Many bodybuilders unnecessarily start to eat protein every 2-3 hours on a daily basis, believing that it will help them get bigger muscles in a fast manner. However, this claim has not been proved quite true for many people in practice. On the other hand, it’s possible to grow muscles even after not eating too often. Of course, you need to pay attention to the quality of what you’re eating. There are other strategies to follow and this article presents you all these to make you successful in muscle building efforts.
In what frequency should you eat for optimal muscle growth?
So many people in the muscle building industry believed that eating frequently could improve muscle growth. They thought that your body gets food before it went into starvation. Their idea was that without frequent supply of protein muscles start to lose energy and strength while the cells break down. This is why they thought taking protein at short intervals would help them compensate the loss during workouts.
Although this concept was a popular one among the bodybuilding circle, little evidence was found to follow it. In fact, studies show that number of meals in a day does not have effects on muscle building process. The fact is if you have the right food every day, you will have positive effects on your body and muscles. It is not necessary repeat the eating quite frequently but quality matters.
However, it does not mean that you should only eat three times a day. Your lifestyle and calorie needs may dictate how many times you should eat a day. You may have your own preferences. It may happen that you like to eat smaller meals and so you have to eat frequently at 2-3 hours interval. When you have a larger appetite, you can do with fewer numbers of meals. Eating three times a day can be enough for such a person. So you need to assess your own situation.
Create your personalized eating strategy for muscle growth
It is necessary to eat the right amount of quality foods you need to supply your body with calories and nutrients. This should match your lifestyle while your liking and disliking may also be included. The following are some steps you can follow.
Know your BMR: BMR stands for basal metabolic rate and you need to know your BMR to plan your calorie intake. You can calculate it using BMR calculators available online. This will help you decide if you need extra calories to build muscles.
Calculate other aspects: By calculating BMR you come to know how many calories you need. Then you have to divide the calories among protein, carbohydrates and fats. Protein will as the building block of your muscles during the bodybuilding program and so 40% to 60% of daily calories may come from protein. Carbohydrates give you energy for the workouts and you need to accommodate 20% to 30% of daily calories from carbs. Healthy fats help your muscle cells recover fast during and after the workouts and you need to get 20% t o30% calories from fats. Now you can calculate everything in terms of gram. For example, your BMR can be 2000 calories. So you will need 200-300g of protein, 100-150g of carbohydrates and 44-67g healthy fats to provide 800-1200 calories, 400-600 calories and again another 400-600 calories from protein, carbohydrates and fats respectively.
Depend on quality foods: When you know how many calories, carbohydrates, fats and protein you need, it’s easy to sort everything out. Your job is to find out the quality food sources. You can get carbs from fruits and vegetables while these foods will give you other nutrients. Dairy products, nuts, seeds, fish and oil can also give you healthy fats.
Find your own eating style: Though the number of times you eat does not have much effect on your muscle gain, you need to decide on it according to your lifestyle. So you have to experiment and find out how many times you should eat in a day. Use of quality foods can help you organize your meals easily.
Fine tune your calories: At this final stage you need to monitor if the amount of calories you’re taking is having positive effect on your muscle growth. You can do the checking every two weeks. If you find your calorie intake is working well but you’re getting extra body fat, then you can reduce the calorie intake by 200. On the other hand, if you don’t find much improvement in muscle building, you may need to add 200 calorie more. This is how you need to experiment and monitor to reach the best stage.
When you aim to grow muscles, you should put emphasis on the amount of calories and the quality of foods rather than on how frequent you’re eating. So you don’t need to rush for protein every now and then. You should analyze your lifestyle and plan your diet accordingly. You need to keep an eye on nutrition value. Moreover, your meals should not become forceful and bland. Otherwise you’ll not be successful in building muscles at the end.