High protein diet and foods for muscle building

High protein diets have always been popular with athletes. Their..

High protein diet and foods for muscle building

High protein diets have always been popular with athletes. Their popularity increased tenfold during the past 5 years with the introduction of the low carb type diets to the public that include high protein foods.

Regular people who do not exercise can eat moderately high protein foods.

On the other hand athletes and people on muscle building diets must eat at least 1 gram per lb of bodyweight in order to build muscle.

A high protein diet is the staple of bodybuilders. Bodybuilding athletes always include a high protein food source in their daily diet.

High protein foods you can include in your diet are:

Turkey breast Chicken breast Lean cuts of red meat Lean cuts of pork Fish (most fish is high in protein) Eggs & Egg Whites Skim Milk Low fat cottage cheese Protein powders & bars

Whether you are going for muscle building or fat loss, a high protein diet plan can certainly help you either way.

If you are trying to build muscle, you need a high protein intake in your daily diet in order to recover from workouts and build muscle tissue.

Protein provides the building blocks for muscle and without it muscle building and growth simply will not occur.

During weightlifting and hard training, muscle tissue is broken down. In order for that muscle tissue to be rebuilt and grow stronger, we need to eat a diet high in protein. It’s pretty simple.

If fat loss is one’s goal, a high protein diet is also an absolute must. Most high protein foods are very low in carbs and saturated fats.

Therefore by eating high protein foods in your diet, you also also eating quality low calorie foods. In order to accelerate the fat loss process, reducing carbs and overall calories is usually recommended. High protein foods can help you in achieving that.

An average person who trains hard and weighs 180lbs requires a minimum of 180grams of protein in his diet per day.

This means at least 1gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. Anything less and muscle building/recovery will not be optimal. Some hard training athletes consume up to 2 grams of protein per lb of bodyweight in order to accelerate the muscle building process.

This is not recommended for most people who require a moderately high protein intake.

The total amount of protein taken every day should be spread over 5 to 6 meals throughout the course of a day.

Timing of high protein foods is also very important.

You should be consuming high protein foods at all times but more for your breakfast, post workout meal and before-bed meal. Start your high protein daily diet by giving your body good quality protein to start the day.

Then, right after your workout, consume a protein shake that will help kick start the muscle repairing process.

Last but not least you have your before bed meal where you must consume a slow digesting form of protein (casein mostly) that will give you a steady release of high quality amino acids throughout the night.

Eating high amounts of protein in your diet can be very demanding.

It requires a lot of time to cook high protein foods like chicken and turkey. The best way to get all of your protein is to use protein powders. Protein powders are extremely high in protein and they are very convenient to use.

Just one small scoop of protein can provide 20-24 grams of the highest quality protein available. Make sure you choose your high protein supplements wisely. Do not get caught up in the marketing frenzy of magazines.

A tub of high quality protein should not cost you more than £30 at any given time.

If you decide to embark upon a high protein diet, make sure you include a lot of vegetables and fibrous carbs with your meals in order to help protein digestion.

Try to eat at least two salads per day and/or steamed vegetables. Furthermore, try to stay consistent with your high protein diet, day in day out, in order to keep a steady influx of aminos to your muscles.

Always remember that if you are not eating enough protein & calories in your diet, your body will use existing muscle tissue to repair itself.

We’ve selected our top high-protein foods below – ranking them based on their protein content per 100g :

Beef jerky

Keep some dried, cured pieces of lean beef in your gym bag for a meaty hit of protein and creatine anytime you need it. Check the ingredients, though – some types have an obscene amount of added sugar.

Protein content: 72g

Tuna steak

The chicken of the sea is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, among other valuable nutrients. It’s far more meaty and flavoursome than the canned version (with a price to match) and can be served rare, or even just seared.

Protein content: 31g


The, er, tuna of the land has a good level of protein. If you’re watching your fat intake, make sure to go for breast rather than legs or thighs.

Protein content: 30g

Pork chops

These cuts are great sources of selenium, an essential mineral that’s linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer. There is five times more selenium in pork chops than in similar cuts of beef.

Protein content: 28g

Canned tuna

A can of tuna in spring water contains approximately 111 calories and is completely fat-free.

Protein content: 25g


The pink flesh of salmon contains loads of omega 3 fatty acids that make it great for a range of things from eye health to fat burning. Ditch the bacon and have this with your eggs in the morning for a healthier start to your day.

Protein content: 24g


This fish is remarkably cheap if you buy the canned kind, and it doesn’t skimp on protein content either. Delivering plenty of omega 3 fats and vitamin D, sardines are also great for boosting testosterone. 

Protein content: 21g per can


A good source of easily absorbed zinc, iron and selenium, which all help to boost your body’s immune system.

Protein content: 20g


This bird is high in protein, low in fat and a good source of vitamin B6 and niacin, both of which are essential for regulating your body’s energy production.

Protein content: 19g


Cheap and convenient in canned form, mackerel also provides high levels of brain-boosting vitamin B12.

Protein content: 19g

Cashew nuts

King of the nuts protein-wise, cashews also have a high level of antioxidants, which according to the British Journal Of Nutrition are essential for good heart health.

Protein content: 17g

Brazil nuts

A mere 3-4 nuts will provide your entire RDA of selenium, a nutrient that plays a key role in keeping colds at bay during winter. Fun fact: the tree itself can grow to 50m in height and live for up to 1,000 years.

Protein content: 14g


You should be eating more wholegrains anyway, so quinoa’s protein content is the perfect excuse for adding it to your diet. It’s perfect for vegans, as well as being free of fat and gluten.

Protein content: 14g

Cottage cheese 

These curds are laced with slow-digesting casein protein that will supply your growing muscles with a steady supply of amino acids that are vital for muscle growth. It can be quite high in sodium though, so be sure to check labels and go for the brands that contain less. 

Protein content: 14g 

Greek yogurt

Greek (not Greek style) yogurt is packed full of healthy bacteria and enzymes that do wonders for your digestive health.

Protein content: 10g


They’re a New Year’s Eve speciality in Italy and Hungary, but given their crucial ability to turn carbs into fuel, we’d recommend indulging in them all year round.
Use them to thicken meaty stews and salads.

Protein content: 8g


One of the earliest cultivated legumes, dating back 7,500 years in the Middle East, chickpeas are particularly rich in folate, a B vitamin that helps to support and maintain a healthy nervous system. Use them blended with lemon, fresh garlic and tahini in delicious DIY hummus.

Protein content: 8g

Kidney Beans

A 200g serving – half a regular can – provides over 50% of your GDA of fibre, which plays a key role in healthy digestive function. Use them in a chilli con carne topped with Greek yogurt and fresh coriander.

Protein content: 8g

Peanut butter 

It’s still the best kind of nut-based spread for sheer protein content, despite the increasing popularity of almond butter. Try to go for the organic versions, which pack in more nuts and far less sugar and fatty oil. 

Protein content: 8g per spoonful


Manganese is used to strengthen bones and metabolise carbs, amino acids and cholesterol, and you get 184% of your RDA from 100g of tofu.

It also has 24g of unsaturated fats, which makes it a perfect post-gym protein source because, according to a study in the Journal Of The American College of Cardiology, eating unsaturated fats after exercise increases the blood flow in your arteries by 45%, encouraging more anti-inflammatory agents to rush to your muscles.

Protein content: 8g


Daniel Messer, RNutr, CPT

We eat clean, are always motivated and helpout beginners in need. We sell guides on Cutting, Bulking and Muscle Building. Checkout our website!

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