T Nation

Time Before Muscle Catabolism?

I’m curious to know, how long does it actually take for the body to enter a catabolic state? Is it really within the supposed window of a couple of hours (one of the arguments that supports the case for eating 6+ meals a day) or does it take longer? Reason I ask is because during the course of my day, there is a number of consecutive hours where I’m constantly on the move, usually 3 or slightly more, and it’s cardio based activity (i.e. lots of walking.)

During this time I pretty much don’t get the chance to eat, and even when I’ve tried to, it doesn’t sit well. However, I always make sure that I get my calorie quota by the end of the day. During this time period, if I’ve burnt off the calories I’ve consumed, will my body immediately go catabolic, or does it not matter, just so long as by the end of the day I’ve met my calorie needs?

Some of the more recent studies show that you really don’t go catabolic until it’s been ~5 hours or so without food. They also mention that it doesn’t matter how many meals you do it in, as long as you reach your caloric total for the day.

Layne Norton and some others have been digging into this stuff pretty recently. They even argue that having longer periods between meals,4-5 hours, is actually more beneficial because it allows the level of aminos in the blood to drop off and your body will respond more anabolicly when levels are spiked again via your next meal.

here we go again

[quote]watermelon_2001 wrote:
However, I always make sure that I get my calorie quota by the end of the day. [/quote]

Excellent. Now just divert your mental energy towards pursuits other than this one.

I’m guessing it is WAYYYY longer than than that to see real muscle loss, your body has evolved to survive quite a bit, it doesn’t start eating itself after 4-5 hours of not eating.

You’ll be just fine if there are 4-5 hours where you are moving around and not eating.