The question from many fitness enthusiasts is, “What is the best diet for muscle gain?” The proper answer is there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Regardless, all engines run best when you feed them the proper fuel. The Paleo Diet provides your body with the fuel it was designed to use. This includes lots of vegetables, fruits, quality proteins, and healthy fats.
However, specifically for strength training and building muscle, the concern is about protein. Men’s Fitness reports new studies have found, “For strength athletes, those numbers are [generally] between 0.7 and 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight.” This means a strength athlete who weighs 180 pounds will need 144 grams of protein daily.
However, consider the fact that in order gain one pound per week the same 180 pound person will need 3,618 calories per day when working out 6-7 times per week. On a high carb diet, calories are 60 percent from carbohydrates, 25 percent from protein, and 15 percent from fat. This translates to 195 grams of protein per day or just a little over 1 gram of protein per pound.
A Paleo Diet easily allows a fitness enthusiast or athlete to meet these goals, Nonetheless, a person attempting to lose weight but maintain muscle mass would adjust calories from carbohydrates, not protein. The 0.7 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight is for keeping lean body mass while reducing your body fat percentage. This means a diet with roughly 28 percent, which is a relatively high protein diet.
Keep in mind, while the total number of grams from protein is important, so is the percentage of calories. A study published in the Proceedings of The Nutrition Society found, “In otherwise healthy individuals, there is little evidence that high protein intake is dangerous.” However, “care must be taken to ensure that there is sufficient intake of other nutrients to support the training load.” Therefore, most would recommend protein never exceeding 45 percent of total calories to avoid any risk of malnutrition.
Ultimately, the Paleo Diet is ideal for muscle gain. When seeking optimal nutrition, the best fuel is the food humans are genetically adapted to utilize. This means whole vegetables and fruits, nuts, berries, lean meats, and fish. Ideally, all fitness enthusiasts and athletes should avoid processed foods, refined sugar, added salt, and other foods that diminish performance or have an anti-nutritional effect.
What haven’t we covered that is important to you? If you would like to talk about the Paleo Diet for muscle gain, or need more information, please contact Teri.