Meal timing - why it matters
Bodybuilder’s in the 70s and 80s LOVED eating every two hours to “keep their metabolism on”. Not really a dumb idea, I mean it makes sense that there would likely be a benefit to doing that - and it turns out there are some benefits to this way of eating but it has more to do with spiking protein (particularly Leucine) levels in the blood stream through the day as a way to optimise muscle growth, rather than “keeping your metabolism on”. Coaches who take a “calculator approach” to fitness (ie just using your body weight + sex + activity level + age to spit out what Macro’s you should be on) LOVE to say meal timing doesn’t matter at all - and they would be wrong.
TO BE HONEST - it matters a lot less than people think. Especially for beginners (in which case it matters hardly at all). BUT for anyone who’s starting to get into the more advanced stages of training Meal Timing can make a big difference. Here’s what to keep in mind:
20gm-40gm of protein every two hours from a COMPLETE SOURCE (Meat / eggs / whey) can be a good idea as a protein-pacing, anti-catabolic pro-anabolic strategy. It also helps get high amounts of protein in - if you’re an advanced guy using Anabolic’s your protein intake might be sitting around 350gm - 450gm per day, how are you gonna get that in with just three meals?
Don’t starve yourself at the end of the day! The old ‘no carbs after 6pm’ thing is over, quit it. Putting a chunk of your carbs in at night might help you sleep better (ESSENTIAL for muscle gain) and may even improve metabolic flexibility (at least through a fat loss phase). This applies to advanced trainee’s. If you are way overweight and need to lose fat this is not giving you permission to add carbs at night which you don’t need.
Stimulating / ergogenic supplements go BEFORE WORKOUTS. Quick carbs and proteins go STRAIGHT AFTER WORKOUTS. Antioxidants don’t come in ANYWHERE NEAR workouts. General health supplements come in MORNING OR NIGHT TIME when you are in the most relaxed state ready to digest them properly - not around workouts when blood flow to the gut is limited
Remember there are aspects to meal timing which effect quality of life - not just the numbers on the scale. We might know giving you a solid hit of fats in the morning will keep energy levels stable for you through the day, keeping certain nutrients separated will avoid bloating / gut distress, giving you a hit of carbs at night will help you sleep. Now from a poindexter ‘Calculator Coach’ perspective these things might not ‘make a difference’ because fat loss and muscle gain may be similar at the end of a period wether you do these things or not. But if you FEEL BETTER and LIFE DOESN’T SUCK then we say this stuff matters. .
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