For the third installment of the Bulking Protocol, I am going to outline and discuss the “When to Eat?” part of the method.
There are many theories and myths surrounding nutrient timing over the course of the day. Lets take two extremes and see how different prescriptions can be.
Lets examine Intermittent Fasting (IF) made popular by Martin Berkhan of Lean Gains. This nutritional approach promotes a daily 16-18 hour fast followed by a 6-8 hour feeding window. The macronutrient breakdown is not as massively important when compared to the practice of fasting. Having tinkered with fasting a few years back, I can tell much of the positive benefits I experienced came from training in a fasted state and by the very nature, the diet is one of caloric restriction. While many people on an IF protocol claim to consume large volumes of food, I was never able to consume nearly the calories I was when I was eating over the course of the day, starting at 6 AM and finishing at 10 PM.
On the other side of this discussion, we lets examine a traditional bodybuilding diet. This diet is centered on the consumption of large volumes of food with regular frequency. The desired state is one of constant growth by feeding and thus by constantly eating bodybuilders believe they can avoid a catabolic state and fuel muscle growth. This diet usually requires 6-8 meals a day. From personal experience, I was never able to eat 8 meals a day. For many years, I consumed 7 meals but that elusive 8th meal always escaped me.
Which one is right?
That really depends on what you are training for and your goals. But since this series is called The Bulking Protocol it is safe to assume you are reading with the goal of putting on muscle and size. I favor the more frequent meal model, as it is the only real way for me to consume enough calories over the course of the day using high quality food sources.