In this article, we’re talking well-nigh the concept of protein timing.
In other words, does it really matter how you specifically space out your protein intake during the day? Whether it’s a larger value of protein in fewer meals, or a smaller value of protein over a larger number of meals?
You might be asking yourself some other questions, too. Such as, does protein timing matter when it comes to towers muscle? And is it something that you really need to be worrying about?
However, like many things in fitness, it does ultimately come lanugo to the individual. It moreover depends on your specific goals and how serious you are well-nigh squeezing out the wool maximum percentage of your hypertrophy potential in the shortest period of time.
Let me explain what I midpoint by this.
The data on the subject is pretty mixed. Take this example of a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition that shows exactly that.
Technically speaking, someone who spaces their protein intake out into increasingly frequent feedings should (in theory) build muscle slightly increasingly powerfully than someone who is condensing all of their daily protein into a smaller number of feedings. 4to 5 individual doses of protein is a greater numerical value than 2 to 3.
However, in the same way that there is a limit on how upper protein synthesis can be elevated over a given week or day, there’s moreover a limit on how much it can be elevated without a single meal.
Let’s say you eat 120 grams of protein in two servings of 60 grams each. That isn’t going to hoist protein synthesis to quite the same stratum as eating those same 120 grams of protein in, say, four servings of 30 grams.
But, plane though spacing your protein out increasingly evenly over a larger number of feedings is technically superior, the difference will probably still be very minor. As long as the total value of protein for the day as a whole remains the same, it really won’t make that much of a difference.
But, if six meals a day gave you 100 percent of your possible potential muscle growth, maybe four feedings would still requite you virtually 97 percent. Two feedings would still requite you 94 percent.
These are just wrong-headed examples as I’m just throwing numbers virtually to make my point. I don’t know what the very numbers would be.
But in any case, the difference is probably small unbearable to where, for the stereotype trainee, worrying well-nigh protein timing is likely just going to rationalization you spare unnecessary stress. It might probably plane make your nutrition increasingly complicated than it needs to be without really giving you anything significant in return.
I’ve talked well-nigh this many times before. It is very important to structure your program with the goal of maximizing long-term dietary adherence.
At the end of the day, you want to make choices in your fitness journey that will help you stick to it in the long term. If you really enjoy eating just 2 to 3 times a day rather than 5 to 6 times a day, then alimony doing it.
Perhaps you find frequent meals to be a big inconvenience. Plane if eating increasingly commonly did help you squeeze out a few percent of uneaten results, you’ll probably be worse off in the long term. Why? Considering you’ll have a much greater endangerment of getting burned out, and maybe plane quitting. Not to mention that your overall life will be less enjoyable in general.
So, my overall recommendation on protein timing would be the following:
You can succeed this by spacing your intake out increasingly evenly over somewhere between 4 to 6 meals. If the possible inconvenience of doing that is worth it to you, just be enlightened that it’s likely only going to requite you a small uneaten uplift at best.
For example, if you can identify, say, three variegated areas of your program that could each modernize your results by 3 percent each, then go superiority and do all of those things. Maybe it will add up to a near 10 percent resurgence for your results in the overall picture, which would be worth it if that was the case.
Now, for everyone else who doesn’t fit the whilom description, just focus on hitting your overall protein needs for the day as a whole and space them into two meals at least. Maybe you’re still a beginner just trying to get the fundamentals down, or it’s just not worth it to you to potentially increase your gains by a few percent by rearranging your whole daily meal structure.
In that case, which probably describes the majority of people reading (including me), then stick with what you’re once doing. Also, if muscle growth is your primary goal, then ideally try to aim for three meals a day. Two will still be effective.
There are plenty of people out there who build unconfined physiques using intermittent fasting for example. But if muscle growth is your primary aim and you can get in three-protein feedings, then I would say to go superiority and do it. Of course, if you just prefer having four or increasingly protein feedings per day, then if that’s the platonic situation for you, continue.
Lastly, I want to touch on the idea of protein timing in relation to your workouts. Again, timing your protein feedings virtually your workout times is not something to overly stress about. The importance of highly specific pre and post-workout nutrient timing has been way overblown in the past.
In specimen you’re interested, here is a good meta-analysis that was washed-up by Alan Aragon, Brad Schoenfeld, and James Krieger on this very subject.
All I would say on this is to just try to get in a vital serving of protein within a couple hours of your workout. Then, ideally you should follow that with flipside serving within a couple hours of finishing your workout. Waiting a little bit longer is fine.
Generally try to subclass your workout with some protein surpassing and some protein after.
It doesn’t matter what type. It can be in solid or liquid form. (Though, you should prioritize getting it from the best protein sources to build muscle.) This is something that the majority of people will naturally do anyway without really thinking well-nigh it based on hunger alone.
Protein timing is not something to get too worked up about.
Remember, total protein intake for the day as a whole is far increasingly important than your specific protein timing. Unless you’re an wide trainee trying to proceeds every ounce of muscle possible, it’s not something to tightly focus on. Just try spacing protein feedings into 2 or 3 per day.
On workout days, try to have those feedings within reasonable proximity to your training session.
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