Bodybuilding combines physical activity with a proper lifestyle and proper nutrition. This contributes to shaping the figure and improving health. Nutrition is really in the first place, because a properly balanced diet is 70% of the success in working on the body. Among the beginners quite often the question arises as to which breaks to use between meals during the period of building muscle mass and during the reduction.
Hours of food intake
The main criterion determining the meal time is the feeling of hunger. This feeling can be identified with thinking about unattractive eating, the appearance of excessive salivation, a characteristic feeling of sucking in the stomach.
One should learn to distinguish the feeling of hunger from the increased appetite for food. Hunger is evidence of energy demand and appetite for having to experience pleasure. The only correct impulse to eat food is hunger, because following the appetite often leads to obesity.
The number of meals during the day
Most nutritionists believe that it is best for a healthy person to eat at least 4 meals a day. The advantage of this number of meals is the even distribution of the load on the digestive system and accurate processing of the food and its absorption, which allows to maintain an appropriate internal environment.
Breaks between meals
Optimal intervals between meals, when we eat properly, are 3-4 hours. Such a break ensures proper functioning of the digestive system.
Too large intervals between meals lead to the following consequences
– excessive stimulation of the digestive system;
– secretion of a large amount of gastric juice that irritates the stomach lining and leads to inflammation;
– limitation of psychophysical activity;
– decrease in concentration;
– lowering the ability to exercise.
The downside of short breaks between meals is, in turn, a short time for a full-fledged course of digestive processes. It may cause disturbances of the secretory function of the digestive tract.
Regularity in the intake of food is a very important factor, because a conditioned reflex is created that stimulates the feeling of hunger at a certain time. This in turn is the cause of stimulation of the digestive system and starts reflex excretion of gastric juice.
When choosing a specific diet, and more meals during the day, regularity should be carefully observed, because the stress related to the lack of food or too frequent supply of it does not favorably affect the body.
Do the intervals between meals depend on being on mass or reduction?
Bodybuilding usually uses the following number of meals during the day – 4, 5 or 6. Of course, among professionals, you can even eat food 7 or 8 times a day.
As we know, there are two periods in the life of a bodybuilder during the year – building muscle mass and reducing body fat. As a reminder, the mass period is characterized by a positive calorific balance, and the reduction is negative.
The myth of having to eat 6 meals during the day, especially during the reduction period, has long been overthrown because it supposedly spins the metabolism. But this issue is not the subject of this article.
During the period of building muscle mass due to very high calorie intake, most people prefer to distribute food for a larger number of meals and consume it at once in smaller portions. In the light of the information presented above, this is the most correct behavior. On the reduction, the caloric value is much lower and you can successfully eat 4 times a day.
Let us now turn to the issue of breaks between meals and possible differences depending on the period we’re in. There are no scientific studies stating that breaks should be different when we are on the mass, from those when we burn body fat. The break is not dependent on a given period, but from, as mentioned above, the appearance of a feeling of hunger and the time that the body needs to digest and assimilate food. Thus, whether on a mass or on a reduction, when we break the meals into 6, the break will be approximately 2.5 hours, with 5 meals for 3 hours, and 4 for 4 hours.
Remember, these breaks should not be longer than 4 hours, so if we eat 4 meals, and get up early and go to bed late, it is worth thinking about introducing an additional meal, for example in the form of a healthy snack.