When Should You Eat To Build Muscle?

People often ask “Mitch, what do I eat to build muscle?” but the follow up question to that should be “Mitch, when should I eat to build muscle?”

Often times in life, it’s the unspoken questions that really matter.

Just like that picture above, timing when it comes to building muscle is crucial.

I cringe when I hear people brag about eating only once a day or say “I don’t eat breakfast!”

Biology lesson people…We are warm-blooded, not cold-blooded!

Meaning, we need food several times a day, not just a few times a week.  I’ve been there, and trust me, you will wither away faster than you know.

But it’s not the kind of wither you want if you’re trying to cut fat because you will be losing muscle! 🙁

Eating like this, only slows down your metabolism and sends your body into a Survival Mode.  And you CAN’T build muscle in Survival Mode.

Survival Mode is basically where you body stores everything it’s given because it doesn’t know if it’ll get anymore.

The proper timing to eat if you really want to gain weight and build muscle is:

  1. Right after you wake – starts your metabolism
  2. Every 3-4 hrs after that – keeps your metabolism burning hot
  3. 1 hr before a workout and within 1 hr after a workout – provides muscles with proper nutrition for growth

The reason behind this timing is that you want to provide proper fuel to your body at the proper time to keep your metabolism burning hot which will send your body into an Efficiency Mode.

In an Efficiency Mode, your body knows it’ll keep getting more and more fuel, so it doesn’t see the need to store a lot of fat or excess nutrients that aren’t needed.

Your body will be more efficient with the use of it’s nutrients, allowing you essentials to build muscle properly.

You have to do this for a few days consecutively before you body will start to “believe you” and change its ways.

Now, you may say “Mitch, if I eat that often, I’ll blow up!”

No, you won’t.

The trick is, to eat every 3-4 hrs, but not eat dinner sized meals that often.  Yeah, you’ll blow up if you do that and you’re not an Olympic athlete (Michael Phelps).

Determine your Daily Calorie needs, and divide that up into about 5 or 6 meals.  Shoot for that target each meal.

My target is about 500 calories per meal, which really isn’t much.  It’s easy to reach, and I easily get the amount I need to gain weight and build muscle consistently.

To give you an example, an average meal at Subway is 420 calories, a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut is about 660 calories, and a Big Mac alone is 540 calories before you add the fries and drink!

I stay away from fast food, except for the occasional $5 Footlong when I REALLY don’t feel like cooking, but that was just to give you an example.

I’ll be writing a blog soon on how to determine your Daily Calorie Needs so you can break it down for yourself.

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Don’t forget to check out the ebooks and Articles for more nutritional information.

Until next time, Happy Lifting!