In the weightlifting community, the belief is that the most effective way to speed up your metabolism and muscle growth is to eat more often. So much so that many feel that they have to eat several meals per day for muscle growth otherwise they are wasting time.
The right amount of meals per day for muscle growth
Research shows that some of the most important meals that you eat during the day are your pre and post workout meal or protein shake. During these periods of time the body needs the nutrients to fuel before you hit your workout and replenish afterwards. It is without a doubt in your best interest to pay attention to consuming calories during these times. So if you are trying to gain muscle mass it is generally advised that you change your eating routine to smaller meals every 2 to 3 hours.
3 meals a day or 6 mini meals per day?
Now if you still eat every 6 hours and not every 2 hours you don’t have to worry about your metabolism coming to a stop or sacrificing any muscle mass. However, if you do switch to eating smaller meals more frequently it enables you to stay full longer and run the risk of overeating during any particular meal.
Make a plan
You should always plan your meals per day ahead of time so that you already have your calories per day and per meal established. If you have a meal plan then you won’t have to worry about binging and splurging on temptation foods. Another great benefit of a meal plan is it will stabilize your blood sugar as the body is in a routine of receiving nutrients on a regular basis and avoids the lows and spikes that can occur when the body goes from being hungry to being full.
The dedication and commitment it takes to eat right can be stressful if you are really determined to meet your muscle gain goals. If you allow yourself to get stressed over your eating plan it can make your cortisol levels increase which in turn negatively affect your muscle gain by altering your bodies fat store responses.
Keep stress at bay and achieve your goals
Excess cortisol has catabolic tendencies that encourage your body to store excess fat generally in the abdominal area and makes your muscle retention more difficult. So planning ahead of time can pay dividends in alleviating stress. If you still find yourself stressed in anticipation of a frequent eating schedule make an effort to apply some stress relieving tactics like listening to music, meditation, or whatever works to keep you in a healthy mental state and get you back focused on achieving your goals.