Search AuthorSearch through Articles written by:
AST Product Categories
For many years I, like many of you bodybuilders out there, have concerned myself on a daily basis with making sure I have adequate protein intake throughout the day. Whether it was preparing meals in advance to make sure I could get quality protein meals every two to three hours or walking around looking for a restaurant where I could purchase a protein worthy meal, this was always a concern. Going more than two to three hours without eating protein and a lot of it was unheard of and if it happened I wasn’t too happy about it. Just recently however, I was introduced to the idea of Protein Pulse feeding and after thinking about it for awhile, and reading up on it, it does make some sense. What’s even better about the theory if you buy into it, is that it will probably save you a lot of time and stress thinking about the logistics of eating the right foods so often.
What is Protein Pulse Feeding?
The theory behind pulse feeding stems from a couple studies done on elderly women and their ability to retain a positive nitrogen balance for muscle preservation. Now, you may not be an elderly woman yourself, but the theory can still apply to you at the fundamental level. Here’s how it works. For the majority of your day, you stay just above your fasting state by consuming many small protein based meals throughout the day. Along with that, you work your training time into your daily routine roughly a half hour after your last small protein meal. Once your workout is complete, you have another meal but this time you are aiming to consume approximately 80% of your entire protein intake for the day. After that meal you finish up your day consuming very small amounts of protein at regular intervals until you go to bed for the night.
Does this really work?
I know that this theory flies in the face of the conventional methods used by bodybuilders and I’m not sure that I completely buy into either, but the reasoning behind the theory does make sense so let me share with you what it is. You’ve all heard the saying that too much of anything is never good, and this theory goes along with that. The idea that consuming tons of protein on a regular basis, allows the body to be accustomed to it thereby making the body extremely good at oxidizing protein and the amino acids contained within it, so good in fact to the point that when protein is ingested, it is used up right away and then discarded without really utilizing all that protein has to offer. Much to the contrary, if you follow this pulse feeding regime, your body does not have time to become accustomed to all that protein, and when it is ingested, your body will soak up every last amino acid you’ve given it and waste nothing. The metabolizing process will be much slower and you benefit much more in the end.
What I do now works, why change to something so radical?
Well, my answer to that would be, how do you know it won’t work better? Listen, bodybuilders tend to be creatures of habit, and easily find themselves stuck in a rut, whether it is their training, doing the same exercises all the time, or their nutrition, eating the same things over and over again. The mindset should be to experiment all the time until you find something that works, do it for awhile, and then start experimenting again. Unless you are on a strict dieting regime for a contest, where experimentation actually takes place, especially for your first show, then playing around with your diet during the offseason is exactly what you should be doing. The goal is to find what diet makes your body work as efficiently as possible. Pulse feeding may just do that for you. Give it a try for at least three weeks, spread your small meals throughout the day so you kind of feel hungry all day, then fill up post workout and then continue on with the small meals until bed time. Your results may be staggering and I’m really contemplating trying this myself as well. I know I could use a break from cooking big meals non stop.
An easy way to use this diet would be to make use of protein supplementation. Since the idea is to eat small protein based meals, and stay just above a fasting state, using AST Sports Science’s VP2 Whey Isolate is a perfect choice, as it will be used up quickly by the body, is easy to carry around with you in your shaker cups and contains only the highest quality of amino acids you could possibly want. MUSCLE-XGF is another great choice if you feel you need more time feeling satiated between meals.
After taking a closer look at this theory, it makes sense and I think it’s at least worth giving it a try for a little while. Variety is the spice of life and experimentation in the world of bodybuilding is what gives you an advantage over others as you keep working your routines, training splits and diets until you find one that works for the mean time. Pulse feeding is at least interesting with some real potential to it. I’ll let you know how it works for me as soon as I break the mould I’m currently in!
Arnal MA, Mosoni L, Boirie Y, Houlier ML, Morin L, Verdier E, Ritz P, Antoine JM, Prugnaud J, Beaufrere B, Mirand PP. “Protein pulse feeding improves protein retention in elderly women”. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1999 Jun; 69(6):1202-8.
Arnal MA, Mosoni L, Boirie Y, Gachon P, Genest M, Bayle G, Grizard J, Arnal M, Antoine JM, Beaufrere B, Mirand PP. “Protein turnover modifications induced by the protein feeding pattern still persist after the end of the diets”. American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2000 May; 278(5):E902-9.