This week’s blog is basically a follow on from last week’s entries on meal frequency and patterning etc.
There has been a bit of talk online over the types of eating protocols which have been the focus of the majority of articles and blog entries that I have posted. Some of the forum members (a big shout out to all on AUSBB.COM) have assumed that I am only for the 3 meals a day following an Intermitting Fasting (“IF”) style feeding and that is it. With that said, I DO NOT promote any one style of eating protocol regardless of the style that I may personally follow. I personally have gotten results following BOTH sides of the meal timing/frequency coin but it was not/is not the deciding factor in body composition results. Let me clarify this a little more.
My whole blog is about questioning and dismissing all the typical myths and broscience protocols that the health and fitness industry is based on. Meal frequency and timing is one of the biggest broscience protocols and it hits some sort of nerve with me! I guess that is because I lived by the eating style of every 3 hours/6-8 meals a day for the most part of my training career and found that it was such a hassle and a lifestyle killer, not to mention ALWAYS being hungry.
In my professional career I’ve found that most athletes, weekend warriors and general enthusiasts have the misconception that higher meal frequency is THE ONLY way to eat and the amount of meals and/or timing is critical to results. That myth was/is based on total nonsense assumptions and unfounded claims on metabolic/hormonal benefits, generally promoted by either the supplement companies or misinterpreted studies by uneducated ‘coaches’ or bodybuilding ‘gurus’.
My blog (TBER) studies, articles and reviews have basically been showing the differences (or the non differences in actual fact) between 3-odd meals verses 6-odd meals or the like. I simply want to shed light on the fact that LESS meals (on the one end of the spectrum) equates to identical or better body composition and/or hormonal responses etc to MORE meals (the extreme end of the spectrum). The literature that has been published in the blog clearly shows that it does not have to be one way that is generally perceived or the highway! It is personal preference and what suits you and your daily schedule. (FYI, that is where I got the idea for the ‘stress free results’ part of the title!)
I’m hoping that all the literature published in my blogs has given you all an understanding that your body composition is determined by (other than training style) long term appropriate calorie intake, sufficient essential macronutrient (protein and fats) and micronutrient intake. Timing of meals, amounts of meals, type of foods used etc are not what works in achieving your desired body composition. It is your calorie intake etc that has determined your body composition. Food types that help you achieve your minimum macronutrient requirements and overall intake etc is what suits you. Put simply, it is your personal preference.
Seeing we are on the topic of personal preference and the fact that I receive a number of questions on my own personal ‘style’, I personally follow a form of IF, more specifically the IF protocol that Martin Berkhan has developed. I’m not going to get into it within this blog, but you can check out all the details and additional information at http://www.leangains.com/2010/04/leangains-guide.html. I follow it because it suits my current schedule and the lifestyle I want to live. I enjoy the fact that it keeps my appetite in check and that I can have a whole lot of food in very little time! I love feeling like I’m eating at a buffet. I don’t need to stop doing leisure activities due to being hungry and needing to eat. So that makes for a lot less stress etc. I currently have body composition stats of 90kgs at 8% body fat. I’ve never been this lean at this bodyweight before.
When I did follow the more frequent meal pattern, I did it because it suited my situation at the time. I had an inactive, but more importantly, un-interesting job where the only thing that was worth looking forward to in my day was eating. So to fill in my day and make time pass I would eat. Sounds like fun hey LOL. I was doing a ‘cut’ in preparation for my wedding and my body composition results by the end of it was 82.5kgs at ~4% body fat. I was in the best condition of my life and only fitting for me to match my beautiful wife.
Now there are a few things to make note of. I did NO CARDIO to get to less than 5% body fat and am still not doing any cardio to maintain my current composition. I ate Max Brenner 1-3 times per week in the ‘cut’ phase and am still eating similar amounts of chocolate and/or ice cream in this phase. I was eating and am still eating carbs at night. My overall food types/choices have been the same during both phases and all I’ve changed is to simply add a greater intake of all the food types to help with the increased calorie intake for the current phase. Overall calorie intake with the appropriate macronutrient adjustments has been the only difference during both phases.
In summing up, it is all about personal preference and what suits you. It is working because you have all your daily nutritional requirements met due to you doing whichever style of meal frequency that suits you and what your own preferred food choices are. It all should be for the right personal reasons, not broscience reasons.