Recent research shows that optimal protein intake for resistance training is to spread protein out over the day including five 20g serves of high biologically active protein spread over the day + 1 serve before bed. In addition, ideally this protein serve should include about 2g Leucine (an Amino Acid known to help increase lean muscle mass).
It is common in our diet to eat a heavy protein meal at night, with low protein at breakfast and lunch. Commercial protein supplements are promoted to help consumers achieve optimal body composition and lean muscle mass from the training, by providing Branch Chain Amino Acids, Leucine, high biologically available protein among other supposedly beneficial ingredients. However, consuming expensive high protein supplements before / after training may not give the beneficial effect if protein intake throughout the rest of the day is sub-optimal. Furthermore, 20g protein and 2g Leucine can be obtained in the diet from real wholefoods.
So what does 20g protein and look like in terms of food?
- 600ml skim Milk
- 500ml flavoured milk
- 365g (1¾ cup) fruit yoghurt (reduced fat)
- 300g (1.5 cup) natural yoghurt (reduced fat)
- Smoothie (250ml skim milk + banana + 200g low fat yoghurt + tsp honey)
- 600ml almond milk
- 3 large eggs
- 2 eggs and 200g tin baked beans
- 100g (raw) lean beef or chicken
- Small tin tuna/salmon (95g)
- 120g white fish
- 25g WPI (Whey Protein Isolate)
- Smoothie (300ml skim milk + 10g WPI + 1 banana)
- 250g natural yoghurt (reduced fat) + 30g almonds + tsp honey
- Cheese (40g) & ham (1 slice) & salad roll (multigrain)
- 400g tin chickpeas
- 150g tofu + 1 cup cooked brown rice
Ok, so how can you incorporate these foods spread evenly over the day?
Breakfast: 3 egg omelette with mushroom, tomato, onion + 1 slice diced ham
OR Smoothie with 250ml milk + 200g natural yoghurt + banana + honey and cinnamon
Mid Morning: 95g tin tuna + 2 corn thins
Lunch: Multigrain Roll with salad & 2 slices (40g) cheese & 1 slice ham + an apple
Mid Afternoon (post workout): 25g WPI in a smoothie
OR 250g natural yoghurt (reduced fat) + 30g almonds + tsp honey (for the wholefood option)
Dinner: Stirfry with 100g (raw) beef or chicken & vegetables & rice noodles (many people would eat more meat at dinner, but for optimizing protein intake only 100g is needed while having more protein spread out over the day).
Before Bed: 600ml low fat milk drink