Weekly Fat Loss #4 - Structuring Meals
Number 4 in Our Series On Nutrition
Last week, we tracked our meals and calculated our macros based on our average daily caloric intake during weeks 1 and 2. By doing this, we established a target protein and fat goal, while allowing for some flexibility in our carbohydrate intake. To recap:
In week 1, we started tracking our meals
In week 2, we reviewed quality food choices and continued tracking
In week 3, we calculated our macros
This week, our goal is to intelligently structure our meals. As we move through this topic, we will consider the following questions:
Realistically, how many meals fit your lifestyle and goals?
Which meals can you reliably position for breakfast and pre-bedtime?
Which meals can you reliably position for pre- and post-workout?
How much protein should you aim for per meal?
When should you prioritize fat & carbs throughout the day?
Which types of foods best fit these meal choices?
Before Getting Started
Recall the macros & total daily calorie intake of our example athlete from last week. We will use this example throughout the lesson to build out our meals.
When it comes to meal frequency, it's theoretically possible to hit your target macros by eating just one meal per day. However, this approach is neither practical nor ideal for most people.
To reach our target macros realistically and ideally, we need to choose an appropriate meal number by considering a number of factors…
Some factors to consider when choosing meal number:
Personal preference and lifestyle: Some people prefer eating three large meals a day, while others prefer eating smaller, more frequent meals. Your work schedule, family obligations, and other daily commitments can also affect your meal frequency.
Fitness goals: The number of meals you eat can depend on your fitness goals. For example, if you're trying to gain muscle mass, you may need to eat more frequently to support muscle growth. On the other hand, if you're trying to lose weight, you may want to eat fewer meals to create a calorie deficit.
Nutrient timing: Some research suggests that spreading out your meals throughout the day can optimize nutrient absorption and utilization. For example, eating protein before and after a workout may help with muscle recovery and growth.
Ultimately, the best meal frequency for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. Experiment with different meal numbers and see what works best for your body and lifestyle. Your job, family life, and individual needs will all affect how many meals you can feasibly work with per day. However, a range of 3-6 meals per day is typically ideal, all things considered.
For the purposes of our examples, we will use 5 meals as our benchmark.