5 Best Protein-Rich Foods for Building Muscle
Sticking to a diet that delivers plenty of high-quality protein is as important as hitting the gym if you want to gain muscle mass. Simply put, time spent lifting weights will be wasted if you don’t plan to include protein-rich foods in every snack and meal.
Calculate your protein requirements
Before you decide what to eat, determine how much protein you need to consume each day.
Bodybuilders figure on 0.8-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. This means that if you weigh 160 pounds and want to add muscle without getting heavier, you need to aim for 128-160 grams of protein daily.
Your needs may vary depending on your goals. When working to build muscle while dropping pounds, base your protein requirement on your goal weight instead of your current weight. For example, if you weigh 230 pounds and want to weigh 190 pounds, put together a daily eating plan that delivers 152-190 grams of protein. The same principle holds for a combined weight gain-muscle growth program. Increase your protein intake to match your desired higher body weight.
Protein supplements can make up the difference every now and then, but you should concentrate on eating these five foods in order to give your body a wide variety of essential nutrients.
Beef has always been a favorite of the muscle-building crowd because it’s high in the amino acid creatine. Muscle cells use creatine to function, making high levels of it necessary to get the most from exercise. When buying beef, choose extra-lean cuts such as top round or top sirloin steak.
Six grams of protein are nestled into each egg, and that protein is the kind most easily used by the human body. In fact, egg protein is the standard by which all other dietary proteins are measured.
Lean fish such as haddock, flounder and sole contain less fat than lean meat, but a fattier fish, salmon, has long been a staple for bodybuilders. This is because, in addition to high amounts of protein, fish deliver several essential nutrients for muscle building, including zinc, chromium and selenium.
Chicken is one of the most versatile foods, and its protein is easily digestible. Skinless chicken breasts are the best option for someone looking to drop weight, but any edible part of the bird’s meat and skin can be grilled, baked or fried to serve as the basis of a protein-rich meal.
Servings of low-fat or regular cottage cheese contain high levels of casein, a form of protein that plays an essential role in muscle repair and recovery. Because casein gets digested slowly, cottage cheese makes a great bedtime snack.