Your body is constantly functioning and by properly timing your meals you can considerably enhance muscle growth. Your muscles are performing two actions. First is laying down new proteins to increase muscle mass and second is the breaking down of muscle protein. Both these actions are happening all the time but with proper strength training and diet you can increase your muscle growth and slow down muscle breakdown. Keep reading to find out the best meal times for gaining muscles by consuming nutritious foods throughout the day.
One thing to keep in mind is that instead of consuming three large meals in a day, you have to consume smaller portions. The following plan is designed to help you plan the best meal times and a guide to what you should eat. Women should limit their total calorie intake to 1700 per day and men should limit it to 2200.
First Breakfast: From 6 am but not later than 8 am
Consume a high protein breakfast that will keep you full and also give a boost of energy if you happen to work out in the morning. All cardio exercises are suggested for morning because your body is well rested after a long night’s sleep. Suggested foods are whey protein with one serving of fruit, such as cantaloupe, orange or apple.
Second Breakfast: 2 hours after first breakfast, from 8 am but not later than 10 am
Your post workout breakfast should be filling enough to keep you full till noon. If you happen to take any supplements, this is a good time to do so as well. Suggested foods are eggs or egg whites with one serving of lowfat milk, celery stalks or peanut butter.
Late Morning Snack: 2 hours after second breakfast, at noon or skip to lunch
This snack is optional but if you are feeling hungry, it’s ok to snack on some healthy foods. Suggested foods are yogurt, berries, wheat germ, a salad of mixed greens, oatmeal, or soup.
Lunch: From 12 pm but not later than 2pm
Your lunch should include a balanced diet of protein, vegetables and whole grains. With lunch only consume water and no other drinks such as milk, juice or soda. Suggested foods are lean ground beef, turkey deli meat, stir fry, tuna fillets or albacore tuna. Combine your protein with some whole wheat bread or quinoa. Lastly, have some green beans, mixed veggie salad or beets.
Midday Snack: 2 hours after lunch, from 2 pm but not later than 6 pm
The midday snack is important if you work out during this time. It’s recommended to have your midday snack post-workout, but you can have a protein shake pre-workout as well. Strength training is recommended at this time of the day instead of the morning so you are not too tired for work. Suggested foods are baked chicken breast and cottage cheese combined with whole grain crackers or whole wheat pita bread.
Dinner: From 7 pm but not later than 10 pm
Dinner should be kept lighter than lunch, which means you need to cut down your servings to 2/3. Suggested foods are chicken breast, tilapia, sirloin steak and salmon. Combine this with a full serving of vegetables, such as broccoli, mixed greens or asparagus.
So, if you want to gain muscle, these are the best meal times you should follow.