I agree with Christopher and Bryant. I don’t know of any peer-reviewed research that suggest that the number of meals/day influences lean muscle growth. Simply eating enough of the right kinds of food, and water, and challenging the muscles with at most 12-15RM resistance training appears to be the most effective way to stimulate muscle hypertrophy.
This is based around your lifestyle…
Recent research has been published whether it even matters (how many) vs meeting the daily nutritional need.
When you speak of building lean muscle, “naturally” that occurs with caloric manipulation and good conditioning.
Have a body composition assessment done, find out where you currently stand. This creates a baseline & you can create your timeline from here.
I live by “eat what I want & deny myself nothing” when I’m on my game & walk around @ about 12% BF w/around 175 lbs. of lean muscle almost all year without extra supplements or killing myself on this “new killer” workout everybody is talking about.
When curious I discipline self more test and play with self to offer/gain new insight.
If you combine your conditioning with valid nutritional info & discipline self…watch out world
b good, b healthy
The answers above are a good place to start. We are each different. Try everything until you find what works.
Mac Dodds M.A., CSCS
Lean muscle is promoted through what you eat, but more based on how you workout. You might want to look into new forms of lifting, rep/set ranges and intensity.
Food/meals a day is influenced by how much you eat. Your body moves into a starvation state if you do not feed yourself enough, and can even break down muscle to sustain itself.
The best way to do this is by eating (as mentioned above) 5-6 meals a day with portions based off both body weight and activity level. Be sure to hit all the food groups- try to base it off of the food pyramid. Its generic, but it is because it works.