You can plan out the perfect diet and make sure you’re hitting the gym regularly, but one of the more overlooked aspects of putting together a successful fitness plan is time — for many of us, there’s just not enough of it.

Even the best-laid plans can be torpedoed by a hectic schedule. Meal prepping is great, as bodybuilders and athletes alike will tell you. But when you’ve got places to go, or just a minute or two to eat, it’s not always feasible to eat a high-protein meal. And that’s where meal replacements (or MRPs) come in.

This week we want to give you a few options on MRPs that can keep you building muscle, even when you don’t have time to cook up a chicken breast or tilapia fillet. In truth, most of the time, you’re really only a shaker cup or health bar away from providing your body with adequate nutrition between meals. But first, let’s examine why it’s so important to eat every few hours.

Nutrition and Metabolism article, published in 2012, showed a study examining the important of not just total protein eaten throughout the day, but the importance of frequency of protein intake. Basically, the study showed that eating protein every three hours would yield better results than any other timing interval:

 We conclude that the pattern of ingested protein, and not only the total daily amount, can impact whole-body protein metabolism. Individuals aiming to maximize NB would likely benefit from repeated ingestion of moderate amounts of protein (~20g) at regular intervals (~3h) throughout the day. (Source)

So, with that knowledge, stay tuned this week as we give you some great ideas for filling in those gaps between sit-down meals with the proper calories and protein levels you need to build muscle and lose fat.

  • Athletes put on serious muscle with Gainer7, but it also is a great choice as a healthy meal replacement.

    Athletes put on serious muscle with Gainer7, but it also is a great choice as a healthy meal replacement.

    GAINER 7:  The bottom line for you if you want to add muscle is this: YOU MUST EAT. Many hard gainers make the common mistake of undereating because they don’t want to gain body fat, a reasonable concern. However, take into consideration that you are skinny for a reason! You’re blessed with a fast metabolism and the amount of calories will almost never be an issue as long as the quality of calories is premium. If you’re serious about adding muscle, your workouts will be so intense and you’ll gain enough muscle that you won’t gain significant levels of fat, and that just leaves you with the task of using food for building material. Muscle just doesn’t come from thin air — new tissue needs to come from a source. It’s food, in the form of quality proteins, fats and carbs.

    What GAINER 7 does is provide quality calories in high quantity, making it not just perfect for muscle-building athletes to consume after an intense workout, but also great in a pinch as a meal replacement. Up to 54 grams of protein, 700 calories and 108 grams of carbs (just 7 of them as sugar) make GAINER 7 a smart choice for athletes who need to get some calories in a hurry to break the fast between meals while also providing the protein and nutrients necessary to rebuild muscle and recover.

  • PRO7EIN SYNTHESISSimilar to GAINER 7, PRO7 is a Vitasport shake that delivers fast nutrition in the time it takes to fill up a shaker bottle. The difference is in your goals — if you’re looking to lose fat in a hurry while still building lean muscle mass, PRO7 is a fantastic choice as a meal replacement.With seven different types of protein, all at different absorption rates, PRO7 ensures that you get a quick delivery of muscle-building protein between meals and also sets your body up for anabolic activity for hours to come. You can pair PRO7 with a piece of fruit or a bowl of instant oats, for example, if you are running late in the morning and need a quick breakfast option; PRO7 mixed in fat-free milk right before bed makes for an outstanding anabolic nighttime snack.

    NUTRISHOP recognizes that PRO7 is indeed a popular choice for snacking, and with good reason. The hardest thing about making healthy choices between meals is time (this is why fast food has always made such a killing, right?). NUTRISHOP can provide small canisters and the shaker bottles for you to take on the go to fight that problem!

  • dcc_3dstorerenders_v2_250_compQUEST BARS: In a pinch, nothing’s more convenient for fast nutrition than simply unwrapping a protein bar. The problem with most is that they’re loaded with fillers and unnecessary calories and sugars. You’ll notice NUTRISHOP loads up on one brand in particular though – Quest Bars are among the best choices you can make if you need to go the pre-packaged route. With just 1g of sugar and 20g protein – not to mention 16 g of fiber! – this is a great, nutritionally sound product to have between meals or even as a dessert or snack. Plus, the multitude of available flavors means that you can add some variety to your healthy diet.