Consume Protein Daily
Eat 0.5 to 1 gram per pound of ideal body weight
Research shows you need to eat 4 to 6 protein-rich meals or snacks each day to prevent muscle breakdown and boost metabolism to stay lean. Eating meals and snacks every 3 hours helps maintain even blood sugar levels. If you don’t have the time to prepare meals, protein shakes made from whey and egg white are great alternatives that give you high quality protein with low amounts of carbs and fat. The higher the B.V. Rating (biological value) of a protein, the better the protein is utilized by the body. Here are the B.V. ratings on these popular protein sources: whey protein (104), whole egg (100), beef (80), casein/milk (77), soy (74), rice (59), beans (49).
How Much Protein Do You Need?
Protein requirements for most people fall between 0.5 to 1 gram per pound of ideal body weight.
Those who participate in rigorous exercise training might require up to 1.6 grams per pound of
body weight. A good rule of thumb is to eat protein (grams) to match your ideal body weight.
Adjust Your Carb Intake to Your Activity Level
Eat 1 to 2 grams per pound of ideal body weight
Switching between burning fat and building muscle is mainly accomplished by adjusting your carb intake. Keep your carb intake at lower levels to burn fat and lose weight, and at higher levels to gain lean muscle.
Try to eat lean carbs such as yams, brown rice, oatmeal, vegetables and fruits. Avoid junk food and high-glycemic carbs such as sugar, pastries, honey, candy bars and soft drinks.
Consume Healthy Fats
Eat 0.2 to 0.5 grams per pound of ideal body weight
Fat levels should stay relatively constant in your diet whether you want to burn fat or gain lean muscle.
Fat is necessary to make hormones and to keep fat-burning enzymes working.
Consume healthy fats from lean proteins, fish and flax oils, raw nuts and seeds, and vegetables. Avoid unhealthy fats from foods like french fries, fried food, margarine and all hydrogenated oils (trans fats).
Total Calories You Need
Eat 10 to 15 calories per pound of ideal body weight
Aim toward the low side of calorie intake if you’re really serious about losing weight — just add a zero to your ideal weight to come up with your calories per day. For building lean muscle, you’ll need to be around 15 calories per pound of ideal bodyweight, but you may need to go higher if you’re very active or have a high metabolism.