The timing of the six meals in this nutrition plan will help determine muscle growth. The postworkout meal is the single most important variable in this equation. Following an intense training session, the body undertakes special metabolic processes during which the absorption and utilization of carbs and proteins are especially critical. If you fail to eat (even if it's just a protein shake ) within about 45 minutes of training, you're destined to enter the dreaded catabolic state (a condition that inhibits growth and retards recovery). Instead of reaping the benefits of your workout, you will have now set the scene for muscle breakdown.