Ditch Your Old Meal Plan For This One

In the past, I believed the only meal plan for my physique athletes to build muscle/lose fat was to have them eat 5-7 small meals per day. Older research suggested that consuming frequent meals would speed up the metabolism, control insulin and cortisol, and manage appetite.  Almost all dietitians, nutritionists, and trainers were doing this back then because that was the only way we knew.

Now, a recent study  in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition has suggested otherwise.  Newer science has proven there are many ways to eat when it comes to meal frequency to reach these same goals.

All this being said, as long as we eat the right foods in the right amounts, meal frequency is a matter of personal preference! 

It all comes down to what best fits your schedule and how your body responds best. If you like eating 6 times a day and that works, keep doing it! If you like to only eat a couple big meals a day and fast 16-20 hours, do it!

I am a big advocate of intermittent fasting. There is great research that suggests many benefits with fasting, such as hormone control, hunger management, and fat loss. Now, I understand that intermittent fasting is not for everyone. If you want to learn more about intermittent fasting, check out the nutrition section on my blog (www.grinnelltraining.com). I have plenty of research and information regarding intermittent fasting.

If what you’re doing now, say, eating 6 times per day, and that’s not working for you, then switch it up. It’s that simple. There is no one size fits all eating method. I have clients that fast for 16 hours and then eat 3 times per day, and I have clients that eat 5 times per day and eat breakfast. I have come to the conclusion that it is all a matter of personal preference.

Whichever meal frequency you choose, keep in mind that you still need to focus on a few critical goals if you want to build fat and build muscle.

  1. Reduce nutritional deficiencies
  2. Control macronutrient breakdowns and food portions
  3. Consume at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight
  4. Proper supplementation to fill in the gaps (creatine, whey protein, fish oil, multi-vitamins, BCAAs)
  5. Pay attention to workout nutrition

 

At the end of the day, if you consume the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, fats, calories, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, meal frequency is obsolete.

Below are a few sample meal ideas based on whether you prefer working out first thing in the morning, or later on in the day. They’re simply suggestions to give you ideas about protein, fats, vegetables, carbohydrates, and portion estimates.*

Workout Days (for someone who works out in the late afternoon/evening)  

  • Breakfast: 4-8 whole eggs with 3-6 added egg whites, 1-tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil, 1 cup of peppers, mushrooms, and onions mixed in eggs.
  • Lunch: 6-12 oz. grilled chicken breast, 1-2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, large serving of greens and any other veggie, 1 apple, 1-2 ounces of almonds
  • pre-workout: 10 grams of BCAA, or
  • Post-workout: 30-60 grams of whey protein with 30-60 grams of carbohydrates
  • Dinner: 6-12 oz. of grilled wild salmon, 1-2 tablespoons of extra-virgin coconut oil or olive oil drizzled on 2 cups baked broccoli and cauliflower, 1 large sweet potato

Workout Days (for someone who works out in the morning)  

  • Breakfast: 1-2 cups organic Greek yogurt, 1-2 tablespoons almond butter, 1 cup of blueberries or strawberries
  • Post-workout: 30-60 grams of whey protein with 30-60 grams of carbohydrates
  • Lunch: 6-12 ounces of grass-fed beef, 8-20 asparagus spears, 3-8 ounces of sweet potatoes
  • Dinner: 6-12 ounces of turkey, 1-2 cups quinoa, 1-2 ounces of slivered almonds, 1-2 cups of veggies mixed in quinoa such as red peppers and green onions, ¼-1 avocado

Non-workout Days 

  • Breakfast: 30-60 grams of whey protein powder, ½-1 cup gluten-free rolled oats, 1-2 ounces of walnuts, 1 banana
  • Lunch: 6-12 ounces of grass fed burger, ¼-1 avocado, tomato, and onion, pickles all wrapped up in a lettuce wrap
  • Mid-afternoon (optional): 2 tablespoons of almond butter, OR 1 scoop BCAA, or small “super shake”
  • Dinner: 6-12 ounces of mahi-mahi, extra-virgin olive oil on large green salad, 1 cup peas

*NOTE: adjust your calories and macronutrient breakdowns depending on your individual needs.


 

 

 

 

 

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