How many times a day do you think you need to eat to reach your goals?
When I first qualified as a trainer we were educated that eating little and often was best for achieving your goals.
For fat loss it helped “speed up” the metabolism
For muscle gain it helped to keep protein synthesis high and fuel the gains…
Whilst the” little and often” movement has decreased somewhat, I still hear people talking about meal about meal frequency as a factor for improved health and fitness.
It’s incredibly common for people to promote eating 5-6 times per day.
This way of eating can be effective but the logistics of it can be a challenge.
I remember working on a film that hired a nutritionist for one of the cast, they created a meal plan with 6 meals a day, each with a different carb source.
Q- Who has time to cook quinoa, brown rice, oats and sweet potato all for one day of meals?
A- Not me
So, let’s look at the facts…
The fact is, not many studies have been carried out to investigate exactly when and how often you should eat. A recent study published in a nutrition journal in 2015 looked at all the studies they could find that investigated the effect of regular meals compared to grazing. They found 25 in total, and analyzed all the results.
They concluded that eating frequency alone has no effect at all on weight, health and fitness.
What matters is how much you eat in total, and what you eat.
Now let’s look at the reality
To achieve your goals you likely need to train, your training should be designed for you and your goals
BUT, you will likely only achieve your goals if your nutrition is correct.
This means calories correct for your level of activity and goals as well as an appropriate macro split.
To be successful you need to hit your daily calories consistently and the easiest way of doing this is by making your way of eating
· Not horribly time consuming
When people enquire about coaching with me I often get asked about the logistics of meals, and how this could be a real problem for them. For a lot of people, the thought of eating 6+ times a day can make starting a no go.
I completely understand this.
If I thought I had to prep and eat this many meals a day I would know it couldn’t be sustainable for me.
That’s why for the majority of people I work with (and myself) we go with 3 meals a day and a snack.
Simple, easy to stay on top of and with the correct calories, highly effective.
If you like eating throughout the day, go for it. If you like eating a few big meals, that’s fine too. Just do what works for you (but get your calories right).