How often should you be eating??

Posted by Renato Tavares BJJ - March 5, 2012 - Diet and Nutrition - No Comments

How often should you eat for weight loss, muscle gain or just staying fit?

Whether you’re trying to lose fat or gain muscle, meal frequency is an important part of your diet.  I suggest eating at least every three hours.  This is important for multiple reasons which we will cover in this article.

Meal Frequency-how often should you eat?

Staying in a “Fed” State

Eating at least every three hours will keep you in what we call a “fed” state. Metabolically your body has “fed” and “unfed” states.  In a “fed” state, your metabolism revs up.  You become anabolic(tissue building) which helps you gain muscle and lose fat.  It’s like telling your body, “Don’t worry.  We have plenty of fuel, so you can crank up the energy production.”  In an “unfed” state, it’s the opposite.  Our body gets the message, “We are low on fuel, so slow down and save energy.”  As a result, we feel sluggish and store fat(energy for later).  The only exception is exercising in a fasted state first thing in the morning.  Working out without eating first thing in the morning is great as long as you eat a healthy meal following the workout.

Amino Flow

Another reason to eat frequently is to keep glucose and particularly amino acids flowing through your bloodstream.  Our body requires amino acids for function, so when we don’t get a steady enough supply through our diets we must breakdown muscle to provide those aminos to our body.  This is called a catabolic state which is the opposite of the anabolic state that we are trying to achieve.  The only way to break that catabolic state is to eat the proper nutrients that your body needs for repair.

What do I eat?

Your meals can be broken down in multiple ways.  Some people prefer to eat larger meals at breakfast, lunch, and dinner and then eat smaller snacks in between.  Others, like myself, prefer to balance my meals out all day.  Every time you eat you should try to get carbohydrates, protein, and colors in each meal.   Colors?  Yes, colors in natural foods usually represent certain anti-oxidant profiles.  Having a broad spectrum of colors in your diet will guarantee that your getting lots of free-radical fighting compounds in your food.  I also try to finish every meal with a “live” food like fresh fruit.  “Live” or uncooked foods have enzymes that help breakdown the food properly so our bodies can utilize it for energy and rebuilding.  For example:


Three Square Meals + Snacks

3 Eggs(Poached or Fried with Minimal Oil)
Whole Wheat English Muffin
Large Bowl of Mixed Berries

Handful of Raw Almonds
2 Handfuls of Red Grapes

5oz Fish or Chicken Breast
Large Sweet Potato
Side Salad

3-4 Slices of Deli Turkey

4-5oz Lean Meat
Steamed Vegetables
Mixed Berries


I eat more like this(remember I’m vegan, so anywhere I’m eating plant based protein you can substitute lean animal protein):

3 cups of Ezekiel Cereal(Sprouted Grain-Flourless Cereal)
8 oz Soy Milk
2 cups Blackberries
1 cup Pomegranate Arils
2 Scoops Vegan-Green Protein Shake(Pea Protein, Rice Protein, Hemp
Protein, Barley  Grass, Wheat Grass, Probiotics, etc.)-with H2O

Handful Raw Cashews
2 Scoops Vegan Protein Shake
2 cups Blackberries
Large Banana


Large Plate Full of Lentils and Brown Rice
Large Garden Salad
2 Scoops of Vega Whole Food Optimizer(Vegan Meal Replacement)

“Sambazon Marley Bowl”
Sambazon Acai Bowl
2 Tablespoons Honey
Hemp Protein Granola

Organic Mixed Greens Salad
Organic Blueberry Dressing
2 cups Cooked Lentils
2 cups Brown Rice

Snack Suggestions:
Greek Yogurt
Low Fat Cottage Cheese with Fruit
Protein Smoothie with Fruit
Crackers and Hummus
Raw Nuts and Dried or Fresh Fruits
1/2 Sandwich on Whole Wheat Bread

Hopefully this information will help you utilize your diet to reach your fitness goals.  Meal frequency can be challenging if you have a busy schedule, but if you plan correctly you can accomplish your dietary goals.  Try preparing your food on a day that you’re not busy and store it for later use.  See you soon at American Top Team.

Bill Dayton
After School/Summer Camp Program Director
Personal Trainer
Check out some workout videos on our site: training with Renato Tavares….

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