I intermittent fast and want to build lean muscle. A dietitian said to eat a high-protein diet and a wider variety of foods.

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Salmon, rice, and vegetables

Salmon, rice, and vegetables is a healthy meal, but a healthy diet needs variety, according to a dietitian.Getty

  • A 30-year-old man submitted an average day of eating to be reviewed for Insider’s Nutrition Clinic.

  • He told Insider he does intermittent fasting and wants to get “shredded but also bulk up.”

  • If you’d like to have your diet reviewed by an expert, fill out this form. 

Austin, 30, submitted his eating routine to Insider’s Nutrition Clinic, where qualified dietitians and nutritionists offer advice on readers’ eating habits.

He told Insider he wants to “get shredded but also bulk up.”

“I’m six-foot-seven and have never really ‘filled in’ my massive wing span,” Austin said.

Austin is a courier who drives for a living but works out in the gym six to seven days a week. He lifts weights four times a week and rows or jogs for the other sessions, he said.

Austin also does intermittent fasting, which helped him lose 70 pounds in 2020, he said.

Registered sports dietitian Dr. Emily Werner reviewed Austin’s diet and told Insider that his training will help him to reach his goal, but he needs to fuel himself properly too, and his diet lacks variety.

Austin should make sure he’s training different body parts evenly and pushing himself hard enough to stimulate muscle growth, she said.

Austin does intermittent fasting

Austin doesn’t eat breakfast, he said.

Most days, he cooks one large meal made with 1.5-2 pounds of seafood and vegetables, and sometimes brown rice too, he said. Austin eats this over the course of the day. On lifting days, he eats some immediately afterwards.

Austin often takes an afternoon nap then eats the rest of his meal afterwards, he said.

On cardio days, he usually eats his one big meal around 3 p.m.

Austin tries to eat 150-200 grams of protein daily, mostly from fish, but he also snacks on granola and protein bars, he said.

“Occasionally because of work I eat a large amount of protein right before bed,” Austin said.

Austin’s diet lacks variety, Werner said

Trying to build muscle but also lose fat to “get shredded” is challenging as they have opposing caloric requirements, Werner said. Muscle-building requires a calorie surplus, while fat loss requires a deficit.

If Austin wants to maintain his muscle while losing fat, his high-protein diet is the right way to go, Werner said.

Austin shouldn’t rely too heavily on fish though.

“Although fish are a great lean protein source with additional health benefits like omega-3s, he should be careful not to over-consume fish because of the potential mercury content,” Werner said.

She recommended eating fish two to four times a week, and incorporating other protein sources on the other days.

Austin’s diet needs more variety overall because he is likely to be missing out on micronutrients, which could lead to nutrient deficiencies and negatively impact his training efforts, Werner said.

Steak, potatoes and asparagus

Steak, potatoes, and vegetables is another balanced meal to add variety to your diet.Getty

She recommended meals like salmon with broccoli and brown rice, chicken thighs with green beans and roasted root vegetables, or steak with roasted peppers and potatoes.

Austin might also benefit from varying his snacks, Werner said.

She recommended snacks that provide both protein and fruits and vegetables for fiber and antioxidants, such as Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts or seeds, cottage cheese with carrots, or a protein smoothie made with milk, whey protein, fruit, and ice.

These could be good before bed too if Austin likes to get some protein in at night, she said.

Recovery is key

“For someone who is working out habitually, energy and muscular recovery are huge,” Werner said, and diet plays a big role in this.

“His diet needs to include a variety of fruits and vegetables that contain the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory micronutrients to promote muscular healing and longevity,” Werner said.

While a balanced diet should provide all the nutrients Austin needs, he could consider supplements to boost recovery and thus his fitness.

“Collagen, creatine, and tart cherries have been utilized for years by elite athletes,” Werner said. “Incorporating these nutrients could help optimize his training sessions and adaptations to that training.”

The advice in this article isn’t a substitute for a professional medical diagnosis or treatment.

Read the original article on Insider