Here's a question I recieved the other day:
Question: Timing of meals if you do a split routine during the same day. How does that affect Pre-workout and post workout meals?
Answer: If your aim is to build muscle and strength, the first thing you have to remember is that each and every day has to be consistent. That is, your daily intake of calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fat should always be consistent regardless if you happen to be training that day or not. Our bodies will always respond best to a consistent and steady flow of nutrients.
You see, your body will be more receptive to growth when it is being fed a steady and constant stream of nutrients, especially when your trying to build muscle and strength.
Once you start feeding your body a consistent and steady flow of nutrients, at specified times during the day, your body will respond by adapting. This is not a bad thing because really, you want your body to start adapting to the amount of nutrients your feeding it.
Your body will always try and reach a certain level of equilibrium, which is good because if your feeding your body the right amount of nutrients and at the right times during the day, it will reach this equilibrium by growing new muscle tissue. This is the only way your body will start to get stronger.
You see, muscle tissue doesnt just magically appear. Muscle tissue will always get stronger before they will start to get bigger. Your muscles will get stronger via weight training, and to compensate for this new strength, your body will slowly add more muscle tissue to your body in order to accommodate this new strength.
Of course, this is all dependant on how much nutrients your feeding your body. If your not feeding your body the correct amount of nutrients, your body will not grow - Simple as that. Take a look at the equation below:
Consistent flow of nutrients + Strength training = Muscle growth
This is a very simple way of looking at muscle growth but it does explain the basic truth of building muscle. Take away or greatly reduce nutrients or strength training and you will not get the muscle growth your looking for.
Now, getting back to timing of meals, your body will always respond better to a consistent eating schedule. This goes for training and non training days. Both days will be different, in terms of eating schedules because you will have to adjust for your weight training but remember, your body will always respond better to a consistent and steady flow of nutrients. Erratic eating schedules will always produce erratic results - its either hit or miss.
So, if your eating 3,000 calories one day, 2,000 the next, and 2,500 calories the next day, your results will follow in a similar manner. One day you may be up, the next you may be down, and the following day, you might not notice any change. You dont want this. In fact, you never want this.
Consider this, lets say you want to build muscle and you weight 160 pounds. Lets say your goal is to build muscle and strength. In order to effectively achieve this goal, your going to need anywhere from 20 to 25 calories per pound of body weight. So, lets say you really want to start growing and build some serious muscle mass, in that case, your going to need about 25 calories per pound of body weight. In total, your going to need roughly 4,000 calories each and every day to start adding some serious body mass.
Now, in this example, on day one, you dont weight train and you take in about 3,000 calories. The following day, you take in 2,300 calories but you do 1 hour of weight training and 20 minutes of cardio. The next day, you weight train and you take in about 2,000 calories. Whats going to happen? Remember that little equation we had up top?
Consistent flow of nutrients + Strength training = Muscle growth
Well that now turns to:
Inconsistent flow of nutrients + Strength training = No muscle growth
In fact, you're probably going to experience this:
Negative flow of nutrients + Strength training = Negative muscle growth
This means overtraining because you're lacking the proper nutrients in order to accommodate the strength gains your making from your weight training. However, without the proper nutrients, your body doesnt have the proper building material in order to start building muscle. What its going to do is start breaking down muscle tissue in order to meet your new energy requirements. This means absolutely no muscle growth, in fact, your going to start to lose muscle tissue.
Im sure some of you reading this right now have experienced this phenomenon. Your body is always sore, your always tired, your weak and tired in the gym, your joints feel sore and mentally, your barely keeping it together. What most people will do is actually try and weight train harder thinking thats the solution. Its not and what will eventually happen is injuries.
My point is that you have to keep your calorie, protein, carbohydrates, and fat intake constant each and every day, regardless if your weight training or not. You want, consistent improvements - day after day - No exceptions. Very important.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to pre and post workout nutrition. Some people will categorize these as meals and include the nutrients in their overall daily nutrient intake while others will not include them. Personally, I will always include them because I always need to know how much calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fat Im taking in on a daily basis. This way, if I make a small change to my diet, I will always know where I stand without taking any guesses.
The only way to achieve consistent improvements is with:
Alright, lets look at an example. Lets say you weight 160 pounds and you want to build muscle and strength. How would you structure your meal plan? When do you eat? How much do you eat?
Lets find out how to structure this meal plan for both, training and non training days. The first thing you need to do is find out how much calories you need in order to grow. So, at 160 pounds you will need about 4,000 calories to start gaining some serious muscle mass. We get this figure by multiplying 160 pounds of body weight with 25 calories per pound of body weight.
Now, in order to get 4,000 calories per day, you will need to eat about 6 to 7 small meals per day. I usually space them about 2 to 3 hours apart. Never go 3 plus hours without food and never skip a meal. Ill tell you this right now, your whole day will be shot including your workouts if you start skipping meals.
So, if we have 7 small meals per day, we need to take in about 570 calories for each meal (4,000 / 7).
Heres how your non training days are going to look like:
Personally, I use two protein drinks to make up two of these meals, maybe three, depending on my day. Of course, you will want to customize this sample schedule to fit your daily routine. The most important thing to remember is to make sure you stick to your daily schedule.
Heres how your training days are going to look like, assuming your train at 7:00 PM.
Also, remember to keep your pre and post workout nutrition consistent.
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- Body type;
- Activity levels
The entire program is based on a custom muscle building, fat burning plan made specifically for you. I highly recommend this program. It's actually a 9 week program to get you in the best shape of your life. Click here to check it out.
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All the best,