T Nation

The Rule: 6 Meals/Day


Your physical progress in the gym is directly related to how intimate you become with inserting things into your mouth repeatedly.

That sounded lovely, didn’t it?

In the distant past…some ancient long forgotten time around 1985, back when men wore one piece spandex to the gym and collectively said “NTTAWWT”…back when Smilax was actually being pick pocketed in GNC’s by guys who just wanted to look like Arnold…way back then, some bodybuilder woke up from a nightmare about 2,000 calorie weight gain powders and yelled, “YOU MUST EAT 6 TIMES A DAY TO GET SWOLEZ”.

This scream was heard around the world…and incidentally is what brought the Berlin Wall down.

Enough history.

Here is FACT:

Digestion refers to how the body processes food in the gastrointestinal tract and eliminates food waste through intestines.

Metabolism refers to how the cells utilize the energy we have absorbed from food during digestion.

The rate of one’s metabolism is measured in terms of calories (energy) expended over a specified period of time

The average healthy adult typically takes between 24 and 72 hours to digest food.

It takes 6 to 8 hours for food to pass through the stomach and small intestine.

The large intestine then removes residual nutrients and water.

The undigested food residue starts to exit the large intestine as waste after about 24 hours, but the complete elimination of all the food residue might take several days.

I will continue this later…

Not totally sure where this thread is headed, for or against 6 meals a day, but Nate Miyaki had an article pretty much exactly addressing this topic. “Deep Meal-Frequency Thoughts”:

Basically saying, ‘We know 5-6 meals a day works, but the basic 3 meals a day, plus workout nutrition, can work great too.’

I’ve also read about plenty of successful physique athletes (and I think a bodybuilder or two) who’ve followed very different meal plans. There was even one guy who ate one big meal a day, that was it. I’ll post a link if I find one.
My point is, I’m hesitant to believe that 6 meals a day is the only way. I think that ‘optimal’ is another story entirely, but I do believe that other methods can work just as well (if not better/worse).

So far, 3 big meals for me (breakfast/lunch/dinner) and I eat a couple of snacks if and when I’m hungry. It really doesn’t need to be complicated at all. Maybe when you get to competition dieting it matters, but other than that, I don’t think so.

I used to do the 6-8x/day thing and it just took up so much of my time, I never got anywhere.

So far, 3 big meals for me (breakfast/lunch/dinner) and I eat a couple of snacks if and when I’m hungry. It really doesn’t need to be complicated at all. Maybe when you get to competition dieting it matters, but other than that, I don’t think so.

I used to do the 6-8x/day thing and it just took up so much of my time, I never got anywhere.

Herschel Walker claims he eats one meal a day. He is not the biggest guy in the world, but he has a very visible musulature at 6 foot one and 225 lbs.

[quote]sonnyp wrote:
Herschel Walker claims he eats one meal a day. He is not the biggest guy in the world, but he has a very visible musulature at 6 foot one and 225 lbs.[/quote]

May be wrong but I think Greg Plitt claims to do the same

Depending on how much food you need vs your appetite you may need more or less that 4-5 meals. Also being able to function in life after your meals is important. Overall it’s 90% about how much of each macro you eat. From beginner to intermediate. Now advanced guys I think can benefit from more precise timing and supplements until then don’t major in the minors


The number:

One thing I have learned…is that the “6meal/day” rule helped me early on.

It was a benefit to the skinny guy with no appetite to force myself to eat by a schedule. Doing that for years kept me moving in a positive direction, however, truth be told, you learn beyond rough outlines of thought the longer you work at getting to know your own body.

What is fact is this: As a beginner, you NEED to learn how to eat regularly.

This is more important than the number of times in a day or the exact times at which they are eaten.

Your overall progress depends on consistency more than perfection.

I see where this is going. Its going to be a “memior” series for X to share his expertise where he says FACT even though it is an opinion written without propper regard to paragraph and sentence structure… interesting… like instead of Memiors of a Geisha it will be Memiors of a Permabulker…

[quote]Waittz wrote:
I see where this is going. Its going to be a “memior” series for X to share his expertise where he says FACT even though it is an opinion written without propper regard to paragraph and sentence structure… interesting… like instead of Memiors of a Geisha it will be Memiors of a Permabulker… [/quote]

Bingo lol.

[quote]Waittz wrote:
I see where this is going. Its going to be a “memior” series for X to share his expertise where he says FACT even though it is an opinion written without propper regard to paragraph and sentence structure… interesting… like instead of Memiors of a Geisha it will be Memiors of a Permabulker… [/quote]

Unless you disagree with something stated as fact, kindly shut the fuck up and go somewhere else if this is all you have to offer.


Due to differences in how fast food is absorbed, it my take one guy 2-3 hours for that last meal to move from his stomach to his intestines.

It may be another 4-6 hours until it moves through the intestines.

This means you generally do not base meal frequency on just how fast food moves through the body…because it would be a full day before that 1 meal is excreted…and days still before it is COMPLETELY out of the system.

[quote]Professor X wrote:

[quote]Waittz wrote:
I see where this is going. Its going to be a “memior” series for X to share his expertise where he says FACT even though it is an opinion written without propper regard to paragraph and sentence structure… interesting… like instead of Memiors of a Geisha it will be Memiors of a Permabulker… [/quote]

Unless you disagree with something stated as fact, kindly shut the fuck up and go somewhere else if this is all you have to offer.[/quote]

“What is fact is this: As a beginner, you NEED to learn how to eat regularly.”

This is an opinion. Not a fact. And I disagree. How regular you eat is irrelevant in regards to the energy balance fomrula or caloric guidlines. That a new newbie NEEDS to learn this is your opinion, not a fact.

I will gladly ‘shut the fuck up and go elsewere’ if you do the same on all the threads you pollute. If not, deal with it.


More important than anything, ACTIVITY affects how fast food can move through the digestive tract. It increases motility and utilizes more calories which can change the time ranges given in AVERAGE sedentary adults (mostly from studies done in the 80’s on metabolic rate).

So, since we don’t usually base how often we feed on how fast food goes through our system as far as motility, do we base it on activity alone?

That answer again would be “no”, because your metabolic rate is partially genetic…is always changing slightly with age and size and activity as it adapts.

[quote]Waittz wrote:

“What is fact is this: As a beginner, you NEED to learn how to eat regularly.”

This is an opinion. Not a fact. And I disagree. How regular you eat is irrelevant in regards to the energy balance fomrula or caloric guidlines. That a new newbie NEEDS to learn this is your opinion, not a fact.

I will gladly ‘shut the fuck up and go elsewere’ if you do the same on all the threads you pollute. If not, deal with it. [/quote]

So, a trainer doesn’t need to eat regularly at all? Can they skip days? You are saying that inconsistent eating habits will lead someone to their optimal goal?

[quote]Professor X wrote:

[quote]Waittz wrote:

“What is fact is this: As a beginner, you NEED to learn how to eat regularly.”

This is an opinion. Not a fact. And I disagree. How regular you eat is irrelevant in regards to the energy balance fomrula or caloric guidlines. That a new newbie NEEDS to learn this is your opinion, not a fact.

I will gladly ‘shut the fuck up and go elsewere’ if you do the same on all the threads you pollute. If not, deal with it. [/quote]

So, a trainer doesn’t need to eat regularly at all? Can they skip days? You are saying that inconsistent eating habits will lead someone to their optimal goal?[/quote]

You know lifters or even regular people who are skipping days of eating?

What is regularly? The most important thing is to get in the calories.

[quote]Professor X wrote:

[quote]Waittz wrote:

“What is fact is this: As a beginner, you NEED to learn how to eat regularly.”

This is an opinion. Not a fact. And I disagree. How regular you eat is irrelevant in regards to the energy balance fomrula or caloric guidlines. That a new newbie NEEDS to learn this is your opinion, not a fact.

I will gladly ‘shut the fuck up and go elsewere’ if you do the same on all the threads you pollute. If not, deal with it. [/quote]

So, a trainer doesn’t need to eat regularly at all? Can they skip days? You are saying that inconsistent eating habits will lead someone to their optimal goal?[/quote]

If I said that, it would be my opinion, not a fact. That being said, in my opinion, it doesnt matter if they eat one meal or 10, what matters is how many calories and the macronutrient breakdown. Their body doesnt care about intent and habbit, it cares about what ends up being digested.

Energy in = Energy out + Change in Body Stores

[quote]xXSeraphimXx wrote:

[quote]Professor X wrote:

[quote]Waittz wrote:

“What is fact is this: As a beginner, you NEED to learn how to eat regularly.”

This is an opinion. Not a fact. And I disagree. How regular you eat is irrelevant in regards to the energy balance fomrula or caloric guidlines. That a new newbie NEEDS to learn this is your opinion, not a fact.

I will gladly ‘shut the fuck up and go elsewere’ if you do the same on all the threads you pollute. If not, deal with it. [/quote]

So, a trainer doesn’t need to eat regularly at all? Can they skip days? You are saying that inconsistent eating habits will lead someone to their optimal goal?[/quote]

You know lifters or even regular people who are skipping days of eating?

What is regularly? The most important thing is to get in the calories.
[/quote]

In his defense, some people do fast, sometimes for a whole day.

I wish I had paid more attention to the specifics, but Layne and a few other authorities IMO have recently been citing several studies blowing apart the need for frequent feedings in terms of muscle growth. Possibly someone else knows what I’m referring to and can bring in the info.

Personally, I just stick with what works FOR ME, but I do recognize that there’s a hell of a lot of science out there that fully supports other approaches.

S