High Protein Diet
A high protein diet is commonly recommended for bodybuilders and strength athletes, as well as those who wish to lose fat. Bodybuilders, and those who weight train, will usually consume a high protein diet to aid muscle growth. Protein is also “filling”, reducing cravings for those following a calorie constricted diet as well as boosting the metabolism. This article does not cover any possible hazards from following a high protein diet, with most evidence being inconclusive.
High protein foods
Below is a list of high protein foods:
• Cottage cheese
• Beef steak
• Minced beef
• Minced lamb
• Peanut butter
• Flax seeds
A high protein diet should contain a variety of food sources, allowing for a wide spectrum of nutrients. A written diet should not be religiously followed to the letter, as it is important to consume a wide selection of foods for maximum benefit, and to also avoid boredom with food choices.
Weight trainers, especially bodybuilders, will commonly consume protein supplements to increase their daily protein intake, as well as being much more convenient when at work and travelling. Below is a brief rundown of the most popular protein supplements:
• Whey protein – This is a fast acting protein source, commonly taken post workout when a fast digesting protein is desired. Whey isolate is of higher quality than whey concentrate due to being more refined, but is also more costly. Whey concentrate would suffice for most, with the difference between isolate and concentrate being minimal for the average gym goer.
• Vegetarian proteins, such as soya and pea protein – Some bulk suppliers offer these powders, which are suitable for vegetarians. Pea protein has a good amino acid profile, and soya contains all ten essential amino acids. Worth a look for the vegetarian bodybuilder or athlete.
• Casein protein – A much slower digested protein compared to whey, making it an ideal protein source for during the day, or just before times of little or no food intake such as before bed. Some protein supplements contain a blend of whey and casein at a ratio of 1 to 5, the same as in milk.
• Meal replacement (MRP) – a quality meal replacement contains a protein blend, a quality carbohydrate source, dietary fats, and micronutrients. MRPs offer a great solution for those who find it difficult to consume a meal when out and about. The powder is mixed with water (or milk), and can be mixed in a shaker (some products are difficult to mix in a shaker and require a blender – ask on a good supplement forum before purchasing a MRP to gather feedback from previous and current users).
Sample high protein diet for a bodybuilder
Wholesome foods should be consumed where possible for a bodybuilder, with supplements used when real food is inconvenient or not possible. High quality protein foods should be consumed, such as the ones listed above. Quality complex carbohydrates, essential dietary fats, and plenty of fruit and veg should also be consumed. As mentioned earlier, the following high protein diet should not be stuck to religiously, rather is should serve as a sample to demonstrate food choices and timings. Serving sizes are not shown as meal sizes and content should be adjusted to suit goals and individual preferences.
2 slices of granary bread with an olive oil spread (can be toasted)
Omelette using 3 egg whites and one whole egg
Item of fruit
Serving of quality MRP
Large serving of salad
Item of fruit
5:30pm – weight train
40g Whey protein
Lots of veg