A "fast metabolism." Just the sound of that phrase makes you visualize a rock hard, fat free body. Having a "fast" metabolism means that you're burning calories efficiently all the time, whether you're resting or training. When you have a slow metabolism, your diet doesn't work as well and even a well designed training program is rendered less effective. Slow metabolism syndrome is why it's possible for a person eating very few calories and "aerobicizing their brains out" to see little or no results. Your mission is clear: find ways to speed up your metabolism and get it revving as fast as possible. This article will show you how.
The practice of eating small, frequent meals - one approximately every three waking hours - is by far the most effective way to speed up your metabolism. It's so effective, in fact, that when you see the results, you may wonder why you've ever had any difficulty losing body fat in the past. After 12 to 16 weeks of strict pre-contest dieting on super clean high protein foods eaten six or seven times a day, competitive bodybuilders often have metabolisms "spinning" so fast, they burn through huge quantities of food - even junk food! (and they just keep getting leaner and leaner). Their bodies become like "human food incinerators," producing enormous amounts of heat and burning off calories at an alarming rate. When frequent eating is combined with the right food choices, your body will literally turn into a turbo-charged fat burning machine! Coincidentally, eating a properly constructed meal every three hours is also the only way to effectively build and maintain muscle. The longer you consistently practice the five to six meal per day discipline, the more muscle you'll develop. The more muscle you develop, the faster your metabolism will become - it's a positive, self-reinforcing cycle.
Why you will never reach your maximum potential without eating five or six meals a day.
Just how important is frequent eating? Well, let me put it this way: Comparing three "squares" to six meals a day is like comparing a 450 horsepower V-10, 8.0 liter Dodge Viper to a four cylinder Honda Civic. There's nothing wrong with a Honda Civic - it will get you where you want to go - eventually - but if you wanted to get somewhere in a hurry, which engine would you rather have? With a top speed of 192 mph, I bet you'd take the Viper wouldn't you? The odds are good that you invested in this program because you want to get results faster and reach your goals sooner. There are limits to how fast you can safely lose body fat, but high meal frequency will allow you to do it as quickly as possible. You can eat the right foods and work out daily but if your metabolism is inefficient it's like swimming upstream and fighting against the current.
I'm not saying you can't get any results on three meals a day - of course you can. A traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner, carefully selected using the guidelines in this program and combined with aerobic and resistance training, will definitely get you some noticeable results. Unfortunately, it will take longer, and if you have any substantial degree of endomorph in your body type mix, it might take much longer. If you have ambitious goals, such as bodybuilding or fitness competition (or if you just want to look like a bodybuilder or fitness model), then five or six meals per day is an absolute requirement.
What is the optimal number of meals? 4, 5, 6, 7... more than 7? ONE or TWO meals a day is a disaster. If you haven't been eating at least three times a day, you are causing serious damage to your metabolism. If you want to get your metabolism back up to speed, read the rest of this chapter very carefully and follow the instructions to the letter.
Eat THREE meals a day, properly balanced with the right nutrition foods, and work out hard and you'll get some results. But...you'll get about half the results you'd get from six meals a day and it will take you twice as long to get there. If you have less than "elite" genetics or a naturally slow metabolism, you may have serious difficulty on only three meals. And if you miss even a single meal, then you're causing metabolic damage.
If you eat FOUR meals a day, making intelligent food choices and combining your foods in the ideal ratios, you'll see substantial results. But you'll only get about sixty or seventy percent of the results you'd get from six meals a day and it will take you longer to get there, if you do get there.
FIVE meals a day? Now we're getting somewhere. Five meals a day will give you good results on a weekly basis. If you're a guy, you could still do better by adding a sixth meal.
SIX small meals a day is the answer! Two simple facts of physiology will explain why: (1) It takes about three hours to digest each meal, and (2) protein (amino acids) lasts about three hours in the bloodstream. If you sleep eight hours per night, that leaves 16 waking hours in the day. Six meals over 16 hours equals one meal every 2.7 hours. If your goal is five meals, then your target is one meal every 3.2 hours. Average it up for simplicity, and that's where the guideline of one meal every three hours comes from.
Five meals a day seems to be the optimal number for women and six meals is ideal for men. The difference is because men require on average, about 600-900 calories per day more than women. So, if five or six meals a day is good, then seven or eight or even ten must be even better, right? Well, not exactly. You could experiment with one extra meal and it might produce slightly better results. However, it takes a minimum of two to two and a half hours to digest a meal, so it doesn't make any sense to eat more than six or seven times per day. If you did, you would only be piling food on top of undigested food. How much you eat isn't as important as how much you fully digest and assimilate. Unless each of your meals was tiny, you also might be eating too many calories for the day.
Extremists that they are, some bodybuilders figure that if five or six meals a day is good, then seven or eight is even better. Heck, some of them even set their alarms and get up in the middle of the night to eat! As in most areas of life, when anything is taken to the extreme, there is a always a point of diminishing returns or even damage. If your goal is to gain muscle and you're that die-hard (dare I say crazy?), then knock yourself out. A light protein meal in the middle of the night might fend off some of the muscle loss that occurs naturally overnight as you sleep. But there's a trade off - uninterrupted sleep is important too. If your number one priority is fat loss, you're better off not eating late in the evening at all, let alone in the middle of the night. Get your zzz's - you're gonna need them with the training program I have in store for you.
This article is an excerpt from Tom Venuto's new manual, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle (BFFM) - Fat Burning Secrets of the World's Best Bodybuilders and Fitness Models. Copyright 2002, by Fitness Renaissance, LLC. How To Quickly And Easily Lose Fat Permanently... Even In Your Mushiest Spots...Without Drugs, Without Supplements, and Without Screwing Up Your Metabolism! Guranteed!