T Nation

Meal frequency?


was just wondering what you guys thought about and/or how you ate your meals.

how large of a difference is there between:

3, 2000 calorie meals

6, 1000 calorie meals

or anything in between (say 5 1200 cal meals or 4 1500 cal meals, etc etc)? does it matter? benefits? negatives? positives?

any comments/thoughts on your experiences or knowledge are welcome.


You may be better off posting that in the nutrition sub-forum, then hope that Modok sees it and comments.

Apart from the science, I'd seriously suggest considering how practical various strategies are for you.

-Some guys (like me) aren't naturally big eaters and can't stomach huge meals... So we eat more often.
-Some guys get too tired from big meals...
-Others don't feel well eating as often as 5-6+ times a day (i.e. 3 meals + 3 shakes or whatever).
-Some need a certain meal frequency or else they get something that feels like Heartburn (I forgot the explanation once again...)...
-Some prefer fasting throughout a part of the day (I haven't seen that used successfully for going from tiny to huge/getting strong yet, but it seems to work great for dieting down or for people who don't want to prep meals in advance to cut down on prep time for high meal frequency diets or whatever).

Imo just do what fits you best, and what you can actually stick to successfully... You can get big and strong eating 3 times a day (if you can eat enough that way) and you can get big and strong eating 5-6 times.
You can lose weight both ways, too.


I'll say this...to get really big requires consistent "over-eating" even if it is to a small degree. This will become a hassle at some point. Any guy who got huge will tell you that. It is WAY easier to spread that caloric load over several meals than 2 or 3.

The problem here is most of you mix advice for bodybuilders with advice for people looking to tone.

If your goal is "a little more muscle and some fat loss", you are probably NOT bodybuilding. That would mean the advice from guys like me is NOT intended for you.

Someone like that will NEVER have to eat 6 meals a day.

the guy looking to walk around with arms over 18" more than likely will need to spread things out more.


Would 'eat when hungry until full' suffice?


I think like CC said it comes down to what works for you and your current goals. For me i always need to eat larger meals because i am not satisfied eating small meals. 1000cals will barely make me full and normally i am hungry soon after. So for cutting IF works for me. For bulkin i can do it on 4 meals and get in 4000+ cals in those 4 meals no problem.

Someone with less apetite couldnt do that and would have to change it. MODOk has been talking about these thign recently so maybe he will chime in hear again wiht info on hormones and what not i would be interested in hearing his thoughts in that regard.


If you're lucky enough to get in the right amount needed for your current goals that way, sure...


i get ya, eating when not hungry is the key!


I eat until i sweat, lol.

Just do what's most practical in your situation.


I agree 100% with CC... I've done the 7 meals (6 food, 1 shake) a day, I've done the IF (nothing until Dinner), and now I'm somewhere in the middle (breakfast, lunch, WO stuff, dinner, and pre-bed).

Like Prof said, if you are aiming for a LOT of calories, most simply can't eat 6000 calories in a meal (or more), and make it anywhere close to clean / healthy options.

But if your daily needs are more like 3000k total, you could probably get that in a decent sized dinner and pre-bed meal.

Find what works for your schedule and your body, and just manipulate it from there...


That's not what I meant though.


LOL. If I ate "until full" and/or ate when I "wasn't hungry" I would end up being a 500-pound blob in a matter of weeks.

I may be incorrect, but I think CC was insinuating that it's not likely that eating until full is a viable option for the majority of people.


Slowly backs out of thread....


hey i remember you said your PMs arent working a while ago, is that still the case?


I can eat forever, I like big meals, low frequency.


Likewise, if I only ate when hungry, I would still be around 150lbs like I was in high school.

No, I had to spend quite a bit of time eating when NOT hungry to pull that off.


Yeah im in the same boat, i wouldnt get anywhere if i ate when i was hungry, it doesnt happen all that often in my case.

as far as meal frequency goes, when gaining i usually just eat when i can handle eating more and not throw up which is every few hours. I think i might start spacing it out more though and cutting down the size of my meals. At the end of the day x amount of calories ingested is still x amount of calories ingested and your body will go from there, for the good or the bad or the mediocre in terms of results


Thanks for all the responses, guys.

@C_C: I definitely understand what you're saying. I've only been lifting seriously for 3 months now so I'm still discovering what my body responds to best in terms of eating and calories in/out. I've been trying to stay between 6-7k cals/day, though (i'm 6' 9", 215 and naturally lean... sucks putting on weight haha.) I have a large stomache (imo), so eating 3 meals a day shouldn't be a problem for me. For meal 2 today I ate 1.5 pepperoni pizzas and a plate of lettuce, lol. Then an hour later I had a double cheeseburger... and now I'm going to go eat 2 more double cheeseburgers and a few slices of pizza...

@PX: I'm certainly not trying to stay "toned" but I'm not trying to be a bodybuilder either. I asked here because bodybuilders seem to have nutrition down to a science in both bulking/maintenance/cutting phases. My goals lie more in the realm of performance training if anything and I'm not worried about putting on fat; I'm actually scared that I won't put on fat.

@Marzouk: lol

@ryan: Yeah. I just need to get more familiar with my body and its needs.

@K-Man: ROFL

@DWN: Indeed, sir.

@a_b: What's your body habitus like? How did you arrive at that conclusion? I only ask because it seems to be working for you.

@Blackaggar: That's what I'm beginning to lean towards.

i appreciate the input. going to try experimenting with a few of C_C's ideas and see how my body responds.


I prefer when I'm dieting.. Forcefeeding sucks


ill be needing 7k cals soon im not looking forward to it


I can see you like the spills.