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 10x more important and essentially the only thing that really matters to get big results (and without having to wait years) is to be consistently applying/executing on a properly structured, effective program week in week out. Ideally that program should be well-balanced and specifically designed for you as a skinny beginner/hardgainer, that includes all the leading science-based principles and strategies for effective weight gain and muscle growth.
Are you going to seize this year and get GREAT results, or are you going to let it go to waste and end up in the same place this time next year, looking and feeling pretty much the exact same way that you do now like most guys? You essentially have 3 ways to leave the excuses and dreaming behind and get on the fast-track to levelling up your physique and your life for good.
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.
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 (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 it 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 reputable guy with a great step by step online program that has been proven to work effectively for thousands of guys worldwide.
Path C: Find a (Good) In-Person Trainer
The most expensive option to achieve your dreams, 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 because they found it easier than you to gain size.
Whichever path you choose - stick with it for long enough, don't give up, and your success in completely transforming your body, strength, health, posture, and confidence will simply be a matter of time. Good luck.
Mad-Scientist of Hardgainer-to-Hero Transformations for 12 Years & Counting
Last and Definitely Least: Certified Fitness Instructor (real-world experience > school)