How Much Food Should You Eat?

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This is a question that we ask ourselves all the time, regardless of where we stand in terms of fitness. If you’re a beginner, it becomes even more confusing. There are a ton of food, nutrition and diet options out there. How much should you actually be eating?

How Much Food Should I Be Eating

Hopefully not as much as dear ol’ Bombur here

(Side note: This article is catered for men. So, if you’re a woman, and you’re interested in what hairy, nose digging, beer drinking, dragon slaying, knights donned in shining armor men eat, keep on reading!)

As always, at Herosapien we are all about simplicity. So, here’s a rule that we love:

Don’t bother with measuring how many calories you are eating!

It is a tedious, time consuming, boring process that absolutely saps the fun out of eating. I have never done it, and have no intention of ever doing it. Plus, I hate numbers.

How Much Food Should I Be Eating

1g of protein per pound of body weight? What’s that? I’ll let a supergenius like Tony handle all of that math. I’m just here to eat.

If you feel the same as me, then great news! Here’s a very simple guideline to go about eating: It uses your own hand as a measuring tool.

How Much Food Should I Be Eating

Here’s a simple yet excellent image from lifekitchen: http://tinyurl.com/j42nrko

And here’s another from PrecisionNutriton: http://tinyurl.com/jw9hfa6

How Much Food Should I Be Eating

Those hands..they look so real. Are you sure they aren’t computer graphics?

As a guy, and assuming an average diet of 4 meals per day, you should be eating twice of whatever you see in this diagram at each meal, i.e. Two palms of protein, two cupped handfuls of carbs, two fistfuls of vegetables, and two thumb sized portions of fat.

If you’re bigger, the size of your palm will be bigger, and if you’re smaller, your palm will be smaller.

How Much Food Should I Be Eating

Now you know why the Hulk’s hands are so huge. He needs to eat, ALOT. Especially when compared to Parker’s puny hands.

There are two important points to note here:

  • All of this acts merely as a guideline. As unique individuals with vastly different body types, we will all have differing food intakes. But, it is a very good starting point nonetheless
  • The amount of food recommended here is for a sedentary lifestyle or weight maintenance only. With exercise or an active job, it is very likely that food intake will have to be altered and increased

In line with the last point, if you’re looking to gain lean mass, you could throw in another thumb of fat or cupped handful of carbs for a few of your meals, especially those consumed post-workout.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to cut down on body fat, you could remove a thumb of fat or a cupped handful of carbs for a few meals.

 

Level 2 Eating Techniques

As I mentioned, all of us having very different body types, thus causing our individual intakes to be unique and different.

(If you’re interested in getting an idea of what your body type may be, I wrote an article about it here. You should definitely check it out to get a better understand of the next segment! And also because…knowledge is power. But, in a nutshell, if you’re too lazy, your body is basically categorized into 3 different body types that help you in customizing your diet.)

Nevertheless, simplicity is still the key here, and I have no intention of suggesting to you to measure your intake down to the caloric digit. Instead, what we are going to do, is change around some of those fists, palms and thumb measurements.

How Much Food Should I Eat

And no, I don’t mean the lighting quick ones from the Legendary Ip Man.

Ectomorph

If you’re a Spiderman, Nightwing-ish body type:

  • You typically have a very high metabolic rate
  • You fidget often, and seem to always be bursting with energy, burning off a good quantity of calories due to constant movement throughout the day
  • You also are able to tolerate carbs well (damn you ectomorphs)
How Much Food Should I Be Eating

Damn you Spidey..able to eat all those sweet delicious dogs without getting fat.

Thus, you generally perform better with more carbs in your diet, with a medium amount of protein and lower levels of fat. Here’s what a meal more suited to the typical Ectomorph might look like:

  • 3 cupped handfuls of carbs
  • 2 palms of protein
  • 2 fists of vegetables
  • 1 thumb of fat

And that’s merely it, transferring one portion of fat into one portion of carb. Simple, sweet, easy.

Endomorph

If you’re a Juggernaut Bane-ish body type:

  • You’re naturally less active, causing any excess calories to be stored as fat
  • You’re built more for power than speed
  • You have a slower metabolic rate and your body generally doesn’t tolerate carbs very well
How Much Food Should I Be Eating

Who cares that you can’t eat as many doughnuts as your friends, when you can toss them around like ragdolls?!

Thus, you generally perform better with less carbs, but a higher intake of fat and protein. Here’s what a meal more suited to the typical Endomorph might look like:

  • 1 cupped handful of carbs
  • 2 palms of protein
  • 2 fists of vegetables
  • 3 thumbs of fat

Simple, right? Just transferring one portion of carb into one of fat.

Mesomorph

If you’re a Captain America, Wolverine-ish body type:

  • You typically have a high proportion of lean mass
  • Your body is dominated by testosterone and growth hormones (you’re essentially a Wolverine, body hair and gruff included)
  • You’re able to gain muscle easily and stay lean
How Much Food Should I Be Eating

Yea…that’s what you look like, you testosterone driven fur ball of muscle.

Thus, you generally do best on a mixed diet with a balance from all sources of nutrients. A meal for an endomorph would thus follow what we already showcased to you, the average diet:

  • 2 cupped handfuls of carbs
  • 2 palms of protein
  • 2 fists of vegetables
  • 1 thumb of fat

And that’s about it for how much you should eat!

However, at this point I’m sure your next question would be “How often should I eat?”

This seems like a whole other question and article altogether, but is really simple in nature. As always, there is no reason to over complicate things.

How Often Should I Eat?

Here’s how often you should eat:

Eat whenever you want!

That might come across as a shocker. Good! Because whatever advice that you’ve gotten over the years about the importance of meal frequency is just not very accurate.

What’s far more important than meal frequency is eating the right foods in the right amounts.

In other words, meal frequency can and should just be a matter of personal preference.

How Much Food Should I Be Eating

That’s right! Even if you’re in the middle of a demonic dungeon, wearing nothing but a pot on your head, if you feel hungry, it’s time to eat!

Using myself as an example, I have not eaten breakfast for the past 7 years, and it hasn’t had any adverse effects on me. I consume only 2 big meals a day, with fruits after dinner.

On the opposing end, I have friends that eat 5-6 meals a day, in much smaller quantities for each meal, and have smashing bodies.

If you’ve been eating a large or small number of meals your whole life, there is no reason to change that and upset your whole routine. Instead, what should be tackled is the amount of food consumed in each meal.

The explanations in the first half of this article about how much you should eat runs with the assumption of 4 meals per day. So if you deviate from this number, then just mix it up a bit. Add one more portion of fat into one meal, one more portion of carb into another, or do the reverse and minus them off if you eat more than 4 meals.

As an added note, all that stuff going around about whether to eat carbs at breakfast or dinner, really doesn’t matter (unless you’re a serious competitor). In the grand scheme of things, our body isn’t going to store more fat by eating a doughnut at night than in the morning. If you think about it, it really makes no sense whatsoever, and all research thus far has been anecdotal and inconclusive at best.

 

How Much Food Should I Be Eating

 

And that’s a wrap! I hope this guide helped you out in how much you’re supposed to eat.

If there’s one takeaway from all of this, don’t over complicate the process, and have fun eating good food!

As always, if you’ve any questions at all, feel free to fire away. We were all beginners once, and there’s no such thing as a stupid question!

Interested in training together with me? Click HERE to get in touch with me, and I’ll be more than happy to meet you!

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