2: Eat frequently
Lately there are some experts who claim that eating more infrequently, such as waiting five or six hours to your next meal, may be better than eating every two to three hours. This is all based on the fact that when you wait longer between meals, it spikes protein synthesis higher. That’s fine and dandy, but when you go longer between meals, you also increase muscle breakdown. And that may actually be the more critical factor in muscle growth. Sure, muscle protein synthesis is very important, but if it’s just playing catch up after the muscle has gone through protein breakdown, then it sort of just evens out and you haven’t actually accrued any muscle mass.
Come experts tend to complicate things more than they need to. We’re all for making our recommendations better by using the current science, but only if that current science crosses over and shows real results in the gym. Decades of experience shows bodybuilders who eat more frequent meals build more muscle. In fact, data on thousands and thousands of real men and women shows this to be the case. And a recent study helps to confirm this. The study showed that consuming a smaller dose of whey protein every three hours led to better net protein balance (muscle protein synthesis minus muscle protein breakdown) than a larger dose of whey every six hours.
This is it is recommended to eat about six meals on rest days and about eight meals on workout days. That equates to eating meals about every two to three hours. It works! If you are having a pre-workout meal right before the workout and a post-workout meal after and the workout lasts only 60 to 90 minutes, then that’s one time when you are eating even sooner than the two- to three-hour window. And same with the meal that follows your post-workout meal. It is recommended getting in a whole-food meal about an hour after your post-workout protein shake.