Top 10 Foods for Weight Lifting

Lean Meats

Vegetarians might want to avert their eyes, but lean meats are a tremendous source of protein, a critical element in muscle development and repair.

"Red meat is actually an excellent source of B vitamins and iron. Many [weight lifters] see meat as having more fat in it, so they tend not to eat as much meat as chicken and fish," says Clark. "I'm not opposed to lean red meat. It's an excellent source of protein. It's one of the most nutrient dense of the protein foods.

"The darker the meat, the more nutrients it has, just like the darker the vegetable, the more nutrients it has," she says. "Red meat is excellent for iron and zinc -- those are both really important nutrients for body builders."

Lean chicken is another exceptional source of protein for weightlifters, and a favorite of bodybuilders, because it's generally (but not always) less fatty. Same for turkey breast.

"[Weight lifters are typically] striving for a gram of protein for every pound of body weight," says Clark. "The recommendation for most athletes is 0.5 to 0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Do bodybuilders need more protein than that? Probably not."

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