Bodybuilding & Protein Meal Frequency

July 24th, 2007 by Paul Johnson

One thing that makes bodybuilding diets different from most, is the need for small frequent meals that contain significant protein throughout the day.

Why do Bodybuilders eat so many meals a day?

Bodybuilders during their bulking phase require a lot of calories. As a result, it is nearly impossible to get them all in the traditional 3 meals. You need a large calorie surplus to allow for muscle gains and to prevent overtraining.

Even if you are able to eat for example, 3000 calories in 3 meals, your body won't be able to digest it as well as if you had it in 5 or 6 smaller meals.

Another major reason behind the meal frequency is to have a steady stream of protein. By having frequent small high protein meals throughout the day, it will insure amino acids concentrations in the bloodstream throughout the day. Without amino acids in the bloodstream they body may break down muscle in the body to get it's amino acid requirements.

Having a steady supply of amino acids in the bloodstream becomes even more important during cutting phases. Calorie restriction puts your body in a very catabolic (muscle wasting) state. One study done on people during weight loss supports this notion. The ones who ate frequent protein meals, had more lean muscle preservation over those who had less frequent protein meals. This was despite the fact, that all had the same overall total protein calories a day.

How many meals a day should bodybuilders eat?

That would depend on your calorie requirements and how serious of a lifestyle bodybuilding is for you. Some bodybuilders aren't able to have as many meals as they require, due to career and personal responsibilities. 5-6 meals should give good results. Professional or very serious bodybuilders often meals even more frequently, some up to 10.

How much protein is digestable in one meal?

That would depend on the individual's genetics. In general, 30 to 50 grams is the most the average person can digest adequately in one meal.

  1. doug on June 9th, 2008

    i have been lifting weight for about 2 years , but i have atlot of stomach fat how can get i get rid of it . what food and exserices should i do.

  2. admin on June 10th, 2008

    You should follow a cutting diet, which is off topic from this post.

  3. Void on August 24th, 2009

    My god you managed to summarize all popularized building myths in one page. They are all faulty.

  4. admin on October 21st, 2009

    Void and how are they faulty? Prove I’m wrong.