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High-Protein Diets: The Key to a Shredded Physique

Before you worry about carbs and fat, focus on making sure your protein intake is up to par.

High-Protein Diets: The Key to a Shredded Physique

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All too often, the conversation around dieting to get lean and shredded is focused on what should be avoided, or at least moderated.

Don’t eat too many carbs. Don’t overconsume calories. Cut down on fat intake.

In some cases, yes, carbs need to be decreased, calories dropped, and dietary fat kept under a certain amount to make a fat loss breakthrough.

But instead of obsessing about what not to eat, don't lose focus on the one macronutrient you should always be trying to get in ample amounts: PROTEIN.

Why Protein Is So Important, Even For Fat Loss

We all know that protein is vital for building muscle, and the reason is pretty easy to understand: Muscle is made of protein and the amino acids that make up dietary protein are used to boost protein synthesis to build muscle and prevent muscle breakdown. That’s why I recommend consuming between 1 and 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily for pretty much everyone. For a 200-pound individual, this would be 200 grams of protein per day at the low end of that range, and up to 300 grams at the high end.

But protein intake isn’t just about building muscle and getting bigger. Every fat-loss diet I’ve ever designed has been a high-protein diet. That’s not a coincidence. High protein intake will help you lose fat in addition to packing on muscle. And science proves it.

Some of the most compelling research to back this up was done by renowned protein researcher Jose Antonio and published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

In his study, subjects following an 8-week training program consumed either 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day or 1.5 grams. Carbs and fat were the same across both groups, meaning the higher protein group consumed roughly 500 more calories per day (since protein contains 4 calories per gram). 

The first set of results from the experiment dealt with muscle gain. The two groups showed similar gains in muscle mass, gaining an average of 3 pounds of muscle in eight weeks. Some might say that this is proof that there’s no reason to exceed 1 gram per pound. 

But that would be ignoring the fat loss benefits of protein intake, which were illustrated in the other set of results from the study: The 1.5-gram protein group lost roughly 5 pounds of fat on average in addition to gaining muscle, while the 1-gram protein group lost essentially no body fat. 

Think about that. The people who consumed 500 more calories per day were the ones who lost more body fat! And a very significant amount of it — 5 pounds in 8 weeks. 

High Protein Equals Better Fat Burning

How is it possible to increase calories by 500 per day and increase fat loss? The main reason is that high protein intake boosts metabolic rate. Research has demonstrated that a high-protein meal can boost energy expenditure by up to 20%. 

The findings from Antonio’s research were not surprising to those of us who had been studying and following high-protein diets for years. Even before the mountain of research began piling up on the topic, competitive bodybuilders had provided anecdotal evidence of it dating back to at least the 1960s. 

The Best Protein Intake for a Lean Physique

The proof is in the pudding (both research and real-life results): Following a consistent high-intensity resistance-training workout program plus a well-structured high-protein diet will lead to more muscle and less body fat. You’ll find both of these (workouts and diets) on JimStoppani.com. 

So, instead of always thinking about how to cut carbs and pull back on fat consumption, approach your nutrition by first thinking about getting adequate protein through high-quality sources like meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and protein powders like Pro JYM , Plant JYM , and Iso JYM . My protein intake rule of thumb has always been and will continue to be 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight every day.

Stick to this guideline and you'll be bigger, stronger, and leaner because of it!

 

Reference

Antonio, J., et al. The effects of a high protein diet on indices of health and body composition - a crossover trial in resistance-trained men. Int Soc Sports Nutr 13:3, 2016.

 

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