It may seem like the ultimate oxymoron, but eating more often will help you lose weight-and gain more muscle! Ideally, you would consume 5-8 meals and/or snacks per day, at intervals of two to four hours.
Eating more often will result in a higher rate of metabolism, give your body the benefit of a constant intake of necessary proteins, and therefore increase the body’s natural ability to burn fat. It will also give you much more energy throughout the day.
However, like any offer that seems to be too good to be true, there is the proverbial fine print: the meals would be smaller (obviously); and there are some guidelines that must be carefully observed.
Each meal (and snack) would need to include a source of high-quality proteins. Unlike carbohydrates and fat, protein does not have a storage site in the body. This is why a constant intake of proteins is essential to keeping it in the prime muscle-building and fat-burning zones.
You’ve probably heard of the “survival mode.” This is a self-protection mechanism where fat is stored with greater-than-normal efficiency because there is no food intake; and the body, sensing that extra fat will give it the greatest chance of survival, will do what it can to add more. It will also slow down your metabolic rate because your muscles, which are your metabolism, are not getting the proper nourishment. Not only will your body store more fat (and do a better job of it), it will also commence consuming muscle tissue as an additional means of survival. This occurs as soon as 3-4 hours without eating. So although your brain may not tell you you’re hungry, it will tell your metabolism that it’s starving-and to act on it.
Eating and Working Out
It is essential to every exercise program that you eat properly, and eat timely. If not, performance will suffer and your ability to reduce fat will be diminished.
Every workout should begin with a meal. Think of it as Popeye’s spinach: it will give you the strength, energy, and intensity you need to tear through your resistance (“Bluto”) and cardio (“Brutus”)!
Many people tend to skip a pre-workout meal before their early morning session, but this is a big mistake. They probably haven’t consumed any food (much less the necessary proteins) since the previous day’s supper, which means that their bodies haven’t been fueled for 8-12 hours. Have some yogurt with seeds or nuts, a big bowl of cereal (not Froot Loops, et al), meal replacements (e.g., Prograde Lean), oatmeal with whey protein, or a couple of hard-boiled eggs with a side of fruit. There are many options.
Just following these two simple techniques with eating frequent meals and including protein, it will result in tangible results in your body shape and size.