When is the Best Time to Eat for Maximum Muscle Gain?
In my local gym I frequently see these two lanky youngsters who constantly climb onto the scale. They weigh themselves, do a few sets, then immediately head straight to the scale to weigh themselves again. Some raw foodists just as badly want to gain some muscle.
We all know that muscles are gained in a gym, laboring hard at the weights, not in a kitchen. But what you eat, and especially when you eat it, can be powerful determining factors in your success in gaining muscle—acutely so for raw foodists.
To maximize growth, you must activate the hormones that stimulate growth. Hormonal stimulation is the switch that turns on the anabolic process, and this very switch gets flipped whenever you fast.
Fasting, even short term, as in Quantum Eating, sends a ‘starvation’ signal perceived by the body as catabolic. To compensate for the “missing” food and to protect itself from metabolic breakdown, the body will boost its anabolic activities, spontaneously increasing its capacity to assimilate protein and other nutrients in order to ensure maximum nutrient utilization from minimum food. At the cellular level, a most powerful factor is activated during the non-eating part of the day. Studies on growth hormone reveal a positive correlation between hunger and stimulation of this tissue-building hormone.
Activate and Reactivate Anabolic States
Our ancestors cycled between periods of undereating, when food was scarce, and periods of overeating, when food was abundant. The human body has become well adapted to withstand periods of little or no eating. When you don’t eat during the latter part of the day, you trigger a primal biological mechanism that helps your body adapt to food deprivation and better survive in times of hardship. Alternating periods of eating and no-eating, combined with regular exercise, will force your body to activate and reactivate anabolic states. The body is pushed into break and repair cycles. As a result, your body rejuvenates and improves itself.
Exercised on an empty stomach, the body triggers an anabolic potential that will turn into actual repair and growth of muscle tissues after a good raw nutritional meal. Keep in mind the body repairs and grows muscles when in the state of rest.
Quantum Eating Plan for Muscle Gain
On the Quantum Eating program, you eat all your daily food ration between 6 AM and 2 to 3 PM, then you don’t eat for some 17 or 18 hours. Your body is perfectly equipped to function between fast and feast modes. The greatest advantage of this method is that it forces the body to detox daily. Anti-aging bonus: The recycling of broken cells and proteins delivers an overall rejuvenation of tissues. Liver detoxification is critical for the proper production of steroid hormones and the proper metabolism of food for energy and growth.
Exercise... Then Eat
My rule: Exercise…then eat. Exercising before a meal is win-win. Exercise on an empty tummy, and you stimulate an anabolic state, forcing your body to do two things…One: Burn fat—with no calories at the ready, there’s nothing to burn but fat. Two: You’re inhibiting fat production. Recover from this bit of bodily stress with a nutritious raw food meal afterward, a meal that will replenish your energy reserves, adding the nutrients needed for muscle repair and muscle growth. For the chemists in the crowd, note that all these functions are regulated by the cellular factor cyclic guanine monophosphate (cGMP), which you’re adding when you eat vegetable carbohydrates.
You’ll find even a nice little psychological effect in the exercise-then-eat plan: You’ll enjoy your meal even more, because you’ve earned it! Keep up the plan…exercise, then eat…be sure you’re consuming a sensible raw food diet with plentiful protein and all the vitamins and minerals you should get, and there’s no reason you can’t maintain and build healthy muscle tissue aplenty. Learn more in my book Quantum Eating, now in it's 2nd Edition.