Diet plays a vital role if you want to have washboard abs and hulking biceps. After all, where would you get all the protein needed to accomplish the process of muscle overcompensation?

Bulking up – and trimming fat – is a process which requires the discipline of a soldier, and the diet of a health nut. So, if you’re looking overhaul what you put on your plate, here’s what you need to know first:

Sources of Lean Protein

Obviously, meat is the best source of protein, but unfortunately, it is also the best source of unhealthy fat which causes circulatory and heart problems. They key here is to choose meats with low fat content, and two sources that come to mind are chicken and turkey. For every 100 gram serving, you’ll get 30 grams of protein from them. Note however, that their skins contain a copious amount of fat: it’s best to avoid it altogether. Fish, like tuna and salmon, also provide an ample amount of protein along with healthy fat like omega 3 and 6, which helps lower cholesterol levels.

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Though pork and beef are pretty fatty, certain cuts have low fat content. In beef, these include the sirloin, flanks, and the rump roast. Pork loin and tenderloin are leanest sources. Low fat grounded versions of each are good options.

Plant Sources

Fruits, legumes, grains, and vegetables are also sources of the nutrient, although most give out a different type of protein and contain lower pound for pound compared to meat. However, proteins from quinoa and soybeans are classified as complete proteins, the same as those found on meat.

There is a drawback to eating soy: one of its major components, isoflavone, resembles estrogen, a female sex hormone. This in turn means it’s not recommended in large amounts for men, who will suffer sexual disorders and even develop female-like changes in the human body.

Recommended Protein Intake

On average, men need at least 56 grams of protein a day, more if they are bodybuilding. As for women, they need 46, though it needs to increase to 71 if they’re breastfeeding or pregnant.

However, there are certain dangers in eating too much, especially if you’re making the wrong dietary choices. For instance, if you take high fat meat cuts, you will likely end up with heart and liver problems. Constantly eating high sodium meat products, like sausages, canned tuna, and hotdogs are in the same league, though your kidneys will also suffer in the process.

Good Carbohydrates

A lot of health and fitness buffs are extremely wary of their carbohydrate intake, and this is no surprise: high carbohydrate consumption is responsible for weight problems in the United States. The key here is to avoid or minimize bad carbs while making the good ones a consistent presence on your dining table. That being said, here are the ones that will guarantee a quick and easy belly bump:

  • Cream-filled sugary cookies
  • Cakes
  • Jelly-filled donuts
  • Ice cream
  • Candy and Chocolate

Note that these are all rich in sugar, as well as fat, considering that most contain dairy products. Meanwhile, excellent examples of good carbs consist of the following:

  • Whole-wheat bread and pasta
  • Quinoa
  • Berries (strawberry, raspberries, blueberries)
  • Bananas
  • Brown rice
  • Oatmeal

Some of these sources, especially whole wheat, oatmeal, and quinoa, are extremely rich in dietary fiber and protein, making them powerhouses in the nutrient department.

Overall, your ability to slim down and bulk your muscles up mainly relies on what and how much you eat. Exercise is always secondary, so be sure to cut off the “bad” calories first before holding on to the weights!


Mikhail Blacer is currently the sports editor for Scoopfed and a health nut, given that he’s a constant user of Iron Muscle Supplements. Talk to him about health, video games, and other stuff on his Twitter account.