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2 large meals vs 4-6 small meals

Zarati

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Say goal is 3k calories a day, does it matter if i get 3k cals in two meals 8 hours apart versus 4-6 smaller meals every 2 hours?
 

airman

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At the end of the day, it probably doesn't matter much. However I prefer smaller meals throughout the day. Keep up constant protein intake, easier and quicker to digest, dont't feel bloated and sluggish after a meal. But that's my preference, guys have built respectable physiques on 1 huge meal a day.
 

LATS

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For the vast majority of us it probably doesn't matter.. I know many very well built guys who eat three meals a day.. They eat until they are full .. But three a day.. I know another who has more size than the vast majority will ever get who eats two meals a day and if he thinks his protein is too low wil drink a skake before bed..

But, as we know, there is a huge chunk who eat 5 to 6 small meals a day and it works great.. But that simply doesn't fit into my work or lifestyle..
 

Elvia1023

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For the vast majority of us it probably doesn't matter.. I know many very well built guys who eat three meals a day.. They eat until they are full .. But three a day.. I know another who has more size than the vast majority will ever get who eats two meals a day and if he thinks his protein is too low wil drink a skake before bed..

But, as we know, there is a huge chunk who eat 5 to 6 small meals a day and it works great.. But that simply doesn't fit into my work or lifestyle..

x2

It doesn't really matter. I do think eating around the clock will always be optimal especially when trying to grow. Most of the guys who are eating 2 meals per day are maintaining now. I think to get the optimal amounts of protein per day to grow you need more servings. I wouldn't recommend consuming 200g protein x 2 for example. Before guys jump in I am aware you don't need a lot of protein to grow. But to grow optimally I would be having at least 50g 5 times per day which is only 250g. Even if someone ate just 2 protein with carb and/or fat meals per day but had protein only 3 other times I think it would give better results.

Nevertheless for the majority of guys out there eating more but less frequently is pretty much the same as smaller frequent meals. I would recommend 3 meals above 2 though as it gives a little more room to fit everything in effectively.
 

buck

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I wouldn't think that huge meals wouldn't digest and be assimilated as well as smaller meals. A study I saw with average people dieting showed they lost slightly less muscle with smaller meal. I would guess the same may apply to gaining muscle.
 

LATS

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x2

It doesn't really matter. I do think eating around the clock will always be optimal especially when trying to grow. Most of the guys who are eating 2 meals per day are maintaining now. I think to get the optimal amounts of protein per day to grow you need more servings. I wouldn't recommend consuming 200g protein x 2 for example. Before guys jump in I am aware you don't need a lot of protein to grow. But to grow optimally I would be having at least 50g 5 times per day which is only 250g. Even if someone ate just 2 protein with carb and/or fat meals per day but had protein only 3 other times I think it would give better results.

Nevertheless for the majority of guys out there eating more but less frequently is pretty much the same as smaller frequent meals. I would recommend 3 meals above 2 though as it gives a little more room to fit everything in effectively.

I agree.. To me three meals is best and maybe a shake before bed.. I've have rarely ever gotten 250 grams of protein a day my whole life.. I think meal timing is probably much more important than the amount of meals.. The " old school way" is take in a brutal workout and then take in a brutal meal...
My diet is crap.. Always has been .. Not gonna change.. Yesterday my meals were;
Breakfast ; 8 oz milk, 8 oz water, 1 heaping scoop milk egg whey blend, 1 scoop oats, 1 teaspoon natural peanut butter.. Blended
Mid morning ; 16 oz coffee with cream
Lunch ; subway wrap steak and cheese green peppers onion sauce, baked chips , diet coke..
Mid day ; bag of skittles lol
Before workout : metrx protein bar 12 oz water
Dinner ; homemade chicken and noodles, bowl of grapes, diet dr pepper multi vitamin extra c and d3..
Before bed ; 2 scoop milk egg whey blend and a granola bar..

That's a typical day .. I have the same breakfast essentially every day.. Lunch is wherever the whim takes me.. Many times it Qdoba where I have a naked burrito with black beans rice steak etc.. But three meals and a shake.. I don't abide by the " three hour" time frame .. Usually I eat lunch at 1 or 2 pm.. But I can't fathom trying to eat every three hours.. Mentally it would be a pain in the ass..
 

jeroendebleser

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3 Meals is best imo. I used to be a believer in the need for more frequent meals as well but it just doesn't matter.
 

thethinker48

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I'd get indigestion eating 2 meals a day and trying to hit my caloric requirement

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
 

Elvia1023

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I agree.. To me three meals is best and maybe a shake before bed.. I've have rarely ever gotten 250 grams of protein a day my whole life.. I think meal timing is probably much more important than the amount of meals.. The " old school way" is take in a brutal workout and then take in a brutal meal...
My diet is crap.. Always has been .. Not gonna change.. Yesterday my meals were;
Breakfast ; 8 oz milk, 8 oz water, 1 heaping scoop milk egg whey blend, 1 scoop oats, 1 teaspoon natural peanut butter.. Blended
Mid morning ; 16 oz coffee with cream
Lunch ; subway wrap steak and cheese green peppers onion sauce, baked chips , diet coke..
Mid day ; bag of skittles lol
Before workout : metrx protein bar 12 oz water
Dinner ; homemade chicken and noodles, bowl of grapes, diet dr pepper multi vitamin extra c and d3..
Before bed ; 2 scoop milk egg whey blend and a granola bar..

That's a typical day .. I have the same breakfast essentially every day.. Lunch is wherever the whim takes me.. Many times it Qdoba where I have a naked burrito with black beans rice steak etc.. But three meals and a shake.. I don't abide by the " three hour" time frame .. Usually I eat lunch at 1 or 2 pm.. But I can't fathom trying to eat every three hours.. Mentally it would be a pain in the ass..

I did just ate some Haribo fizzy bears and it's 2am. I will be bulking soon and following a pretty straight diet. Nothing is set in stone for me but the core meals won't change. I will be starting at something like...

1- Oats with chocolate peanut butter whey and chopped banana mixed in.
2- Beef with basmati rice or potatoes.
3- Synthepure or Whey Isolate 97 shake made with 2 apples, 1 kiwi, selection of frozen berries, oats, spinach or kale and water.
4- Beef with basmati rice or potatoes.
5- Synthepure or Whey Isolate 97 shake made with 2 apples, 1 kiwi, selection of frozen berries, oats, spinach or kale and water.
6- 6 whole eggs and maybe some nut butter.

On training days I will add an intra shake of approx 100 carbs (HCBD), 30g EAA's and various other things.

When I add to that it will be a 3rd beef rice/potatoe meal. Then possibly another egg meal or smoothie shake. I may even add in a meal I enjoy that is easy which is tuna covered in paprika covered with rice and baked beans. All these meals are very easy for me and I can cook within 5 mins so I do them all fresh.

Treats (whenever I want) will be in the form of...

Greek Yoghurt on top of muesli/granola cereal, blueberries, dates and dried blackcurrants. This is about 150g carbs.

Chinese... something like shrimp/chicken with seasonal vegetables and steamed rice (so not bad at all).
 

concreteguy

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I just can't go with you guys on this. Each and every time I'm really pushing for growth I eat at least six balanced meals a day. The carb ratio is based on the timing around training. It's always around 300grams protein per day and the carbs and fat are rounded off to my target values. If it didn't completely wake me up at night I would drink a shake during one of my trips to the head.

Three meals a day with a couple shakes between will get it done. But if I'm going to slam the gear and beat myself up in the gym Johnnies gonna pound down the meals too. Just my 2cents...…….
 

Elvia1023

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I just can't go with you guys on this. Each and every time I'm really pushing for growth I eat at least six balanced meals a day. The carb ratio is based on the timing around training. It's always around 300grams protein per day and the carbs and fat are rounded off to my target values. If it didn't completely wake me up at night I would drink a shake during one of my trips to the head.

Three meals a day with a couple shakes between will get it done. But if I'm going to slam the gear and beat myself up in the gym Johnnies gonna pound down the meals too. Just my 2cents...…….

I agree. As I stated above most guys who do this are maintaining. A lot of people also forget what got them to where they are as well. There will always be exceptions but I definitely wouldn't try to grow on 2 meals per day. Right now I am having a break and 3 meals per day is fine for me. I will be doing the above when growing and that is just the start. Although if someone wanted to have all their carbs/fats in 2 meals I don't think that is as bad. But eating protein just twice daily definitely not. I would never eat more than 100g protein per meal and I think even that is pushing it. I would much rather have 50g spreadout through the day. Your 50g 6 times per day sounds great for growing and is pretty much the same as my diet listed above (some of my meals may start a little lower and about 40g).
 

TheOtherOne55

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I just can't go with you guys on this. Each and every time I'm really pushing for growth I eat at least six balanced meals a day. The carb ratio is based on the timing around training. It's always around 300grams protein per day and the carbs and fat are rounded off to my target values. If it didn't completely wake me up at night I would drink a shake during one of my trips to the head.

Three meals a day with a couple shakes between will get it done. But if I'm going to slam the gear and beat myself up in the gym Johnnies gonna pound down the meals too. Just my 2cents...…….

Completely agree CG. I think it all depends on what your goals are during that exact time. I get it, if you are on vacation or in relaxed mode, 3 meals a day with a shake or so will totally work. But if i'm putting in WORK at the gym, 5-7 smaller meals is my go-to. I have a hard time hitting my macros (mostly protein) if I go for 3 meals as well.
 

econ mba

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Say goal is 3k calories a day, does it matter if i get 3k cals in two meals 8 hours apart versus 4-6 smaller meals every 2 hours?

are we assuming ceteris paribus--that everything else is held constant? Specifically, protein, carbs, fats are the same for A and B, and the only difference is that 3000 cals is consumed in two meals during the day for A and five to six meals a day for B?
 

Landmonster

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It does matter.

The body has no mechanism for storing dietary protein.

If you aren't getting it about every 3-4 hours, the body will begin taking it from muscles or lean tissues.
 

Wayacrucis

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I don’t think it makes a huge difference...but I do think there is something to be said about the timing of your meals
 

Tom

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It does matter.

The body has no mechanism for storing dietary protein.

If you aren't getting it about every 3-4 hours, the body will begin taking it from muscles or lean tissues.

I do two 24 hour fasts per week. There is absolutely no loss in muscle mass or lean tissue! The health benefits of fasting are well documented and very well worth it! I continue to hold strength and make gains in the gym.
 

Dog-Slime

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Doubt it makes a difference on overall growth but know that eating more meals raises the metabolism more which makes staying lean easier. Could probably eat one giant meal and get a metabolism boost from shakes the rest of the day tho...
 

Landmonster

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I do two 24 hour fasts per week. There is absolutely no loss in muscle mass or lean tissue! The health benefits of fasting are well documented and very well worth it! I continue to hold strength and make gains in the gym.

You can't say that with any certainty.... that there is "absolutely no loss" in muscle tissue.

There almost certainly is.

However, there may be health benefits from fasting.
 

Nextlevel

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Ultimately NO, what matters most is the total amount of calories per day. I do however find it easier to hit my total calories over the course of multiple meals instead of a couple or few large ones.
 

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