Good morning everyone! In yesterday’s BLOG, I mentioned that I am challenged with knowing how much to eat, now that I am lifting weights again 5 days a week or more, without gaining excess body fat I want to keep losing body fat, and at the same time, I definitely want to bulk up a little bit and gain lean muscle mass. There seems to be two parts to this equation. Part one would be the amount of good nutrition I am consuming, especially proteins. Part two of this would be how often am I eating? Proper nutrition will always be the most important part, because without good nutrition, reaching my goals will be very difficult, no matter how good my workouts are. There is a quote I read that keeps me focused on this topic, that say’s simply: “you can’t out exercise a bad diet“. Keeping that in mind, I can now turn my focus onto how often I should be eating. I recently watched an interview with, arguably the greatest bodybuilder of all times, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He spoke very candidly about his meal preparation and how much he consumed on a daily basis. His regimen was to eat every two hours. Now, his thinking was that since he was burning so many calories per day, and still needed to consume enough calories to allow for extreme muscle growth, he determined that he needed to eat every two hours just to get his daily allowance of nutrition. The question for you and I then becomes, “do we need to eat every two hours”?
Honestly, this is a very hard question to answer. If you follow my BLOG’s, you know that I am a firm believer that there is no one answer for everyone. We are all very unique in how we function. What works for me, may not work for you. And that is perfectly ok. We do not have the same lifestyle and we do not have the same goals. So, naturally, we will need to approach the way we eat, differently also. If you were to Google and research the latest articles on this topic of, “how often should we be eating?“, you will find a truck-load of information. And, each research article will give you different reasons as to why their research is the most accurate out there. Some research will tell you that in order to keep your metabolism active, you need to eat a rounded meal (which means you have all three macro-nutrients; protein, carbs and fats) every 2 hours, three at the most. Other research has showed that the good ole “3 square’s a day” still works for most people. I have been drawn to the more current research which indicates that if we allow our selves to get to a point where we are hungry, our bodies and brain are in communication with each other to keep our fat burning process active while still using the nutrients form the meal to keep our bodies fueled. I have personally been using this process for a few years now, and I have to say, it works for me! I don’t get stressed out about making sure I have meals with me all day long, and I am able to plan my meals more efficiently. Now, my body seems to get hungry every 3 to 4 hours. This is so much more manageable for me. What YOU have to do is, try a plan based on your lifestyle AND goals, and see what works for YOU!
Managing your nutrition plan is probably the more time consuming part of the health change journey: at first. Because we have to monitor our daily meal plans; we have to monitor how we feel after each meal; did this meal give me the energy I needed for that particular part of the day’s activities; will this meal sustain me until my next meal; are my food choices working out for me, based on my activity schedule? This process can seem to be overwhelming. PLEASE DON’T LET IT BE! If we put into place a system that allows us to manage these things, this process will become second nature to you. I use the “Change4Life Workbook” on a daily basis. This book helps me keep track of my eating schedule, my exercise schedule, my daily goals, and also allows me to capture any and all thoughts I have about how the day is going. (If you are interested in this workbook, please contact me!) This workbook also allows me to keep myself accountable to reaching my ultimate lifestyle goals.
Life will always happen. We can’t control it. What we can control though, is how we handle what life throws at us. The more prepared we are for the curve-balls, the more efficient we will be in our daily lives. Be prepared. Do what you know you need to do, and let the sweet taste of victory, be yours!