A ‘six-meals-a-day diet’ is one of your best options for losing body fat and gaining lean muscle mass quickly. While many diet plans call for eating just 1 – 3 times per day, that may not be the best option if your goal is to lose body fat and increase lean muscle mass at the same time (the key to look and feeling great).
Many bodybuilders, fitness competitors, and athletes eat 6 times per day. And there’s a reason for that: it works extremely well. Fueling your body with frequent small meals and snacks — spaced 2 or 3 hours apart — is one of the most effective ways to keep your metabolism boosted, speed muscle repair/growth, and maintain high energy levels throughout the day.
Here are a few of the major benefits of following a six meals per day diet:
- Stable blood sugar and insulin production
- Better (and more stable) energy levels
- Less hunger
- Fewer food cravings
- Reduce the amount of calories that are stored as body fat
- Provide a steady stream of amino acids to the muscles
- Maintain and possibly increase lean muscle tissue
It takes a significant amount of planning and preparation to properly follow this type of diet. Nearly all your meals and snacks need to be prepared or purchased ahead of time. Also, you must choose very, very “clean” food for this to be effective. If you’re consuming significant amounts of starches, sugars, or bad fats frequently, you’ll gain weight instead of losing it.
Nearly every meal and snack should include lean protein, low-glycemic carbs, and healthy fats (though it’s fine to eat protein-only snacks regularly). Many people get the best results by sticking to a 40:30:30 carb-protein-fat ratio, similar to the well-known Zone diet. That ratio is incredibly effective at forcing the body to produce “good” hormones which burn fat and spare muscle tissue.
A six-meals-a-day diet isn’t exactly easy, but it is well worth it. Once you get into the habit of preparing your meals ahead of time and eating good, healthy foods every few hours, you’ll begin to feel amazing and you’ll witness some very positive changes in your body.
Many people choose one day per week to do all their meal prep. They grill several pounds of chicken, steam veggies, cook brown rice, and throw a good amount of extra virgin oil on everything. then they measure out individual meals and store them in plastic or glass containers in the refrigerator and/or freezer. Others use pre-packaged meals for convenience. It’s more expensive but also a huge time-saver, obviously.
Finally, it’s a good idea to make use of healthy portable foods, like canned tuna/chicken, beef jerky, nuts, seeds, etc. Also, quality meal replacement shakes, whey protein powders, and protein bars can be a HUGE help. A snack can be as simple as 2 scoops of whey protein mixed with water in a shaker bottle. Bodybuilders are known to drink 2 or 3 protein shakes per day, so they obviously work!
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