At this point, everyone knows protein is vital to meeting your fitness goals, and meat is certainly one of the most common ways to get your fix. If you’re trying to hone a more athletic physique or maintain fat loss, prioritizing the leanest cuts of meat is just as important as watching your other macros.
There are tiers in terms of quality. Sub-par protein sources like hot dogs, sausages, processed deli meat, and bacon have comparable amounts of protein, but they’re loaded with fat. The fat content can negate the positive benefits of protein.
High-quality protein sources contain all the essential amino acids to build and maintain muscle mass, whereas lower-quality ones don’t necessarily contribute to overall health and wellness.
Here are six of the leanest cuts of meat, from beef to pork, chicken to turkey, you can use to build muscle. Not sure how much protein you should get in a day? Use the USDA’s interactive tool to calculate daily nutrient recommendations—or heed the latest advice from protein scientists of consuming at least 0.68 grams per pound of body weight, bumping it up to 0.75 grams if you’re doing intensive weight training (more than two hours a day) and want to bulk up. You can divide that into four servings, consumed about four hours apart. Read more insights from our feature You’re Not Eating Enough Protein.
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