Whats better 6 meals a day or 3?

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Whats better for gaining muscle, eating 6 meals a day or 3 meals a day?

I know that there is some research out there that suggests 3 meals a day is as good as 6 meals a day. In my experience I have found that for any opinion you may hold, you can always find research backing you up. Research is rarely conclusive, it merely suggests. Its really hard work to eat 6 meals a day so its natural for people to look for reasons why they dont need to do it. From personal experience I can tell you that when I went from 3 meals a day to 6 meals a day, my yearly muscular gains doubled. Completely anecdotal I know but I was at a stagnant plateau before and the change in nutrition brought me out of it without any accompanying changes in workout routines.

Here is what I suggest. Dont believe that 6 small, well balanced meals a day each with 1/6 of your daily protein needs is better than 3 meals a day? Try this one year experiment! Its completely free, safe, and it might just add you a bunch more muscle.

  1. measure your body composition at start of experiment
  2. for 6 months eat 6 small, well balanced meals a day each with 1/6 of your daily protein needs
  3. measure your body composition again and see how much muscle you gained and fat you lost
  4. for the next 6 months eat 3 meals a day (do not change workout routine)
  5. measure your body composition again and compare results to first 6 months
I know bodybuilders, most are willing to try anything for a bit of improvement. They will pour hundreds of dollars into unproven supplements in hopes it will help them gain a bit more muscle. Please, try this experiment. Its safer than supplements, costs nothing, and you might just find that I am right and be amazed at how much more muscle you gain.

10 thoughts on “Whats better 6 meals a day or 3?”

  1. No disrespect….but I think your anecdote can only be proved as “the rule” if the big muscular gains happen every year…

    Reading Brad Pilon’s nutrition and lifestyle books (I recommend it to everybody) as well as his blog posts I know for sure that eating six times a day isnt as crucial as people think. Eating more does increase metabolism and burn more calories….but the extra calories burned are very very small and insignificant. As Brad Pilon put it, its more logical and easier to not consume 100 calories rather than consume the 100 calories so you can the thermic effect of burning 10 calories.

    Also the “steady flow stream of nutrition”, as advocated in the reasoning to eat six times a day, was rebutted by Pilon, who IIRC said that foods can been found to stay in the body for even more than 24 hours. It is not true that you suddenly enter starvation mode just by not eating for few hours….

  2. from my personal experience- not gaining muscle, but losing fat- i found 6/day works incredibly better.

    a few years ago when i was heavier i used to feel guilty about eating more than traditional "breakfast, lunch, dinner" and i binged alot on fast food during the day and especially late at night.

    since i found your page and started doing 6 a day i probably eat just as much (or more) and i've never been skinnier, stronger or had this much endurance

  3. I think Jack Lalanne only used to eat twice a day, and he still had impressive muscle! Also think it's been demonstrated that eating more than 3 meals per day does not increase your metabolic rate, however, I eat 6 times too because it definitely decreases hunger!

  4. Living in Japan with my Japanese wife and mother-in-law.. They both love me doing my training thing and encourage me wholeheartedly. My wife is very understanding when I say I can't eat something because of nutritional reasons. I try to spread my meals a bit through the day, but I also try to make sure I have lunch with my family, which, even though I'm careful what's on my plate, it is our main meal of the day.
    The reason for my posting is that sometimes considering your family members is a factor too and harmony in that environment is often just as important to your well being and sanity.
    Before anyone mentions it… I do prepare all my other meals, but my wife likes to make the family lunch for us all.
    Living in Japan, our diet can easily be very healthy with all the fish, tofu, fresh veg and fruit etc. that are readily available. Fish is very reasonably priced here compared with the UK, so I can get a lot of it every week.
    Breakfast for me is usually a few bran flakes plus some oats plus a chopped banana with semi-skimmed milk. (extremely difficult to get skimmed here). Snacks through the day are usually almonds, various fruit as I fancy it, occasional glass of milk. In the evening, I have a slice of wholemeal bread with an egg and whatever salad is available with a few of my favourite tomatoes. Just before bed, I have a glass of milk.
    I don't use protein powder stuff. I don'r really want to use it and besides that, we can't really afford it.
    I might not be making progress as fast as some can, but I'm very happy with my results. More importantly, my family is happy together too.
    Kind regards from Japan Scooby. You and your followers are a great inspiration.

  5. Thanks, Scooby! 6 small meals a day has entirely changed my life. It stabilize my blood sugar and keeps me in cheerful mood as well as in good shape.

    http://www.askscooby.com/recipes/

    @ridethecliche askscooby forum has lot of healthy recipes and meal plans for bodybuilders. Please have a look!

  6. In terms of protein, if I'm 5'8 167 with 23% BF according to my scale (who knows how accurate that is), should I really be consuming 167 grams of protein a day? It seems excessive to me.

    Also, I work 11 hour days. Any suggestions for a few of the 6 meals? I usually have chicken with either spinach/romaine lettuce or in a whole wheat sandwich as lunch and for other meals I'll have either a 100 calorie muscle milk (15 grams) , trail mix, or a snackwell's protein bar (only 8 grams), a greek yogurt (14 grams) and a 1 scoop of whey isolate protein after my workout at the gym. I don't think that adds up to even 100grams, let alone 167.

  7. Glad to hear it worked for you guys! It worked for me too. Good nutrition is hard and its lots of work which is why people *want* to believe that its not that important. Sorry, it is.

  8. I eat 6(or more) meal every day, depending on how long I must stay awake, I eat every 3rd hour.. Sure did help me :)

    I started eating every 3rd hour after I saw Scoobys video ("Gain Muscle and Lose Fat" – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oi-jnsG0Z7Y ) And it sure has helpt me :P

    The best free bodybuilding website on the internet ^^,

  9. I've not tried 6 a day, but 3 meals a day does it for me. It works out well as I have the time to cook fresh and really control exactly what I eat.

    If my gains start to plateau then it would be the time to perhaps try fiddling with things such as frequency. But as I'm not a serious bodybuilder (as I guess a lot of readers aren't), I figure that whilst I'm making gains it's sensible to stick with the same meal frequency that I've been using since I began.

    I think that it would perhaps be more sensible though as a layman to take a look at what I was eating rather than when.

    I do like scoobys test idea though, if you're committed then it seems like a good plan of action.

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