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Can 2 MEALS / day boost growth?

thechrisowlthechrisowl Posts: 1Member, Premium Member Posts: 1Member, Premium Member
I’ve recently started a weight gain diet and I am finding that After eating 1700 healthy calories for 9am breakfast, I cant eat lunch and I end up hitting my last 900 calories at 6pm dinner. I never snack.

From your experience, Is this an effective strategy? Or is it important I get down to 3 evenly spaced and even calorie meals?

Replies

  • giancarlov1191giancarlov1191 Posts: 306Member, Premium Member Posts: 306Member, Premium Member
    You're going to need to give more information before anyone can give their opinion. Age, weight, gender, training, goals, diet...
  • ryanflebberyanflebbe Posts: 187Member Member Posts: 187Member Member
    Is there a reason you're eating 1700 calories for breakfast and not splitting things up into more meals, like 4-5? You probably need more calories to gain weight as well, but I don't know anything about you.
  • MikePTYMikePTY Posts: 3,814Member Member Posts: 3,814Member Member
    Is 2600 the calories you need to gain weight? If so, the meal distribution really shouldn't matter.
  • mmapagsmmapags Posts: 8,549Member Member Posts: 8,549Member Member
    ryanflebbe wrote: »
    Is there a reason you're eating 1700 calories for breakfast and not splitting things up into more meals, like 4-5? You probably need more calories to gain weight as well, but I don't know anything about you.

    I agreed with you right up until the 4 to 5 meals thing. There is no benefit to that except to the <1% of elite athletes optimizing performance.

    The right number and timing of meals is the only that most effortlessly helps a person achieve their dietary goals consistently. Beyond that meal timing is largely irrelevant for the vast majority of people.
  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Posts: 37,599Member Member Posts: 37,599Member Member
    How you distribute your calories doesn't really matter...but I would question whether or not 2600 calories is a surplus for you to gain weight and build muscle. Depending on your stats and activity level, that could be a calorie deficit...it is for me.
  • sijomialsijomial Posts: 15,983Member Member Posts: 15,983Member Member
    Chris - 2600 seems a lot for an owl but it's not much for an adult male human looking to gain weight unless they are unusually small.
  • ChieflrgChieflrg Posts: 8,128Member Member Posts: 8,128Member Member
    If you are asking for simple weight gain, then frequency really doesn't matter. Unless you can't adhere to your goals.

    If we are talking adding muscle mass, then this would be extremely nuanced.

    In this case in general, I would certainly try to spread my calories out evenly throughout the day with a good balance of macros and sufficient EAAs. Anywhere from 3-5 meals would be more ideal than just 2x day.. Once again adherence to caloric intake is a factor as well as amount/quality of protein consumed.

    What we would be trying to do is push MPS hopefully sometime after the 3-5 hours refractory period has ended which eccentially means the body has resetted it's ability to achieve MPS again under the right conditions.

    If muscle is not your main goal, than 2x day is okay if you have adherence problems.
    edited February 6
  • ryanflebberyanflebbe Posts: 187Member Member Posts: 187Member Member
    mmapags wrote: »
    ryanflebbe wrote: »
    Is there a reason you're eating 1700 calories for breakfast and not splitting things up into more meals, like 4-5? You probably need more calories to gain weight as well, but I don't know anything about you.

    I agreed with you right up until the 4 to 5 meals thing. There is no benefit to that except to the <1% of elite athletes optimizing performance.

    The right number and timing of meals is the only that most effortlessly helps a person achieve their dietary goals consistently. Beyond that meal timing is largely irrelevant for the vast majority of people.

    Where did you get that? I don't think you're giving your muscles the nutrients they need to recover and grow if there are huge gaps in your day. Also, like you said, it may just be a matter of getting nutrients in conveniently, but it's easier to digest and absorb say, 3500 calories and 250 grams of protein in four meals than it is in two.
  • ChieflrgChieflrg Posts: 8,128Member Member Posts: 8,128Member Member
    mmapags wrote: »
    ryanflebbe wrote: »
    mmapags wrote: »
    ryanflebbe wrote: »
    Is there a reason you're eating 1700 calories for breakfast and not splitting things up into more meals, like 4-5? You probably need more calories to gain weight as well, but I don't know anything about you.

    I agreed with you right up until the 4 to 5 meals thing. There is no benefit to that except to the <1% of elite athletes optimizing performance.

    The right number and timing of meals is the only that most effortlessly helps a person achieve their dietary goals consistently. Beyond that meal timing is largely irrelevant for the vast majority of people.

    Where did you get that? I don't think you're giving your muscles the nutrients they need to recover and grow if there are huge gaps in your day. Also, like you said, it may just be a matter of getting nutrients in conveniently, but it's easier to digest and absorb say, 3500 calories and 250 grams of protein in four meals than it is in two.

    Research on nutrient timing shows very minimal and insignificant differences based on nutrient timing. Protein synthesis happens for up to 72 hours after exercise. The research on absorption rates was done with liquid whey for control purposes. No one really knows what happens with protein absorption with whole foods or with whey that is not consumed in isolation.

    For the non elite athletes and non competitive body builders who are not looking for the .1% difference this makes, it is effectively irrelevant. But, hey, I'm always willing to evaluate new information. If you feel you have high quality studies or meta analyses that support your contention, feel free to post them.

    However, compliance and consistency over time will always trump nutrient timing.

    I do agree the "meal timing" in regards to one must consume protein near immediately after resistance training is not necessary.

    There is quite a lot of evidence that suggest there certainly is a general refractory period in which "meal frequency" is a variable on with regards to MPS, MPB, and NPB for those who resistance train.

    Are you stating you don't concur with the idea of a refractory period?



  • mmapagsmmapags Posts: 8,549Member Member Posts: 8,549Member Member
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    mmapags wrote: »
    ryanflebbe wrote: »
    mmapags wrote: »
    ryanflebbe wrote: »
    Is there a reason you're eating 1700 calories for breakfast and not splitting things up into more meals, like 4-5? You probably need more calories to gain weight as well, but I don't know anything about you.

    I agreed with you right up until the 4 to 5 meals thing. There is no benefit to that except to the <1% of elite athletes optimizing performance.

    The right number and timing of meals is the only that most effortlessly helps a person achieve their dietary goals consistently. Beyond that meal timing is largely irrelevant for the vast majority of people.

    Where did you get that? I don't think you're giving your muscles the nutrients they need to recover and grow if there are huge gaps in your day. Also, like you said, it may just be a matter of getting nutrients in conveniently, but it's easier to digest and absorb say, 3500 calories and 250 grams of protein in four meals than it is in two.

    Research on nutrient timing shows very minimal and insignificant differences based on nutrient timing. Protein synthesis happens for up to 72 hours after exercise. The research on absorption rates was done with liquid whey for control purposes. No one really knows what happens with protein absorption with whole foods or with whey that is not consumed in isolation.

    For the non elite athletes and non competitive body builders who are not looking for the .1% difference this makes, it is effectively irrelevant. But, hey, I'm always willing to evaluate new information. If you feel you have high quality studies or meta analyses that support your contention, feel free to post them.

    However, compliance and consistency over time will always trump nutrient timing.

    I do agree the "meal timing" in regards to one must consume protein near immediately after resistance training is not necessary.

    There is quite a lot of evidence that suggest there certainly is a general refractory period in which "meal frequency" is a variable on with regards to MPS, MPB, and NPB for those who resistance train.

    Are you stating you don't concur with the idea of a refractory period?



    I'm not clear on what you mean by the bolded. Specifically, a "refractory period". If you would be kind enough to elaborate or point at a resource to educate myself, I'd be happy to answer your question. I tried a search but didn't yield anything useful. Thanks.
  • watts6151watts6151 Posts: 562Member, Premium Member Posts: 562Member, Premium Member
    basically the discordance between
    Anabolic signals and protein synthesis has been termed the refractory period


    https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/101/6/1330S/4564493

    Dr Mike sums up meal timing here

  • mmapagsmmapags Posts: 8,549Member Member Posts: 8,549Member Member
    watts6151 wrote: »
    basically the discordance between
    Anabolic signals and protein synthesis has been termed the refractory period


    https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/101/6/1330S/4564493

    Dr Mike sums up meal timing here


    Thanks for this. Dr. Mike is one of my favorites!
  • mmapagsmmapags Posts: 8,549Member Member Posts: 8,549Member Member
    After reading the study and watching Dr. Mike, here are my thoughts:

    Yes, I concur with the idea of a refractory period. And I believe it is wise to ingest food with a composition consistent with your goals within a reasonable time either before or after a workout. Before would have nutrients available for MPS, after would backfill them within the refractory period. I also think, and Dr. Mike, the study and work done by others such as Brad Schoenfeld indicates that ingestion of protein 4 to 5 times per day is optimal. However, optimal for muscle building and what works in someone's overall life can be 2 different things.

    Chieflrg, training and growing muscle is a high priority for you. I'm guessing you will do whatever is optimal and arrange your life around that. For others not so much. As Dr. Mike said in the video, calories and macros are the big ones overall. Time is maybe 10% of the total and timing of protein intake is probably 5% to 7% out of the 10%.

    Both the study posted by watts6151 and others I have read have indicated that the period of MPS is much more extensive than just what I now understand the refractory period to be. I've seen outside numbers of up to 72 hours and in the study posted, they refer to their results showing it ongoing at 24 hours.

    For most of us, we are balancing overall factors in our lives and can't or find it undesirable for various reasons to optimize protein intake. But that doesn't mean there is not benefit to, say, eating 2x per day as the OP is questioning. It doesn't mean one won't experience good growth. It just means in may not be totally optimized.

    I am going to use my situation as an example. 68 year old man, resistance train 3x per week fasted most weeks late morning. Occasionally 2 (sometimes life gets in the way), sometimes 4 and eat my first meal within an hour of training . Maintenance calories in the ballpark of 2400 per day. Desire to lose about 10 more lbs while preserving muscle mass. I eat 2 meals per day with about 40 to 50 grams of protein mid day, including yogurt and whey, and another 60 to 80 grams at dinner with another 20 grams or so at around 8PM that are all whole food sources eg. meat, fish etc. So, the vast amount of my protein consumption is at 2 meals.

    This works for me because I, like some others, have more hunger through the day the earlier I start eating. So, eating breakfast kicks in the hunger signalling. Delaying intake does not. I am still getting 40 to 50 grams of protein within the refractory period, if I am understanding it correctly, and still more about 4 hours later.

    This helps me balance my calorie management with my protein intake. Is it completely optimal? No. It is still pretty effective? Yes. I have maintained or slightly increased my muscle mass doing this over the last 10 months while cycling between a slight deficit, 200 to 300 calories, and maintenance.

    I think there are more people like me who have overall life factors or even preferences that make optimizing less of a priority. And after all, as Dr. Mike said in the video and the pyramid from Ripped Body that is posted above by @quikSlvr296 indicates, it is a minor factor.

    So the answer to the OPs question is yes. 2 meals per day can boost growth, it just might not be optimal. This assumes adequate protein, proper calories and effective training. And no, eating 4 to 5 times per day is not necessary.
  • ChieflrgChieflrg Posts: 8,128Member Member Posts: 8,128Member Member
    Here is one of maybe 60-70 articles or meta analysis that touch on the subject as well as the benefits and recommended doses of more protein for athletes, people of advance age, etc...Basically a lot of decent bits and pieces here and there that consistently have the same conclusion, results, or recommendations.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5852756/

    Yes my goals are different than most, though my health is a big factor of why I have those goals. I have to train and preserve muscle just to be able to walk or take care of myself without assistance of others.

    Make no mistake about it, my goals isn't a carbon copy of how I train others with different goals.

    This is one reason why I focus so much on people that are not only trying to preserve muscle and hopefully reverse sarcopenia, but trying to experience a hypertrophic response. Strength is more than my goal as a person, it's something I'm passionate about for all.

    I'm not condemming in any way if you want to eat twice a day and you are happy with results since adherence is a huge factor.

    Also I'm not saying we need as humans to systematically eat precisely 3-5 hours or results cannot happen.

    I am suggesting that we as humans have a refractory period which is extremely individualized that if we can spread out two meals into 3-5 with better quality protien and EAAs coupled with adequate resistance training we are likely to have better results to our goals if we wish do so.

    One doesn't need to be in the top 1% or be considered an elite athlete to reap some of the benefits I hazard and yes as we get more experienced, we may need more majoring in the minors.

    If people are questioning meal frequency I hope they wouldn't get it confused with meal timing.

    Thanks for your input and answer.
    edited February 10
  • ryanflebberyanflebbe Posts: 187Member Member Posts: 187Member Member
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    I'm not condemming in any way if you want to eat twice a day and you are happy with results since adherence is a huge factor.

    Also I'm not saying we need as humans to systematically eat precisely 3-5 hours or results cannot happen.

    I am suggesting that we as humans have a refractory period which is extremely individualized that if we can spread out two meals into 3-5 with better quality protien and EAAs coupled with adequate resistance training we are likely to have better results to our goals if we wish do so.

    One doesn't need to be in the top 1% or be considered an elite athlete to reap some of the benefits I hazard and yes as we get more experienced, we may need more majoring in the minors.

    If people are questioning meal frequency I hope they wouldn't get it confused with meal timing.

    Thanks for your input and answer.
    I was going to say everyone is over thinking things, including myself, but this was a good synopsis of it all. OP, you can gain muscle on two meals, but more meals spaced out, is better, and if for whatever reason you stick to two meals, sipping on protein shakes, or EAAs, or BCAAs throughout the day would be an improvement that's not hard to make.
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