In the past, we talked lengthy about what to eat and how much, it’s now time to answer the next logical question: when to eat? Today, we can find 3 point of views, we will look at each, point the pros and the cons for you so you could chose for yourself:
1. Old school: eat every 2-3 hours
The “old school” theory recommends you eat 6-8 meals a day, this would translate to a meal every 2-3 hours. Of course, the meals would be smaller then your average dinner. Basically, you divide your daily calorie goal into 6-8 meals, so if you are aiming for 2000 calories a day, prepare 6 meals of more or less 350 calories. The goal of this plan is to keep you somewhat full all the day long, this makes you diet smooth and seamless. This also has the benefit of keeping you stomach flat(ter), since eating a big meal will make you look bloated.
The problem with this diet plan is the need to prepare too much meals which consumes time and energy, plus you find yourself thinking about food all day long and looking at your watch so you don’t miss your meal time.
2. Intermittent Fasting
This meal plan introduced first by www.leangains.com (That is why it’s sometimes called the lean gains diet). This plan promotes including a fasting windows into your routine, the fasting period ranges for the somewhat conservative 16 hours fast 8 hours eating in the original leangains program, to the more radical 24 hours fast 24 hours eating program, passing by the 20 hours fast 4 hours eating warrior diet.
Just to be clear, in the fasting window, you can still drink water, have coffee or tea (without sugar), the convention is that you can eat everything that has less than 50 calories. The advocates of this protocol claim that the extended fasting period pushes the body to burn some deeper level fats that wouldn’t get burned on a conventional diet plan.
This diet plan has the advantage of being very convenient in a meal preparation standpoint, you have to prepare (or think of) 2 meals only per day. Plus, by restricting the number of meals, you can have more calories per meal (for the same goal calories), this gives you more flexibility regarding the foods you can eat (Pizza anyone?).
This plan however is not for everybody, the hunger might break you if you don’t have enough will power to go through the meal plan. The good news is that your body gets used to the meal plan eventually, and the hunger gets much less aggressive.
3. It doesn’t matter when you eat
This theory is at the middle of the spectrum, by listening to the scientific research supporting the previously mentioned techniques, one starts to wonder if it really matters when you eat: if fasting works, and eating frequently works too, then the “frequency” variable does not effect the curb (statistics anybody?).
With this mentality, you don’t have to worry about timing, just count your calories and you should be good to go.
So, this was just an informative post, it was written (I hope) from a neutral perspective, I personally believe in the last mentality, you should pick a meal plan that you are comfortable with, that is the most convenient so you can stick to it in the long run. Take a meal plan and carve your warrior body.