Recent studies suggest that proper meal planning is important and that by consuming frequent meals’at least six per day’athletes can limit muscle-protein breakdown. p> Studying nitrogen retention and amino acid absorption into the bloodstream, scientists have found that your body lives and breathes to maintain what’s called a free amino acid pool, which can be described as a small tank of amino acids that help repair and rebuild muscle tissue. When you don’t take in adequate amounts of protein, however, the amino acids in the tank begin to be used up. p> The body starts looking for some way to refill the tank, and it breaks down existing muscle tissue to sustain the right ratios among the amino acids. The real problem is that the free amino acid pool must be totally replaced about six times a day.1
‘George L. Redmin, Ph.D., IRONMAN’s Ultimate Guide to Bodybuilding Nutrition
1 Nettl, F. How to do Your Protein Arithmetic. Carson City, Nevada: Xipepress. 1995.