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How many meals a day to burn fat and build muscle?

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  • How many meals a day to burn fat and build muscle?

    I usually eat about 3 meals a day (sometimes less on the weekends) and assumed that was fine but I keep hearing from others that 4-5 times a day for fat burn and muscle building would be optimal. I do moderate/itense workouts but also have needed built in recovery sessions. I've been embracing the whole eating when I'm hungry thing and have even fasted (but don't think the latter helps things much). I am a 31 year old 5'5 female at about 157 pounds right now who has always struggled to burn fat and build muscle. Easy to lose weight but to get lean has been my holy grail.

    Thank you in advance for any insight. Thank you.

    JB

  • #2
    Doesn't make a difference. I would even say that eating more frequently causes you to constantly think about food, which will increase cravings and possibly lead to overeating. It comes down to personal preference. I usually eat 3 times per day, but I know people who eat 2, 1, and 6 and they all do perfectly fine.
    My nutrition/fitness/critical thinking blog:

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    • #3
      If you want to build muscle then lift heavy, as for eating to loose fat, it depends on you and your body, I prefere to eat more food less often so I skip breakfast eat a big brunch or lunch of fats and protein and low starch veggies and a more carby dinner. On hard working days I up the carbs to say a whole large sweet potato and on easier days carbs run to about half that or so. I eat about 3500 cal on a hard day and a wee bit less than 3000 on an easy day give or take.

      Eating frequency depends on you but I figure if you are always topping off your tummy with more food, your body never needs to burn fat stores to get by till your next meal. So The 6 times a day eating thing seems to me to impede fat loss.

      Look up Jason Seib and his book the paleo coach, he specializes in helping women loose fat and build muscle.
      Primal since April 2012 Male 6' 3" SW 345lbs CW 240lbs GW 220lbs and when I get there I am getting a utlikilt. This one http://www.utilikilts.com/company/pr...ilts/workmans/ actually.

      Join me at www.paleoplanet.net, where all the cavemen hang out.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Warmbear View Post
        Eating frequency depends on you but I figure if you are always topping off your tummy with more food, your body never needs to burn fat stores to get by till your next meal. So The 6 times a day eating thing seems to me to impede fat loss.
        Ehh, that's not really true.

        Of course, fat burning (from fat stores) is halted every time you eat and while you're digesting the nutrients you've just consumed. But, if caloric intake over the course of the day is the same in someone who eats 6 meals vs. someone who eats 2 meals, I haven't seen any evidence to show that their results would be any different. The same amount of fat is still being released.

        Less meals = bigger meals = more time digesting, but digesting less often
        More meals = smaller meals = less time digesting, but digesting more often

        It will even out.
        My nutrition/fitness/critical thinking blog:

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        • #5
          You can only burn stored fat when insulin levels are low. Insulin levels are raised by eating. If you want to spend more time burning stored fat, eat less frequently
          Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

          Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine

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          • #6
            Originally posted by peril View Post
            You can only burn stored fat when insulin levels are low. Insulin levels are raised by eating. If you want to spend more time burning stored fat, eat less frequently
            I know we've somewhat debated this topic in the past, and I don't want to spark that up again. But how do you explain the fat loss success of the "bros" who think you have to eat every 3 hours in order to "stoke" the metabolic fire? Obviously the basis behind eating more frequently is not sound, but I don't see how it would lead to less fat burning assuming the person eats the same amount of calories in the high and low frequencies.

            "After meals, fat is deposited with the help of insulin. However, between meals and during sleep, fat is lost. Fat balance will be zero over a 24-hour period if energy intake matches energy expenditure." - Insulin…an Undeserved Bad Reputation Weightology Weekly
            My nutrition/fitness/critical thinking blog:

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            • #7
              Originally posted by jakejoh10 View Post
              I know we've somewhat debated this topic in the past, and I don't want to spark that up again. But how do you explain the fat loss success of the "bros" who think you have to eat every 3 hours in order to "stoke" the metabolic fire? Obviously the basis behind eating more frequently is not sound, but I don't see how it would lead to less fat burning assuming the person eats the same amount of calories in the high and low frequencies.

              "After meals, fat is deposited with the help of insulin. However, between meals and during sleep, fat is lost. Fat balance will be zero over a 24-hour period if energy intake matches energy expenditure." - Insulin…an Undeserved Bad Reputation Weightology Weekly
              Jake, it comes down in the end to calories. You can go the frequent meal route but you are fighting your body then to restrict the calories. Much easier to restrict the calories once you are in fat burning mode. No magic, just working with the hormones rather than against them
              Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

              Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine

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              • #8
                Originally posted by peril View Post
                Jake, it comes down in the end to calories. You can go the frequent meal route but you are fighting your body then to restrict the calories. Much easier to restrict the calories once you are in fat burning mode. No magic, just working with the hormones rather than against them
                Ok, then we agree.
                My nutrition/fitness/critical thinking blog:

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                • #9
                  Thanks everyone. I for the most part like to eat when I am hungry. Whether that be 2-4 meals a day or not eating at all. Thank you all for your help.

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                  • #10
                    0 or 1 most days.

                    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Marks Daily Apple Forum mobile app

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                    • #11
                      I've just heard that eating less often hurts your metabolism and that no matter what you eat, it gets stored as fat. I've managed to lose a chunk of weight when I was eating pretty much nothing but egg whites and chicken 6 times a day but am not sure if I can attribute eating that often as something to do with that. Regardless I was still a skinny fat person. The primal diet allows for the use of Fats for energy so I feel sated often and not too quick to eat several meals a day.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BearDrivesCar View Post
                        I've just heard that eating less often hurts your metabolism and that no matter what you eat, it gets stored as fat.
                        That's complete nonsense.
                        My nutrition/fitness/critical thinking blog:

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                        • #13
                          It shouldn't matter that I am a woman, correct?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BearDrivesCar View Post
                            It shouldn't matter that I am a woman, correct?
                            I'm not going to advocate long fasting periods, but don't overthink. Eat as many meals as you want.
                            My nutrition/fitness/critical thinking blog:

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                            • #15
                              Right. I tried to do a 24 hour fast for about 2-3 weeks in a row and the more I did it, the less happy i was with it. So may just do that like once a month or every couple months. I'm pretty happy eating 2-3 times a day. Just been wondering if eating less than 4-6 meals a day was hurting me in the fat burning department. I just like to eat when I am hungry.

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