I'm 38 years old and have been lifting weights consistently for 25 years. Along the way, I've experimented with a seemingly infinite variety of training and nutrition philosophies.
What I am about to say may seem like heresy to some, and let me also say that I realize that my own experiences and opinions are of course no more or no less valid than anyone else. This is just based on my own personal experiences, distilled from years of my own trial and error, research, finding out what works and what doesn't, etc- just for my own life and my own body.
So, here goes. I think that the generic frequent feeding system of eating, ie the deal where one eats every 2 to 4 hours, x grams of protein and with or without healthy carbs and fats, etc, in order to "prevent starvation mode," etc, etc- is pretty much nonsense.
Second disclaimer- I'm not about to claim that frequent feeding CANNOT be effective for some- because it can, and I have done it myself and made gains in strength and size. My main problems with it are that I don't think it is really that natural from a biological, evolutionary standpoint, and also that it can be a a big effin pain from a day-to-day standpoint. Tupperware, anyone?
Here's my thing. Homo sapiens has been around for around 150 to 200,000 years. We were hunter-gatherers until rudimentary farming came about some 10,000 years ago. McCormick's reaper was circa mid 19th century, modern farming didn't come about till even later after that. Electric fridges came about in the 1920's. If you consider the entire length of time our species has been around and liken it to a 24 hour day, we have been doing basic farming for around an hour or so, "modern" farming for only one minute or two, and have used fridges for 45 seconds.
Something tells me that we're not exactly designed to wake up and immediately have 6 eggs, turkey bacon, a whey shake, and whole wheat toast. Then two hours later have a spinach salad with 4 ounces of chicken breast, ad nauseum. Instead, I think we were made to maybe wake up and have to gather and hunt- basically, work- for our food. In modern terms, this maybe means waking up and have a coffee or tea and drinking some water, then exercising. Eat a simple orange. Have a handful of almonds a little later. Have an egg or two still later. Eat a couple carrots and keep drinking water. Lift weights or do whatever it is you do. At night, have the "kill"- red meat, fish, or chicken, massive salad, avocado, oats, breads, fruit with honey, or whatever whole foods are on hand.
I don't think eating 5, 6, 7 complete meals a day is what "nature" has set us up to do. It seems pretty unnatural to me as of late, actually. I've been doing a form of the "caveman" or "warrior" diet type of deal the last few years, sort of like I described above, and feel SO much healthier and better, plus a ton leaner and more energetic as well. It's a simple thing- I'll eat fruits, nuts, veggies, and maybe just a hint of protein lightly throughout the day, and eat a big substantial meal at night with meats, grains, veggies, the works. Granted, I'm not as big and strong as when I did the frequent feeding deal- but I also don't have gas 24 hours a day and have to go through all the bs that goes along with frequent feeding.
I'm not trying to plug anything- I know it might sound like I am- instead I'm just trying to help out and soothe certain people that may be under the delusion that all hell is gonna break loose if they don't frequent feed. This coming from a guy who has done his time with frequent feeding slave thing and the "big" weights in the gym (at least for me, they were haha). I'm relatively small-boned and never got incredibly strong- 305 was my best bench (fell short of the 3 wheels per side, damn it, and since my shoulders are trashed form years of pushing straight bars, I'll never get there, cuz I am never touching straight bars again, but oh well, I digress), got that 305 at two different points after doing powerlifting strength cycles, but I usually stayed around 285 max bench and 225 for around 8 give or take, I max deadlifted 450, squatted 345 ATG and 235 10X10 ATG with strict 2 min rest between sets- pretty mediocre really- esp since I usually weighed around 190 to 200 when I was at that strength level, with prob around 15% bodyfat or so. My genetics sucked for getting enormously big, truth be known. I'm actually more genetically set up to weight the buck 65 I weigh now with a leaner 8 percent bodyfat give or take.
For all those out there who hate frequent feeding, my advice is just to quit doing it, it's not worth it. You're not gonna starve if you don't have 30 grams of protein upon waking. Enjoy life. Grab a piece of fruit and head to work. Don't be a slave to the schedule. Eat good at night. Eat and train within your own confines. Sure, you may lose out in some ways, but you'll also gain tremendously in several other ways.