One of the most important lessons I learned as I went through my Round 1 transformation was the importance of properly timing my meals. It goes against our mindset to think that eating often will help us shed body fat — but it’s true!
I have been doing P90X / Insanity for well over 2 years now, and I eat 3,000 – 3,200 calories per day! That’s enough to make almost anyone gain body fat, right? Well, not if done properly! I learned during Round 1, on my 1900 calorie diet, that the proper timing of meals is the key to keeping the body fueled, speeding recovery, keeping the body energized, and keeping the metabolism running at high speed! Once my body had adjusted to well-timed meals and my metabolism had sped up, I could give it a lot more fuel and watch it burn that fuel up to build muscle and give me energy — all without storing any of it as fat! What a wonderful situation!!!
So how does this look, practically? I make sure that I never go more than 3 hours without getting some sort of fuel (either a meal or a snack with protein). My daily routine looks something like this:
7am = Breakfast
9:30am = Snack
12pm = Lunch
2:30pm = Snack (sometimes I break this into 2 smaller snacks, one at appx 2pm and one at appx. 4pm)
5:30pm = Dinner
8pm = Snack
As you can see, my body’s fuel tank never has to hit “empty”, so the metabolism never has to slow down. Before P90X, I used to think the key to losing weight was to eat fewer calories through my day, and I would often not eat anything until lunch. Then, I would not eat again until dinner. And then I’d be so hungry that I’d snack on junkfood from the pantry before bed. What I was actually doing to myself was letting my body “fast” all morning, thus shutting down my metabolism. Then, I’d eat a fairly big, unhealthy lunch, which my body would immediately store as fat to be sure it would have enough to sustain me until dinner. Then, at dinner, I’d be so hungry that I’d pig out, and of course keep snacking until bed! What a disaster! And not only did this NOT WORK as a weight loss plan … I felt tired and hungry all the time as well!
Now I keep my body fueled all day. My metabolism is at full speed all day. And I don’t feel starved. I get to eat every 2-3 hours all day long! Trust me, train your body to run on a steady stream of fuel all day long and it will feel so much better than the feast/famine cycle you may be used to now!
Dr. Wheeler, a nutrition expert who recently spoke at a Beachbody event, even pointed out that studies show that people who eat 5-6 times per day (like I advocate) will burn 340 MORE calories than people who eat less often, even if all other factors are the same. In other words, if you eat more often, you can actually eat MORE calories and still lose weight faster! Imagine if you’ve been skipping that 200 calorie afternoon snack in an effort to lose more weight. You are actually 140 calories WORSE OFF than the person who eats that 200 calorie snack! LOL! Keep your body fueled and your metabolism running! But keep it within your nutritional plan of course! You’ll have more energy, burn more calories, and lose body fat faster!
I am just getting started with a nutrition and exercise program. I understand the importance of eating 5-6 times a day. My dilemma is, M-F i get up at 215am to be at work by four. I have read that you should eat within one hour of waking. Is this true? I dont always feel hungry that early. I am trying to schedule my meals but cant figure out when to start. Any information would be much appreciated.
Kevin, I wouldn't worry too much about eating within the hour. It will make so much more difference to stick to your overall calorie goal and macros.
hey coach i was wondering i eat raisin bran and special k cereal in the morning or oatmeal but the one with a variety of flavors are those good choices or should i try another kind of cereal and oatmeal??
Michael those can be good choices. Make sure you have the carbs and try using almond milk (less calories and sugar than cows milk).
Hey Coach, I'm really not sure were to start. I've been doing so much research on how to eat correctly and what not. I just started doing the P90x work out. today was day 9. My main concern is my meals intake. I heard and red that it's good to eat 5-6 times a day every 3 hours. For someone that is like working 5 days out of the week mainly afternoon and evenings. how can i get my food intake with a busy schedule. cause i don't like eating anything after 8. thanks.
Hey Isaiah, eat regularly is good. Start with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then place snacks between each and have your last snack be before 8pm. Here is what my day looked like for my first round: http://teamripped.com/my-nutritionsupplements/my-sample-diet
Coach let me give you a sample of my schedule. Yesterday the 11th of aug, i ate my breakfast around 11. 3 hours later worked out. Took my dymatize elite whey protein isolate, showered then cooked my dinner meal around 4:30pm and them got to work at 5. Got out at 1:00am ish. Feel asleep around 2ish and woke up at 11am and have work again at 4. So that small gap how do I do it. Getting my meals in. Thanks Ps i requested you to be myfitnesspall and your also my coach 'cause I joined teamRipped
Isaiah, work out closer to your breakfast (like 1.5 hrs). Then shake and a whole food snack about an hour later. Can you eat at work? That should give you time to eat. If you need to drop a meal, just make the other meals larger to compensate.
hi coach, i am jin from philipines i have read your meal plan and we all know dat rice is full of carbs, is it ok to have rice in each meal and i used to snack also with rice,, or just suddenly cut of rice ,,,we usually eat a lot of rice here,, tnx coach ^_^
Hey Jin, rice is a healthy carb if it's brown rice. Avoid white rice since most of the nutritional value has been stripped from it. And if you are trying to lose body fat, you can't eat it at every meal since it will put you over your carb limit by a lot. If you are thin and wanting to build muscle, it's fine to have brown rice a few times each day if that's what is available to you.
Dear Coach! Now I have 21 days training, I have lost only 8 pounds but I am thinner than ever, but there is a topic that is worrying me: I can not consume more than 1650 calories per day(+/-) and some days I feel a little tired. I am satisfied eating this amount, for me is enough food. A typical day is: 7:00 am 1 smoothie 8 oz nonfat yogurt with two egg whites and 1 / 2 banana + 2 slices wholemeal bread + 20 oz light cheese + 2 slices of turkey ham. 10 am 1 can tuna in water with lemon juice 13:30 p.m. Baked chicken 250 gr + 400 gr raw vegetable salads or cooked 17:30 p.m. 1 apple (sometimes with toasted almonds) 19:00 p.m. P90X workout And after training 1 protein shake powder ON + 1 / 2 banana and ice height 175 cm current weight 170 lb 21.03% body fat My meal plan is good? What could add? Should consume more calories according to my height and weight? I do not know what else I can eat (protein) to increase my calories without increasing carbohydrate and without having to feel I'm going to explode with so much food. I appreciate your valuable advice Greetings from Ecuador!
Hey Yakko! I would recommend looking for more ways to get protein into your diet, and I'm not sure what things you have access to in Ecuador. Look in the "nutrition zone" tab at my 1900 calorie diet for sample days that you can use or at least take ideas from for your own diet. I try to get protein at each meal and snack.
I work at a restaurant and cannot eat lunch until we close, which is after 2. Is it bad to eat two snacks in the morning so that I will still eat 5-6 times a day and just have a late lunch? Or will that hurt the nutrition?
I recently learned that sumo wrestlers purposely fast (then feast) to put on fat. Now who really wants to look like a sumo wrestler? Well, except maybe a sumo wrestler...
Coach Indo It was good to read your comment on drinking R&R before and during a workout. I've done that a few times when I workout first thing in the morning and it seems to help the shakes I get. Years ago I used to run for an hour or two in the morning, not eat anything before and be just fine. Now if I workout, especially cardo, in the morning without putting something in the tank I've got nothing to give and I'm just shaky. Thanks for letting me know other people take R&R before their workout as well.
We keep reading everywhere that 80% of weight loss is in the kitchen. A couple of times in the past week I have worked from home instead of the office. I sit down at my computer shortly after 7 am and I'm shocked when I look up about 11 am thinking I'm starving and I've messed up my day. Now what? It's so true that we need to make a plan - everyday. Then stick to it. I love the days I work from home. But I've learned that I need to be even more vigilant because I don't snack I fast.
It seems planning is key in all this but let's say I find myself in a situation where I can't get a clean snack/meal, is it better to skip until next meal or eat a little dirty?
@Paul This is also how I do it. I mix RR drink about 10-15 minutes prior to an Insanity workout and drink about 1/3 to 1/2 BEFORE I start the workout (similar to a "Pre-workout supplement"...then I sip the rest throughout the remainder of the workout (I also drink a lot of water throughout as well so I don't get dehydrated)
So many people get annoyed or do not believe this simple rule that you must eat clean 5-6 times a day to get the best results. They tend to think I am trying to trick them into huge gains or that I dont want them achieving results. Usually after I tell them they need to eat often but clean I never hear from them again. Great Post CW like always.
Another huge benefit to me is the mental aspect of eating every 2.5-3 hours. When I get hungry at the 2 hour mark, I look at the clock and see that I've only got to suck it up another 30-60 minutes before I get to eat again. Knowing that helps me stay away from the grazing routine that many people fall into.
Great post coach, I had a hard time with this in the begining but once I started doing it the fat started melting off!!!
Coach I normally take my shakeology shake first, wait an hour then begin insanity. Could I just start the program when whwn I first wake up whike sipping rr during the work out and take my shakeology afterwards ?
Yes Paul, you can do it that way (in fact that's more like how I do it). Read my article "on an empty stomach" for more on my routine.
Coach Wayne, I agree with you principally: one has to eat enough to continue fueling the body. This varies from person to person, as you know. I also agree with you that eating the right foods will dramatically improve results. As a matter of speculation, I wonder if you would mind writing about the calories in/calories out paradigm for health? I've been looking at it recently, and there's a lot of information to sift through. Do you have a particular opinion on calorie intake/calorie output (or burn)? Thanks, Kane
Hey Kane, I'll work to put something together for an article or something. There is more to it that just calories in/out obviously (timing, percentages, etc.). As you can see it gets a bit complicated.
Another key point is that most people who eat the "3 big meals" can't wait for those to happen, and after waiting "all day" they "pig out". I have been eating 6 times a day for over a year now and can't wait until the 2.5 hours have went buy so I get to "eat again"! It's like a 'reward' 6 times a day! So, people, wouldn't you like to be rewarded 6 times a day instead of 3?!?!...and get RIPPED in the process! :)
I am on the fat shredder diet and the key is not only the percentage of protein/carbs/fat but the timing!! I am eating more often about 6 times a day and my metabolism is running higher and faster I have more energy throughout the day. And the fat is dripping off me!!!
i've always eating 5 or 6 tiems a day, my problem was eating breakfast was hard i wasnt hungry and food hurt my stomach and made me feel sick all day, then i was a horrible midnight snacker... did it 2 or 3 times a night for 20 years... been 2 full months sinc ei have snacked at night time now thanks to Coach Waynes advise of having a protien shake before bed!
As always great article..... Eat clean, Eat often, push play, and rest.... does it get any easier?? Thanks coach
hi coach, you have said in some other post that you workout early in the morning, so does empty stomach cardio helps or you take something before doing cardio??
There are pros and cons to working out on an empty stomach Raunaq. Read my article "on an empty stomach" for more!