Fitness people have this weird tendency to take whatever their “thing” is and apply it as the master key to everything. That’s rarely the case. If you’re at a point where you’re ready to start looking at some meal timing strategies, it’s important to first take a hard look at what your goal is. Meal timing is going to look different for someone who is trying to drop 50 pounds of fat than it will for someone trying to gain 20 pounds of muscle. Let me provide you with an example of each so you get the point.

Hunger is a common problem for people trying to drop some body fat. Let’s call our friend trying to lose weight here Sharon. You see, Sharon, digestion takes place in the stomach, and absorption takes place in the small intestine. The process of moving the foods you eat from the stomach to the intestine is different for each food. Protein and fiber, for instance, take a long time, and therefore make a person feel full for longer periods of time. Foods like carbohydrates and liquids move through this process relatively quickly, and therefore do not satisfy hunger for as long. Therefore, one strategy Sharon can implement when it comes to meal timing would be to focus on high-protein and high-fiber foods at the times of day she finds herself most hungry.

On the other hand, a guy who gets picked on for his skinny size and always losing backyard wrestling matches (let’s call him Rick) isn’t going to struggle so much with hunger. He may, actually, have the opposite problem where he feels he can’t eat enough to gain some size. He is likely wrecking himself in the gym. For this guy, protein is a huge deal. He’s tearing down his muscles with those grueling workouts, and he needs significantly more than Sharon does to reach his goal of adding muscle. Rick needs to have protein before bed so that his body has what it needs to keep making repairs as he sleeps, and he needs some when he gets up so the process can continue optimally.

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