Monday, October 14, 2002

Several small meals better
than two large ones



By David Patania

Question: I am a 19-year-old college student and only eat twice a day because of classes and baseball practice. I eat big meals at 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., but it seems my stomach is getting bigger and my arms smaller. What's going on?

Answer: Your eating habits are not good enough to support all of your activities. You need to eat more frequently and eat higher quality foods.

When you wake up, you need to eat a balanced meal or have a protein shake if you are not a morning eater. This will take care of you until your 11 a.m. meal. At about 1 p.m. you need to munch on a protein bar - just throw a few of them in your backpack and eat them whenever you are hungry. At 3 or 4 p.m. you probably have baseball practice, so grab a bar whenever you can during that time period. By the time 6:30 rolls around you won't have to eat huge amounts to satisfy you.

When you have too long between meals (in your case, seven hours), you force your body to slow its metabolism, which makes your body more efficient at storing what foods you do eat as fat rather than for energy production. This is why your stomach area may be getting bigger.

This is magnified if the the foods you are eating are not high-quality foods, so eat meals of such things as grilled chicken breast, steamed veggies, oatmeal, brown rice, potatoes. Snack on fruit once in a while.

By adding easy-to-carry protein shakes, bars and snacks, such as rice cakes and fruit, you can balance out your meals to give your body the nutrients that it needs to perform at optimum levels.

By having five or six small, balanced, high-quality meals per day, you can pack on serious lean muscle mass and definition. With solid nutrition as your foundation, you should hit the weight room with serious focus and you will have the nutrients and energy that will allow you to work harder to get those arms bigger and that stomach smaller.

Contact certified personal trainer Dave Patania by e-mail: davpatania@aol.com.



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