Although there are many other factors that affect success in weight lifting, adequate protein intake is crucial. Protein contains amino acids, which your body uses for repair and growth. If you don't consume enough protein, your body won't have enough materials with which to rebuild your muscle tissue after intense workouts. Recommended levels of protein vary, but bodybuilding expert Dr. John Berardi recommends consuming at least 2g of protein per kg of bodyweight. Of course, consuming adequate calories to support workouts and promote growth is important as well, so don't neglect carbohydrates and fats.
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According to weight lifting website Bodybuilding.com, eggs are one of the best protein sources available, as they have a high bioavailability. This means egg protein is easily absorbed by your body. Bodybuilding.com also points out that eggs are easy to prepare and can be cooked in a variety of ways, which is important to keep boredom at bay. In addition, the website explains that the egg yolks contain protein and B vitamins, so eating whole eggs as opposed to egg whites is beneficial. Egg yolks are high in calories, which can help you achieve the caloric surplus necessary for muscle gain.
If you're looking for a low-fat protein source, consider lentils. The Harvard School of Public Health notes that one cup of cooked lentils provides 18g of protein with less than 1g of fat. In addition, lentils contain carbohydrates, which can help fuel your workouts. Lentils also contain fiber, which promotes regularity.
Milk is a beneficial protein source because it contains two different sources of protein, according to Bodybuilding.com. Milk contains whey protein, which is quickly absorbed and has a high bioavailability rating. Milk also contains casein protein, which is slowly absorbed and may provide nutrients for your muscles over a few hours, notes Bodybuilding.com. In addition, milk contains carbohydrates and fat, which provide calories you'll need to gain muscle and recover from weight lifting workouts.
Chicken is one of the least expensive protein sources available, but it has to be eaten relatively quickly. However, canned chicken has a long shelf life and provides the same nutritional benefits as fresh chicken. The Daily Plate notes that a 2-oz serving of canned chicken contains 60 calories, 13g of protein, 1g of fat and no carbohydrates. Canned chicken is portable and convenient, and can be prepared in a wide variety of ways.
The Harvard School of Public Health explains that red meat is high in protein, but may also contain a lot of fat, depending upon the cut. Although too much fat can be unhealthy, you need some at to support proper health. In addition, fat is high in calories, which can help you reach the caloric surplus necessary fro muscle gain. The Harvard School of Public Health suggests eating lean cuts of red meat when possible.