What I am about to go over may fly in the face of everything you have heard about nutrition, especially if you get it from a bodybuilding magazine, or Instagram/Facebook.

As I said, I just sat down at my desk to write my weekly Coaching Log and I saw the question below:
“I'm a competitive powerlifter with a busy job in IT working from 8 am and finish at 5:30 pm with 30 minutes for lunch. I'd love to be able to eat real food during the day but my boss would be none to happy if I stopped 4 time per day to eat so that's a non-starter.

Currently while at work I drink 4 shakes per day consisting of 150g oats mixed with 100g whey protein and then after work I have an evening meal of whatever I fancy followed by a liter of milk before bed.

I'm just wondering if anyone can come up with any suggestions on how I can eat a more natural diet while at work given the time pressures I have. Note that I currently weigh about 240 lbs. and I'm not looking to gain or lose weight at present.


I was going to ask the person a few questions to formulate a better answer, but I hear stuff like this all the time, especially when going over Nutrition strategies with new clients in our program, the Total Performance Method.

I usually review a lot of information and try and explain it simply. There is a really good example of that here.

Like the title says, I’m about to blow stuff up! Now.

After reviewing Mike’s question and doing some cyphering, I came to the following conclusion:
Mike consumes 150g oats mixed with 100g whey protein four times a day at work.
I’m not sure if he is listing this as the weight in grams or the macro value.
Let’s assume he is using the weight of the foods.
100 grams of whey protein by weight is about 75-80 grams of protein, and 150 grams of oats by weight is about 100 grams of carbs.
This works out to about 320 grams of protein, and 600 grams of carbs for the four shakes.
Now depending on his activity level and goals this could be a perfectly reasonable amount of food for the day, or it could be too much.


I'm about to blow stuff up

Powerlifters need a lot of food!


Either way, let’s blow stuff up.

It sounds like Mike has been programmed to believe that you must eat every three to four hours in order to make the most progress. (NOTE: I am making this assumption-he could just like to eat frequently).

Let’s tackle the every three to four hours myth:

We have been programmed by the media and supplement companies to believe that we must eat every three to four hours or we are sabotaging our results.
We’ve all heard it before; you need to stay in positive nitrogen balance all the time in order to build muscle, or you will burn muscle if you don’t feed every three to four hours, or your blood sugar will drop and you’ll inhibit your ability to build muscle if you don’t or 100 other myths.

Most of this shit comes from bodybuilding magazines. Now, let me be clear, I’m not cracking on bodybuilders.
They know how to build muscle.

They also treat it like a job and work just as hard at nutrition as they do at training.
Another thing about them is that building muscle is pretty much their primary concern.

That is not the primary concern of the majority of non-bodybuilders. In Mikes’ question, he asks for a more natural approach to nutrition for a busy person.
He wants to know how to eat without treating it like a job.

Let’s blow stuff up now:

The human body can go a long time without eating and not burn muscle. In fact, it will burn fat in a caloric deficit first as long as our protein needs are met. We do this all the time with clients.

When I say a long time without eating, I mean a long time.

Look at people who go on hunger strikes. What goes first, muscle or fat?

They burn off all of the excess fat before a substantial amount of muscle wastes away. Yes they do burn muscle, but you’ve got to avoid food for a few DAYS before this happens.
Now think about that.

Mike doesn’t need to go days without food. Neither do you.

Let’s get on board the misinformation train for a minute and say that you will burn muscle if you don’t eat every three to four hours.
Let’s say that you eat at 7:00 am, Noon, 5:00 pm, and then again at maybe 8:00 pm AND you get all of the protein you need.

How much muscle do you think will burn in the massive stretch of time between meals?

A pound?

If you burn any (which you will not), I would say it is not even equivalent to a gram or so.

Your body is not at risk of burning muscle if you don’t eat constantly.

In reality; you can eat when you are hungry and be just fine. We are in an extreme sport and we tend to do extreme things.
Drinking four shakes a day because we are concerned with losing muscle, strength, etc. is majoring in the minors.

Don’t major in the minors.

Here is an easier way for Mike, or you to get in your calories.

Mike lists 320 grams of protein, and 600 grams of carbs plus an evening meal and milk.

If he gets in 400 grams of protein with the milk and the evening meal, he’s at about 1.66 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
That’s a good amount for his weight. He can eat less, or that amount, no big deal.

It may be hard to get all of that protein in without shakes, but it’s possible.
If he eats four times a day he needs about 100 grams per meal, if he eats five times he needs 80 grams.
That’s a lot of protein per meal but it won’t kill him, and he needs a more convenient way to eat.
I’ll suggest that he can do with less.

I'm about to blow stuff up

Candace is strong(her) and jacked and she just eats food.




Anyway, here is a better idea so that he is not drinking all of his calories and actually gets some food.
Remember, food first, supplements second.

Let’s go with five feedings a day.
Eat breakfast.
It’s not hard to get 80 grams of protein. Smash a few eggs, 6 or 7 ounces of steak and some carbs.

Eat lunch, maybe about noon, or when your job allows, or even better, when you’re hungry.
Smash about 10 ounces of meat, a sweet potato and some salad or vegetables and some fruit.

Maybe about 4:00 pm, go ahead and have the same shake.
Have your dinner, similar to the lunch meal.

Before bed, eat again, or have a shake.

Your macros will be very close to what you were doing before and it is not a chore.

There are many more ways to go about this, but the take away message here is that you just don’t have to eat every three to four hours. You can, but it sucks. It’s not convenient for people with jobs, and the best way to have a successful diet/meal plan is to make it easy to follow.

I always tell people to find a feeding schedule that suits your lifestyle.

You also don’t need massive amounts of protein. If you are powerlifting or training strongman you are going to need a lot!
1 gram to 1.5 grams per pound is on the high side, and more than that is often unnecessary.


I'm about to blow stuff up

Russ eats a lot of food, and benches in Doc's.


Find a feeding schedule built around food first and supplements second. Eat when you can. Don’t worry if it’s not every three hours, you will not turn into a skeleton, and you probably will not have any adverse effects.

Remember, at the end of the day, what matters is whether you hit your macros for the day, not when you hit them.

Will you get better results if you work at nutrition like it’s a second job?
Will you add to your daily stress?

Eating should not cause you stress. It should be enjoyable.
Who really enjoys four shakes a day made with oats and powder?

Mike, I hope this helps you!
Ask me a question-Be sure and Type to Murph in the header

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Vincere vel mori

Total Performance Sports