Muscle Up Your Diet

Top 10 Foods Highest in Protein You Can't MissConsistency is the most important factor in achieving your ideal physique. In the gym, it’s about finding a program that delivers the results you want, then having the discipline to stick with it to the end. In your diet, it’s all about getting enough protein, controlling the amount and type of carbs you consume, and avoiding things like refined sugars and artificial ingredients.  But there’s no reason to feel confined to a world of chicken breasts and brown rice. Among the best muscle-building foods are some you may never have heard of, and others you may simply have overlooked, unaware of their anabolic powers.

Protein is a macro nutrient necessary for the proper growth and function of the human body. There is considerable debate over the amount of protein a person needs to consume per day, the current recommended daily intake (RDI) for protein is 46 grams for women aged 19-70, and 56 grams for men aged 19-70. Any excess protein is turned into energy by the body, and it is controversial whether this excess protein causes a strain on the liver. A deficiency in protein leads to muscle atrophy, and impaired functioning of the human body in general. High protein foods include meat, fish, cheese, tofu, beans, lentils, yogurt, nuts, and seeds.

The ADA suggests male endurance athletes get 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, whereas male body builders may need 1.6 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

Building abs and sculpting muscles starts long before you ever hit the gym. Muscle growth requires a formula based on drinking plenty of fluids and eating the right energy-rich foods along with lifting weights. The right formula will fuel workouts, repair muscle tissue, and help you sculpt your physique.

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Nutrition Game Plan

  1. Fruit and vegetables are the foundation of all healthy diets, providing fiber, vitamins, minerals, and fluids. Vegetables contain small amounts of protein.
  2. Low-fat dairy provides high-quality protein, carbs, and essential vitamins such as vitamin D, potassium, and calcium. Sports nutritionists Christine Rosenbloom, PhD, RD, and Nancy Clark, RD, recommend chocolate milk as a good workout recovery beverage. If you are lactose intolerant, you can try yogurt with active cultures.
  3. Lean meat is a great source of protein, iron for oxygen transport to muscles, and amino acids including leucine, which, Rosenbloom says, is thought to be a trigger for muscle growth.
  4. Dark-meat chicken, compared to white meat, provides 25% more iron and three times the zinc for a healthy immune system.
  5. Eggs “contain all of the essential amino acids,” Rosenbloom says. One a day is fine according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, but don’t throw out the yolk. According to Rosenbloom, “Half the protein is in the yolk along with other import nutrients like lutein for eye health.”
  6. Nuts — unsalted and either raw or roasted — are a good source of protein. They also contain vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats.
  7. Beans and whole grains are quality carbs that contain small amounts of protein for energy and muscle repair along with fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.

Timing Is Everything

Timing is critical in muscle development because you need carbs and protein to perform strength training and protein and carbs for muscle recovery. The best plan is to eat a diet containing both nutrients and small amounts of healthy fats throughout the day.

Consuming a protein beverage like chocolate milk within an hour after exercise will give muscle the building blocks it needs when it is most receptive for repair.

If you will be eating a meal within 1-2 hours after a strenuous workout,  you don’t need a snack and can wait for the meal to provide the recovery nutrition.

#1: Fish (Tuna, Salmon, Halibut)

Protein in 100g 3oz Fillet (85g) Protein to Calorie Ratio
26g 22g 1g protein per 4.5 calories

Other fish high in protein per fillet(3oz or 85g): Tuna (22g), Salmon (22g), Halibut (22g), Snapper (22g), Perch(21g), Flounder and Sole (21g), Cod (20g), Tilapia (17g).

#2: Lean Chicken (Chicken Breast)

Protein in 100g 3oz serving (85g) Protein to Calorie Ratio
18.3g 16g 1g protein per 4.6 calories

More Chicken and Turkey: Chicken Leg – Drumsticks (60g) provides 16g protein. Chicken Thigh (37g) provides 9g protein. 3oz serving of Turkey Breast (85grams) provides 26g protein.

#3: Cheese (Non-fat Mozzarella)

Protein in 100g 1oz Slice (28g) Protein to Calorie Ratio
32g 9g 1g protein per 4.7 calories

Other cheese high in protein per ounce(28g): Low-fat Cottage Cheese (5g), Low-fat Swiss Cheese (8g), Low-fat Cheddar (6g), Parmesan (10g), Romano (9g). *Low or Non Fat Mozzarella and Cottage Cheese provide the most protein per calorie, full fat cheeses typically only provide 1g protein per 20 calories, and are less optimal sources of protein.

It takes time and training consistency to build the type of muscles you want. While working out is half the battle, the food you eat is just as important.

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