I've been touting this message for a long time now, and I think the popularisation of certain dietary methodologies in the online fitness community are at least starting to provide some enlightenment and reprieve for many old adages that have plagued (yes, plagued) individuals with nothing but misinformation and ludicrous standards to adhere to. The fact is, you're probably like any other individual who works hard in the modern world: limited in the time you can dedicate to being successful at this game, and no matter how dedicated you are, it's not really cool to sacrifice so much if you aren't enjoying getting into good physical condition and improving your performance, hence this article.
The reason so many fail is for the reason I just alluded: enjoyment. To be successful at something, you have to have some intrinsic psychology that will keep you mentally focused. Since getting in good physical condition can be a long-winded process that requires patience to see the results, it comes as no surprise to me that so many individuals get frustrated and give up quickly. You may argue that fitness simply isn’t cut out for these individuals and it’s actually a good thing that they’re swept aside as dedication and discipline clearly aren’t in their vocabulary. I beg to differ, however: a lot of these individuals are simply busy people who may have other important priorities that have to take precedence over eating 6-7 times per day and hammering themselves relentlessly in the gym.
I digress – let’s get back to the point of this article, shall we? What’s this revolutionary, innovative way of stopping you get fat every time you finally manage to get to a lean condition, only to balloon back up again and undo the hard work?
It’s certainly one of the most prevalent topics I ramble on about, and we’re back at it again. You guess it: I’m talking about the concept of meal frequency.
It’s a Myth that eating more frequently enhances your metabolic rate
This is quite simply a lie. It’s nothing but unsubstantiated, prescribed garbage that you must eat several times per day frequently to keep your metabolism revved up to lose fat, stay lean and also enhance protein synthesis to build muscle most effectively. Don’t believe me? Here are a few people that eat 2-3 times per day and often go 16 hours without food:
Granted, this doesn’t exactly dispel the myth, but the following scientific evidence will do: http://www.leangains.com/2010/10/top-ten-fasting-myths-debunked.html
Just read the first myth in that great article, and it'll be evident on how it's one of the largest misconstrued pieces of information ever presented to the fitness world.
Why did you just present that to me?
Isn’t it obvious? Having to follow such a disciplined, implausible way of eating for a ton of us is often the reason we can ridiculously frustrated and many people fail. If you could condense your macronutrient intake and basic caloric needs down into a lower meal frequency, you could save twice as much time planning Tupperware meals, and also enhance other aspects of your life which should be equally as important as being fit – I’m talking social aspects, family, education, etc. Imagine if you could invest some of the time you spend agonising over meals into something that will benefit you as an individual and enhance your life quality, while simultaneously achieving your fitness goals. You’d be a lot happier, right?
I'd like to think that my alternative is simple, easy to adhere to, and flexible for busy individuals who cannot follow the commonly prescribed 6 meals per day dogma that's rolled out. I am not necessarily critical of this way of eating (I have my own theories on what is optimal for muscle growth and exercise in general), I just do not like the way it's said to be obligatory otherwise your results will be subpar. That, and the fact that the main reason people suggest doing it (for a greater thermic effect - fat loss), is simply not true.
So, what you really need to do, is to find out how many macronutrients you need to consume, and then choose which times during each day are optimal and fitting for you to eat during. You don't need any complex guidelines - a relatively general consensus of how many calories you need daily and the sort of quantity of foods you can eat within those meals, are the only principles you need to follow.
My only real suggestion is that you try and consume a larger portion of your daily calories in the post-workout period, where you're arguably more primed for some anabolic action and more required from a recovery perspective.
That's it! Simply choose how many meals you want to eat, and then fit the calories into those meals.
Agree or disagree with my views? I want to hear your thoughts, so post them on the forum here.