If you're looking to gain weight and build muscle mass then a high protein diet plan is of high importance to you. Without adequate protein intakes every single day you won't be able to support any real muscle growth. This article will take a look at what protein is exactly, what amino acids are, a look at good sources of protein, and other tips on following a high protein diet.
What Is Protein Exactly?
Protein is actually a nitrogen which contains compounds found in animal and vegetable tissue. Protein is used for muscle tissue repair and synthesis.
The nitrogen in protein comes from amino acids. Amino acids are basically the building blocks of protein, and there are 20 different amino acids commonly found in protein. 8 of these amino acids are essential and only come from food.
The 8 essential amino acids for building muscle are:
You don't need to know about these amino acids to create a high protein diet plan. But just know that without them you couldn't build muscle, so you need to provide your body with plenty of quality proteins that contain these amino acids.
If you're looking to gain muscular weight then your high protein diet plan must take this into account. You need to feed your muscles protein every 2-3 hours to keep them in an anabolic state. An anabolic state is simply a state where muscle tissue is repairing and growing, which is what you want.
When you eat protein, your body can only use a limited amount of it at one time. So that's why you need to eat smaller, more frequent meals to give your muscles the protein that it needs to grow larger and stronger throughout the day.
Different protein sources have different ratios of each amino acid. The good sources of protein for promoting muscle building will have all of the 8 essential amino acids present at the same time and in the right proportions.
Animal proteins do contain all 8 of the essential aminos for muscle growth which is perfect for you. On the other hand, vegetable protein sources don't have as good of a amino acid profile.
Like animal protein, they do contain all 8 essential amino acids, but the bad thing with vegetable protein is they have lesser amounts of the aminos and in the wrong proportions. So overall, animal protein is likely to be the better protein source to build muscle mass (although there are some vegans who disagree).
Animal protein such as red meat, chicken, fish and eggs are all examples of a complete protein source since they contain all the essential amino acids to build muscle mass.
Incomplete protein sources such as nuts, beans, and vegetables aren't as good for promoting muscle building, but when combined together then can become a complete source of protein for you.
Red meat is perhaps one of the best protein sources you can have, nothing beats a good steak. As well as being very high in quality protein red meat also contains some creatine too, although only in small amounts. Leaner cuts of red meat are better for you, so try to get them as lean as you can.
Chicken breast and tuna are also very good sources of protein for your high protein diet plan. Same with other types of fish such as salmon. Eggs are a quality source too, but you need to be careful if eating too much egg because of the cholesterol in them. Just don't go overboard with eggs in your high protein diet plan.
If you're not lactose intolerant, then milk can become an excellent source of protein too. The added calcium from drinking milk is a great bonus too. The bad thing about milk though is the high sugar content, so it may help you add on some extra body fat if you're not careful.
Here is a list of high protein foods that you should consider for your high protein diet plan:
Variation is a good idea when it comes to selecting protein sources for your high protein diet plan. Getting your daily protein requirements from a variety of different sources will give your body a range of different amino acid quantities and ratios.
To promote muscle mass growth you should be eating a minimum of 1 gram of protein for every pound of bodyweight. So if you weigh 180 pounds then you should be eating at least 180 grams of protein every single day.
This may seem like a lot, but it's necessary if you want to maximize your muscle mass gains. Weight training workouts highly increases your need of protein and amino acids to repair lost muscle tissue and grow new ones.
Hopefully this article has helped, but always remember to never get stuck in research land - information is great, but what's infinitely more important and the only thing that actually matters to get results and change your life is to be hitting the gym week in week out, with a properly structured, well-balanced and optmized training and nutrition plan for your specific goals (which if you're reading this is likely building muscle mass as a hardgainer/skinny guy).
To do that there's essentially 3 paths you can take, each with their pros and cons:
Path A: Design Your Own Mass Gain Program (cheapest)
Learn all the crucial basics, principles and over-arching strategies you need to know about planning the best well-balanced, science-based, all-natural mass building program for your specific goal and workout/diet preferences with our pillar 7-step comprehensive guide for beginner lifters and future heros. If you don't want to spend any money at all, this is how you do it, but be sure to thoroughly research all aspects of your DIY muscle gain program as an unbalanced/bro-science/straight-up-bad program can mean little to no gains at best, and bad posture, injuries and a whole lot of having to backtrack later at worst.
Path B: Follow A Proven Mass Gain Program ($)
To save time having to research and plan the best muscle building program for your specific goals as a hardgainer/skinny-guy/skinny-fat-dad-bod/whatever, there are indeed some excellent pre-made online programs out there that have stood the test of time in getting guys great results. It can give you a great head-on your transformation journey, and will make things simpler for you as it's simply a matter of executing a specific eating and workout program and not having to worry about getting all the little important details of your program on-point.
Sean Nal's hardgainer transformation program (you can see my full review and before/after pics using the program here) is the complete all-in-one online program I'd recommend to most people and especially beginners, and is the one I personally got the most out of when I first started.
Ignore any slick marketing, this guy's the real deal and easily one of the smartest hardgainers-turned-fitness-models I've come across online. Vince Delmonte's Mass Gain program comes in at a close second, who's another smart guy with the real-world results to back it up, who has another effective and proven step by step online program that's helped thousands of guys transform over a few months (rather than years).
Path C: Find a (Good) In-Person Trainer ($$$)
The most expensive option to achieve your dream physique, but if you have the money to spend (1 on 1 coaching can quickly add up in costs) then ensure you pick a trainer who understands the science behind muscle gain, fat burning, supplementation, nutrition, etc, and most importantly choose one who practices what they preach and has similar results to what you want. If you're a hardgainer, ideally you'll want a trainer who has been in your shoes before and started out as a skinny hardgainer themselves and managed to build muscle successfully, otherwise they may not understand the best course of action for you and give you unhelpful generic advice.
Whichever path you choose - stick with it for long enough, don't give up, and your success in transforming your body, strength, health, posture, and confidence will simply be a matter of when, not if. I'd say good luck, but you understand that last sentence I said you won't need it ;)
Mad-Scientist of Hardgainer-to-Hero Transformations for 12+ Years
Last and Definitely Least: Certified Fitness Instructor (real-world experience > school)