by Tony Gjokaj December 06, 2020 4 min read
Recently, I had a debate with one of my friends in that eating all of your protein in one sitting is ok, because you're getting all of your protein in.
Now while it potentially is, I'd argue it is inefficient for your goals (if you consistently exercise).
On the other hand, you don't necessarily need six meals a day to "stoke the metabolic fires" or whatever the lingo is today. I used to live like this, and food serving sizes were miserable.
In addition to that, I prefer to eat freshly cooked foods a little more than meal prepped foods over the course of the week... but that's just me.
So how many meals a day should one have? In this article, we are going to explore that.
The TLDR version: ultimately it depends.
To an extent, it could be a matter of personal preference. However, we should consider factors like training style, diet goals, muscle protein synthesis (MPS) and more.
While the number of meals can matter due to personal preference, we should always take muscle protein synthesis (MPS) into account as well.
Some may argue that MPS only matters after a workout session, however that is not the full picture. According to one study, protein synthesis rates are increased over 25% in a 24 hour period if you space your meals throughout the day (compared to eating most of it in one meal).
On the other hand, a larger protein intake post workout does not necessarily equate to better protein synthesis if it's spread out. HOWEVER, a small amount of insulin through forms of carbohydrates post-workout does assist with protein synthesis.
Lastly, recall that insulin does resist protein breakdown, so it might potentially be beneficial to eat protein and carbs post-workout.
Your body does not transform linearly - it is constantly breaking down and rebuilding.
Consider spacing your protein out throughout the day, and consider prioritizing your post-workout meal to be one of your bigger meals.
Another thing we should consider for how many meals we should eat throughout the day is our training style.
For example, you might want to eat more meals if you train two times a day. For example, on some days, I might do a weight training session in the morning and a martial arts session in the evening. This means I will consider two "pre-workout" meals. On these days, I sometimes have about 5 or 6 meals total.
Let's explore why pre-workout meals can benefit you.
One important factor we should consider is having a pre-workout meal 1-4 hours before exercise.
There's plenty of evidence showing that consuming pre-workout meals that include carbohydrates improve performance in the gym. This is because of the fact that glycogen is your body's preferred energy source when it comes to exercise.
Not only do carbohydrates benefit you, but eating protein in before your workout has its merits as well - especially if you train first thing in the morning according to some studies.
Finally, your diet can shape how many meals a day you should eat.
Depending on whether you're building size or dieting, sometimes it's more beneficial strategizing your meals.
For example, while dieting, people will either spread more meals throughout the day or utilize Intermittent Fasting in order to eat bigger in the evening.
This is all a matter of personal preference.
I prefer to "Intermittent Fast" (skip breakfast) when I am dieting, as I tend to eat huge in the evening.
I don't do this when I'm eating food to gain size due to fullness and discomfort.
As you can see here, a lot of these choices are a combination of the following: science and adherence.
Can you stick to your diet having six meals a day, or does it stress you out?
Can you Intermittent Fast and not have a blowout meal where you binge in the evening?
A lot of it is trial and error, & experience.
Now that we have these to consider, let's dive into some interesting examples of meal plans I have utilized over the years:
There are hundreds of variations in between.
Ultimately, I follow Flexible Dieting, which considers calorie intake and caloric expenditure for performance (whether it is gaining size or fat loss).
And there you have it: the opportunity to choose how many meals a day can potentially be yours to choose.
Obviously it's important to consult a doctor or physician if you deal with any challenges (like diabetes, cardiac problems, or thyroid issues) for the best option for you.
Remember: it's important to find what is best and the most healthiest option for you - however, this does not mean you can't be successful in your fitness journey. You might just need to improvise.
Any questions or comments? Feel free to message us on here, social media, or email me at email@example.com.
Until next time, Reforged Legion!
Tony is the Owner of Reforged Performance Nutrition. He is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and has been in the fitness space for over a decade. His goal is to help bridge the gap between physical & mental health through fitness.
by Tony Gjokaj March 31, 2021 3 min read
What is the difference between Impulse and Catalyst?
We get this asked every once in a while to new members of the Reforged Legion.
So in this post, I wanted to talk about the differences between these two products: who they are for, what they're made for, and what scenarios you can use them in.
by Tony Gjokaj March 24, 2021 2 min read
Two new products incoming!
Introducing our Recovery Line!
by Tony Gjokaj March 20, 2021 3 min read
I’ve had clients in the past tell me they wanted to lose an “x” amount of pounds in one month.
Why the one month?
“I just want it done quickly.”
This is understandable... I have been there. But I've always had bad experiences and problems with fitness goals like this.
They’re always outcome-based. High expectations with a probability that they might not be achieved or accomplished.
Things like “I need to drop 15lbs for my wedding in 2 weeks” are always things that people desire for just a specific moment in their life.
This is one of the reasons why I believe people fail.
We expect so much with our goals, but we don't have systems or processes to get to them.
We need to go beyond this with the formulation with the acceptance of a lifestyle change… and of what I like to call Badass Goals.
Rise to a greater potential.
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