When it comes to our bodies, many people seem to agree that a lean and muscular physique is the absolute ideal and is a look that many people strive to emulate and aim for when trying to improve their bodies.
As you may or may not be aware, building muscle and losing fat is a complex procedure that requires a vast amount of hard work, dedication, patience, sacrifice, and knowledge.
We know that you have to hit the gym hard to make any real noticeable gains, muscle-wise, but as well as the training and physical aspect part of things, there is also the diet and nutritional side to consider.
Bodybuilding and building muscle in general is considered to be a combination of around 30% training, and 70% diet and nutrition, so that right there should tell you all that you need to know about the sheer importance of getting your diet right when looking to build muscle.
Take protein for example. Protein is absolutely vital for our muscles, as it helps with the growth and repair of muscle tissue, allowing our bodies to regenerate new muscle tissue following each training session.
A person looking to reap the muscle building benefits associated with protein, should be aiming for between 1 – 1 ½ grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.
So, a 200 pound individual would need between 200 and 300 grams of protein a day to really reap the benefits. But where do they get this protein from?
Well, there are a number of various foods that are ideal protein sources, and some of them may even surprise you a little.
Here are just six of the absolute best sources of protein:
Eggs are a great source of protein at all times of the day, particularly in the morning so breakfast, and for that reason, they should be included in your everyday diet if you really want to maximise your protein intake.
Forget what people say about egg yolks and cholesterol, because in order for the yolks to run the risk of raising your cholesterol levels, you’d need to be consuming at least 20 a day, which you most definitely do not want to be doing.
4 – 6 per day is perfectly adequate, and if you are worried about the fat content, lose a couple of yolks.
A typical average sized egg will contain between 5 and 7 grams of protein, so 2 or three will already have you well on your way to your RDA of protein.
Chicken and turkey
If you’re a meat eater and you’re looking to build muscle, then you need to get used to the fact that many of your meals will include skinless chicken or turkey meat.
They’re both virtually fat-free, and are both fantastic sources of protein that can, and will, go with almost anything.
They contain minerals and B vitamins, making them both great sources of protein, and with 10 grams of protein per 30 grams in weight, it’s no wonder these two meats are so popular amongst bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts.
Cottage cheese is another great source of protein that is virtually fat-free, making it an ideal snack choice amongst keen fitness enthusiasts looking to bulk up.
100 grams of cottage cheese will provide roughly 15 grams of protein, so it’s an ideal late-night snack to consume before bed to prevent your body from going into a catabolic (muscle wasting) state whilst you sleep.
If you’re looking for a low fat, low carbohydrate food that is packed full of protein, as well as a number of minerals as well, then fish is absolutely ideal.
Some fishes, salmon for instance, contain “healthy” fats such as omega 3 fatty acids that the body absolutely loves, whilst others are virtually completely fat-free.
It is far easier to digest than other meats, with 100 grams of fish providing you with around 18 grams of protein, it’s a great alternative to other meats.
Many white fish sources, cod or haddock for example, are also extremely cheap, which is also a nice added bonus.
If you thought that protein was only found in eggs and meat then you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that quinoa is a fantastic source of whole grain vegetarian protein that costs virtually nothing and goes with almost anything.
100 grams of quinoa contains around 5 grams of protein, which isn’t a huge amount, but when combined with other foods, cottage cheese for example, can really help to up your protein intake.
It’s also a great source of dietary fibre and B vitamins too, so it’s extremely good for you.
Whey protein is basically a powdered protein supplement that is derived from milk. Protein powder supplements are the most popular sports supplements in the world, and they’re absolutely ideal for ramping up your protein consumption on a daily basis.
One single serving will provide you with over 30 grams of protein, or around 37 if you mix it with milk as opposed to water.
Whey protein powders are great for consuming immediately following your workouts, as that is when you will benefit the most from them, but make sure you don’t rely on them too much, because although they’re great as they contain vitamins, minerals, and proteins, they’re still no substitute for real food.