St. Ignatius College Preparatory

San Francisco’s Jesuit School since 1855

Never Get Hungry

A summary of Dr. Dan Benardot's presentation at the National Strength Coaches Association 2004 Sport-Specific Training Conference

When and how often you eat is just as important as what and how much you eat.

“Nearly every study conducted on athletes shows they do not eat or drink enough. To make matters worse, the traditional approach of ensuring that energy consumed equals energy expended during the course of a (24 hour) day gives a limited picture of what is really happening metabolically.” Dr. Benardot elaborates that “[A] person isn't in perfect balance over the entire 24 hours, even though they may end up in perfect balance at the end of 24 hours.” “ The longer you go without eating, the more likely you are to have more body fat and less muscle.”

Dangers of Energy (caloric) Deficits

“If you want to build muscle mass, you can't put yourself in an energy (caloric) deficit during the day. Your body will catabolize (break down) your muscle [for fuel] .” By going too long without eating, you:

Increase the insulin response to food and create more fat.

Slow down your metabolism.

Increase the amount you eat at one time; store more of what you eat as fat.

Lose lean mass.

Manage your fueling schedule, manage your weight.

If you want to gain muscle mass, you should never go hungry. Frequent eating (at least 6 times / day) helps maintain:

Metabolic rate

Good energy (caloric) balance

Lower body fat

Lower weight (if desired)

Higher caloric intakes (if desired)

Lower serum lipids (cholesterol)

Improved glucose tolerance

For more information on nutrition and weight management, click here.

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