This has got to be one of the most common questions I get regarding nutrition.

Pretty much every weight gain guide contains a meal frequency section where they tell you you should basically forsake your social life and responsibilities in order to stay in the kitchen and eat every 2.5-3 hours as if it’s an unbreakable rule.

But is it really?

The Real Key To Weight Gain

energy balance

Luckily for us that “rule” is no more true than the myth that meal frequency speeds up metabolism.

Anyone who knows a damn about the subject will tell you that what really determines whether you gain weight or not is your energy balance.

So if you want to gain weight what’s important is that you have a positive energy balance or simply put, you need to consume more calories than you burn.

It really is that simple.

So let’s look at an example:

Let’s say you’re a moderately active 180 pound male and as such your TDEE(Total Daily Energy Expenditure) is 2900 calories.

Since you want to gain weight, you decide to consume 3400 calories a day for a surplus of 500 calories.

And now, the million dollar question:

Does it really matter if you consume those 3400 calories in 5-6 meals or in 3?

And the answer is a resounding “no”.

As long as you eat those 3400 calories every single day it doesn’t matter if you eat them in 5-6 meals or in 3 – you will gain weight.

But that’s not the end of the story…

Why You Still Might Want To Eat Every 3 Hours

By now you’re probably thinking:

“Mitko, didn’t you just say meal frequency doesn’t matter?”

Well, yes and no.

While it is true that what determines weight gain is your energy balance, the problem that most guys who’re struggling to gain weight have, is that they can only eat so many calories in one sitting.

See, if you’re a 145 pound male at 6′ tall, you can easily consume enough food to grow in 3 meals, but if you weigh 220 pounds that might not be so easy.

So while eating calorie dense foods and taking supplements for their convenience can certainly help reduce meal size, you still might want to spread out your caloric needs over 5-6 meals.

After all, your stomach has it’s limits.

In conclusion:

While you don’t need to sacrifice your social life to build a more muscular body, meal frequency is just another tool in your weight gain arsenal.

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