Protein is one of the most important nutrients for a strength-training program. Anyone with experience in bodybuilding will tell you that you have to consume protein throughout the day to achieve significant results. Protein gives you energy and contains amino acids, the essential building blocks for muscle tissue. Eating healthy foods rich in protein provides your muscles with the fuel they need to rebuild and grow after each workout.
Start your day with a solid breakfast. Hard-boiled eggs are an excellent source of protein and energy that will fuel you throughout the day. Eat two hard-boiled eggs each morning. Avoid fried eggs if you want to eliminate the extra fat and cholesterol while getting the most protein possible. According to an article by Medical News Today, the natural protein found in eggs is the most powerful form of protein that exists for muscle building. A single egg contains over 6g protein as well as leucine, an amino acid that helps your muscles recuperate from exercise.
Drink a whey protein shake as part of your mid-morning snack. You can also augment your protein intake with peanut butter. Try topping a banana or a fresh apple with a serving of peanut butter. Apart from the high levels of protein, peanut butter has healthy mono-unsaturated fats that boost testosterone and assist in muscle growth.
Eat a whole-grain turkey sandwich for lunch. Make sure the meat is lean and not cured. A 3 oz. slice of fresh turkey breast packs a powerful punch with approximately 24g protein. Turkey is also one of the leanest meats available, so you get all the protein without the extra fat and calories. The whole-wheat germ of the bread also has a little protein and the necessary complex carbohydrates to keep up your energy levels.
Drink another whey protein shake or smoothie as a mid-afternoon snack before you hit the gym. Whey protein is a quality nutrient containing amino acids that build muscle and burn fat. Consuming a shake roughly 30 minutes before you exercise provides your muscles with the protein they need to excel through the workout. Have another smoothie or shake 10 minutes after you finish lifting to give your body an additional boost as your muscles begin to repair and grow.
Prepare legumes as the main portion of your dinner. Soybeans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils and pinto beans are all good sources of protein and fiber. Cook a 6 oz. to 8 oz. serving of fish as well. Try salmon or tuna. Fish is a lean source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to decrease levels of the leptin-hormone, a metabolism depressant. In other words, by lowering your leptin levels, you boost your metabolism and burn more fat.