The Best Protein Sources (updated July 2019)

What’s the Hype About Protein?

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In short, protein helps build muscles. Muscle fibers are made of protein, so incorporating more protein into the diet is essential. Typically, the amount of protein needed ranges from 0.8 – 1.2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight. Obviously, men need more and women need less. However, the amount needed is also based on an individual’s goals. If you’re looking to significantly increase muscle mass, then you should ingest more protein than someone looking to maintain their muscle mass.

However, protein is also one of those macronutrients that should stay relatively consistent. If your protein intake drops too low, the body does not have enough amino acids to efficiently maintain your current muscle mass. If this happens, no matter how efficiently you are training, your muscle size will decrease. So no matter what, make sure you’re getting in an adequate amount of protein.

Some Restrictions

Now, how you get this protein varies due to a few circumstances:

  1. Dietary Restrictions. If you’re allergic to fish, for example, you’re not getting your protein from tilapia.
  2. Taste Preference. If you don’t like tilapia, then don’t eat tilapia. No one is forcing you to eat something you dislike for the sake of muscular growth!
  3. Monetary Restrictions. Some people can afford nicer whole protein sources than others, and that’s just the cold hard truth. If you can only afford chicken breast and tilapia and maybe some steak when it’s on sale, then do that. No one protein source is better than the other in vitro.
  4. Seasonal Restrictions. Maybe you’re a seasonal shopper, and your favorite fishes aren’t currently in season. It’s okay, there’s always alternates!
  5. Locational Restrictions. Some areas have some food that others don’t, and that’s just how things are. If you love a food but it’s not in your area, then don’t sweat about it. Get it when you can, don’t get it when you can’t. Besides, it’ll be a lot more special when you finally get it again, anyway!

The Best of Each Protein

There are several different types of protein, but I’m going to touch upon the ones that are most common. Namely, these protein sources are: chicken, some fish, pork, steak, and dairy products.

Although, don’t be fooled. These options are not the only way to get your daily protein intake. In fact, if you’re vegetarian you can’t have a majority of these things, and if you’re vegan you can’t have any. These are simply the protein sources that get you the best bang for your buck. However, whole grains, nuts, legumes, beans, and meat substitutes also contain a decent amount of protein per serving. They simply do not contain as much as meat sources.

For the best bet, eat some meat for protein. If not, protein powder and bread is a great alternative to get in your daily required allotment.

1. Chicken

Chicken is the universal staple protein source of most bodybuilders. It’s easy to cook, it’s chock full of protein, and most cuts are relatively lean. Here’s a rundown of each variation of chicken you can get:

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  • Breast — The staple beyond staples. Per ounce, chicken breast contains 40 calories, 0.3g of fat, and 8.5g of protein.
  • Thigh — Chicken thigh is a much fattier piece of meat than chicken breast. Per ounce, chicken thigh contains 60 calories, 3.1g of fat, and 7.5g of protein.
    (source linked here.)
  • Wing — The king of all kings at bars and SuperBowl parties, but not necessarily for muscle gain. Per ounce, chicken wings contains 63 calories, 4.5g of fat, and 5.2g of protein.
    (source linked here.)

Obviously, you get the most protein with chicken breast. However, if your diet allows you to have more fat per day, then sure, have a thigh or wing. You just need more for the same amount of protein as a breast.

2. Pork

Pork is still a relatively lean cut of meat, just not as lean as chicken breast. Pork can also come in various forms, some more common than others. Here’s a rundown of each variation of pork you can get:

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  • Pork Chops — The classic cut of pork is the pork chop. Per ounce, a pork chop contains 53 calories, 3g of fat, and 6g of protein.
    (source linked here.)
  • Pork Tenderloin — A good thing to remember is that any cut of meat with “loin” in the name indicates a leaner cut of meat. Per ounce, pork tenderloin contains 40 calories, 1.5g of fat, and 5.8g of protein.
    (source linked here.)
  • Pork Ribs — The closer you get to the bone, the fattier the meat. This holds true for pork chops and pork ribs. If you want something leaner, try center cut. However, one ounce of pork ribs contains 45 calories, 3.3g of fat, and 3.2g of protein.
    (source linked here.)

Again, the closer you get to bone the fattier the meat. Therefore, if you are looking for lean cuts of pork, try center cut pork chops or tenderloin. If you’re tailgating, then try the ribs.

3. Beef

Beef has the reputation of being bad for you, and there’s a good reason behind it. Beef is the fattiest cut of meat that you can buy. There are leaner types of steak, yes, but it’s relatively fatty as compared to other protein sources. Here’s a rundown of each type of beef that you can get:

  • Steak — Steak is one
    image @ www.i.hurimg.com

    of the more popular beef choices. Per ounce, steak contains 55 calories, 3.3g of fat, and 6g of protein.
    (source linked here.)

  • Chuck (80/20) — Ground chuck (80/20) is probably the most popular choice when making hamburgers. The fat to meat ratio is pretty spot on for burgers, but not so much for meeting your lean protein quota. Per ounce, ground chuck contains 70 calories, 4g of fat, and 7g of protein.
    (source linked here.)
  • Lean Ground Beef (96/4) — Lean ground beef is probably the best choice when trying for lean beef sources. It makes slightly subpar burgers as compared to the 80/20 cut, but it’s much better for your waistline. Per ounce, 96/4 ground beef contains 35 calories, 1g of fat, and 6g of protein.
    (source linked here.)

Beef is one of those cuts of meat that can be great or deadly to your fat intake, depending on which you purchase. Always look for “lean” in the label and trim the excess fat to make sure you’re getting as much protein with as little fat as possible!

4. Fish

Fish is very versatile. White fishes, such as tilapia, are much leaner fishes, while salmon and tuna are known to be a bit fattier. Here’s a rundown of the more popular types of fish that you can purchase:

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  • Tilapia — Tilapia is relatively cost effective and lean, and can be purchases fresh or frozen. Per ounce, tilapia contains 27 calories, 0.5g of fat, and 5.7g of protein.
    (source linked here.)
  • Salmon — Another relatively popular fish choice is salmon. Even though it’s a little fattier, salmon contains Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats, both of which are essential to the diet! Per ounce, salmon contains 50 calories, 2.1g of fat, and 6.8g of protein.
    (source linked here.)
  • Tuna — Whether in steak or sushi form, tuna is delicious and good for you, too! Per ounce, tuna contains 35 calories, 0.9g of fat, and 6.3g of protein.
    (source linked here.)
  • Shrimp — Shrimp is lean and you get so much per serving. Generally speaking, you get up to six little shrimp per ounce. Also per ounce, shrimp contains 40 calories, 0.7g of fat, and 7.7g of protein.
    (source linked here.)
  • Cod — Cod is a less popular white fish than tilapia, but is still beneficial to your diet. Per ounce, cod contains 30 calories, 0.9g of fat, and 4.8g of protein.
    (source linked here.)

The Takeaway

When choosing proteins, you need to pick your battles. Some choices are better than others in terms of protein content, some contain more fat, and some you may not like. Really, the choice is yours. However, leaner cuts of meat generally contain more protein per ounce than fattier protein sources. So if more protein is your thing, opt for chicken breast, white fish, or pork tenderloins. You’ll get the most bang for your protein buck!

Best Supplements for Fat Loss (Updated July 2019)

Best Supplements for Fat Loss

Best Supplements for Fat Loss

When trying to lose weight, there is always the debate of supplements. Mostly, are they needed, how much, and what types are best. However, supplements are not the king of fat loss. This notion goes against a lot of popular opinions. In fact, supplements are never wholly needed. They are there to supplement the diet, not the other way around.

 

Fat loss is the simple equation of calories in versus calories out. Or, in other words, how many calories you burn in one day versus how many you consume. So let’s say that your daily intake is around 1,700 calories. This is how much it takes to maintain your current physique. If you eat less than 1,700kcal. that day, say 1,500, you are in a 200kcal. deficit. Over a period of time, that can add up to 1,000kcal. in a week, and 4,000kcal. in a month. Overall, you’d lose approximately 1lbs. of body fat per month, since one pound of body fat is 3,500kcal.

Now, let’s say that you ate an extra 200kcal. per day instead. Over time, you would be in a surplus of 1,000kcal. per day and 4,000kcal. per month. So overall, you’d gain approximately 1lbs. of body fat per month.

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Fat loss or gain can be done without the aid of supplements. Can supplements help? Of course. There are certain supplements that aid in metabolism and fat store utilization. They are not, however, essential to losing overall body fat. That simply comes from a negative caloric intake over a long period of time.

Disclaimer!

Let’s not be rash about this caloric deficit, though. Cutting your calories by 500kcal. or more per day takes a huge toll on the body. Every day the body is dependent on the amount of food you eat. If your body maintains around a certain number of calories, then drastically cutting this energy intake slows your essential bodily systems.

The body, after a few days or weeks of this deficit, will go into Starvation Mode. This attitude is the shutting down of any bodily system that does not have the direct purpose of keeping you alive. Some processes that are affected are:

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  1. Blood circulation slows
  2. Body temperature decreases
  3. Sex drive decreases
  4. Sex hormone production stalls
  5. The decrease in bone growth and density
  6. Slowed digestion/metabolism
  7. Drying skin
  8. Hair thinning
  9. Disrupted sleep

Make sure that when utilizing a caloric deficit that you do so with the help of a professional. Bodybuilding and/or strength coaches, a nutritionist or dietician, or your doctor can help to set the right deficit for you if losing weight is a priority! (source linked here.)

The Best Fat Burning Supplements

There are a few key players that can aid in fat loss. While a strong diet is key, there are some supplements that will aid metabolism or help the body utilize fat storages for energy.

L-Carnitine

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L-Carnitine aids the mitochondria in improved energy production. During normal energy synthesis, the mitochondria are the powerhouse of the body, providing energy to the cells. L-Carnitine helps to decrease the effects of aging on mitochondria. It also increases the mitochondria’s fat-burning potential. Lastly, it’s also used as a stimulant, similar to caffeine.

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L-Carnitine can be found in many forms, including:

  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR), which is used for cognitive enhancement
  • L-Carnitine L-Tartrate (LCLT), which is used for power output during physical activity
  • Glycine Propionyl L-Carnitine (GPLC), which is used for blood circulation

This increase in mitochondrial energy also helps to boost brain power in some subjects, while giving others elongated energy. In fact, L-Carnitine’s main calling card is increased energy. (source linked here.) L-Carnitine gets this increased energy from the body’s fat stores. After being freed, the fatty acids are shuffled along to the mitochondria by L-Carnitine and utilized as oxidative energy.

L-Carnitine can be supplemented daily in doses ranging from 500-2,000mg. The dosage varies depending on the individual. In addition, all of L-Carnitine’s counterparts follow the same dosage guidelines and can also be taken daily, depending on your goals. (source linked here.)

Forskolin

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Forskolin normally works alongside L-Carnitine for fat utilization. The latter works to bring the fatty acids to the mitochondria. Forskolin works to release the fatty acids from the body’s fat stores.

Forskolin releases fatty acids by activating the enzyme adenylate cyclase, which then activates hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL). Like any other lipase, HSL breaks down fat for energy by enacting lipolysis. Lipolysis is the complete breakdown of glycerides into fatty acids, which can be used as energy by the mitochondria. These fatty acids are released into the bloodstream, where they meet up with their powerhouse counterparts and give the body elongated energy.

In unscientific terms, Forskolin releases your fat from their body stores. When paired with L-Carnitine, these fatty acids are efficiently utilized as fuel. Studies even show that prolonged use improves fat burning during both training and rest. And, of course, helps to increase total fat loss over time.

Typically, Forskolin can be found with L-Carnitine as a single supplement. If not, take approximately 20-50mg daily. (source linked here.)

Caffeine

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Yes, your morning coffee can help promote fat loss. Who knew?!

Caffeine has been linked to increased energy production and fat oxidation, which increase it’s ability to metabolize fat. This has been linked to its stimulation of the Central Nervous System (CNS) through that coffee-jolt we all know and love. Stimulating the CNS helps to release fatty acids from fat stores. It also promotes calcium absorption from the body’s calcium stores, which aids in muscle contraction. Both are extremely helpful when exercising for long periods of time.

Caffeine is also one of the most cost-effective fat loss supplements to date. As little as one cup of coffee before your morning workout can promote these benefits! Or, if you’re not a cup-of-joe fan, try pre-workouts. They normally contain roughly 120mg of caffeine per serving and aid in fat loss.

However, be warned: taking more than 400mg per day can start to have negative side effects. Imagine how you feel after a couple of large coffees during a rough morning. Eventually, you crash and your head hurts, and the same thing happens to your body. So stick to one to two servings every couple of hours. (source linked here.)

Green Tea Extract

Another cost-effective fat loss supplement is green tea extract. Like caffeine, green tea extract helps to utilize the body’s fat stores for energy. However, it also encourages brown adipose tissue thermogenesis, which is another form of fat utilization. This is due to the phytochemicals found in green tea; the main phytochemical, epigallocatechin gallate (ECGC), can increase fat oxidation by up to 33%!

There is one setback, though. Green tea extract has to be taken in a pretty pure form in order to have any real effect. Drinking green tea is great because it supplies some phytochemicals and antioxidants, but the proportions are not enough for fat loss. (source linked here.)

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