Our workout goals are all different. Some of us are fitness minded, whereas others just want to be active. If your goal, however, is to build lean muscle, then adopting a diet high in protein is the way to go. There’s no secret to reducing body fat while building muscle, and you might get sidetracked by those miracle solutions that pop up every now and then. However, if you focus on your protein intake, you’ll see consistent results. Here’s our guide to getting lean with a high protein diet.

1. Eat small and often…

It might be ingrained in your mind that you should eat three balanced meals per day, but this is an old idea that doesn’t really work for modern bodies. The key to building a lean body is to eat small, high protein meals often throughout the day, optimally aiming for five to seven meals. By doing this, you are helping modulate your blood sugar levels, so you’ll have optimal energy throughout the day. You’ll also be helping your digestion, so that’s a real bonus.

2. Ensure your protein intake is quality…

Your optimal protein intake is dictated by your activity level, overall body size and your goal body size. Some guides will tell you to time your protein intake around your workout, while others will focus on the types of protein you consume. However, the rule of thumb for consistent gains is to consume 1-1.5 grams of quality protein per pound of ideal body weight, and you can learn more about optimizing this. Keeping an eye on your carbohydrate intake at the same time can help increase your lean physique.

3. Optimize protein absorption…

It’s no good boosting your protein intake if your body can’t absorb it properly. In fact, without adding supplements to your diet, your body is probably only absorbing about 8-10 grams of protein per hour. You’ll absorb about 20 grams of protein from the 60 gram protein shake you just drank and the rest is wasted. Why bother? Well, by adding supplements to your diet, you can increase the absorption of your protein. Probiotics are especially good for this purpose, but you can also try betaine HCL and pepsin.

4. Increase leanness with BCAAs…

Branded chain amino acids are a class of essential amino acids including leucine, isoleucine and valine. About 35% of your body’s muscle protein consists of these amino acids, so you can see why they are so important for you to consume. Essential amino acids cannot be produced by your body, so your only source of them is through your food. When you supplement your diet with a high level of BCAA you can often see huge gains within three to five weeks. These amino acids function by regulating protein synthesis, but can also be used as sources of energy themselves, so there is a ton of benefits from increasing these in your diet.

5. Rotate your proteins…

If you’re body building, your diet already includes protein in every meal. But did you know that by consuming the same protein over and over again, you can induce food allergies? This is really common in people working on building lean muscle, as the most common protein-rich foods are beef, chicken and tuna. Increasing the variety of proteins in your diet and rotating the protein each meal can really help you finesse your muscle mass. You should rotate between fish or beef, whey proteins and egg proteins every three days to increase your energy levels and reduce your tolerance to each different protein.

By ensuring your protein intake is varied and that you take the appropriate supplements to increase the way you absorb protein, you can ensure that every meal you make can make a difference. Working towards a lean physique can be a challenge, but the gains you get and the energy you create can increase your overall health and fitness level. Optimizing your absorption, adding BCAAs to your diet, and rotating your quality proteins over small, frequent meals is the key to building a strong, lean body.

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