that you must eat properly to make gains.

The Right Eating Habits:

Now that I’ve gotten my venting out of the way and if I haven’t offended you, let us talk about how to eat to look good on the beach. First off, as mentioned before, you absolutely, positively, must eat no less than five small meals per day. There are several different dieting methods I have used with success but they all have that one thing in common; frequent, small meals centering around a protein source such as chicken, turkey, fish, lean beef or dairy products. Some diets allow limited amounts of carbohydrates, while others allow none but do allow lots of fat.

What I’m referring to here is a basic, get in shape diet without any carbohydrate manipulation or trickery. It does, however, require structure.


The Reasoning Behind Frequent Meals
:

The more meals you eat, the faster the metabolism speeds up. Once your body becomes used to being fed regularly, it will make an extra effort to burn off calories more efficiently because it will know it is being fed again soon. To build muscle, the muscles need a constant supply of protein, vitamins and nutrients. The only way to give the muscles what they need to repair, recover and grow is by eating frequent, protein filled meals.

Many people practically starve themselves when dieting by eating one or two meals per day. This is the absolute worst dieting practice I have ever seen. Sure, these folks lose weight, but they end up bringing their metabolisms to a halt and all the weight comes back. The body is very smart. It senses that it will not be fed often and therefore reacts by slowing the metabolism and storing everything as fat.

What Is Considered a “Meal”?

When I refer to a “meal” it does not have to be a sit down gourmet. A meal can be a quick can of tuna and crackers, or a protein bar or shake. Those who say they don’t have time for added meals are simply not making an effort. These meals can take as little as five minutes.

How Many Calories?

These meals do have their limits and the total calories allowed per meal will vary from person to person. If the main focus is on muscle gain, these meals will be a bit larger with more carbohydrates and fat. If the focus were fat loss, the meals would be smaller with fewer carbohydrates and less fat. The protein amounts always remain high, somewhere between 25-50 grams per sitting. One’s current bodyweight and body fat percentage will also come into play when determining the total amount of calories to eat per meal. Yes, you must count and be aware of the amounts of calories, protein grams, carbohydrate and fats you are consuming daily. Writing it down in a log makes things much easier and allows for quicker and easier troubleshooting should your results stall.

Conclusion:

Whether attempting to lose fat, add muscle or both, there is only one way to do it properly and this centers on the eating of frequent meals. Sure, other methods will cause weight loss, but they will only offer a band aid type effect. Simply put, you are either willing to make the sacrifices required to get in shape the right way or you aren’t. There is no in between and diet pills and crash diets are only temporary solutions. Things do not come as easy as taking a pill. You must be willing to eat properly and eat often. Save yourself a lot of wasted time and frustration by doing it right or not doing it at all.

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