The fourth of our bodybuilding nutrition principles encourages you to eat frequent meals. If your aim is to achieve a superb shape and obtain maximum performance, then you should forgo the usual three square meals a day approach to your diet. Athletes, including bodybuilders and strength trainers, need to fuel themselves throughout the day and that means frequent small meals and snacks every two or three hours.
There are numerous studies which have been carried out into the benefits of eating small, frequent meals and snacks. It has been shown that thermogenesis, the production of heat by the body as it digests and absorbs food, increases by eating multiple meals a day – four or more. During the process of thermogenesis, metabolism steps up and your body will process nutrients more efficiently. Eating more frequent meals will also serve to improve fat burning, improve the body’s use of protein, preserve lean muscle and reduce the appetite. A further advantage of eating multiple meals is in mental performance. By eating regular, timed meals they will help you to think and process information more effectively, and will aid in increasing your attention span and help to boost your mood.
The questions therefore to ask yourself are what should you eat and when is the best time to eat it? The best advice is to time your meals around your workout routine. It has been proven that exercise and food intake work in concert to build lean muscle, and this is what you as an athlete and bodybuilder are aiming for.