If you’re looking to get hyper-ripped, chances are you do an intense training routine four or five days a week. But unless you pair those intense workouts with some seriously high protein intake, you won’t score the lean mass you want, according to a new study in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition.
Researchers put two groups of study subjects on a traditional split lifting regimen that alternated between arms and legs. They then had one group follow a high-protein diet (with 1.5 grams of protein per pound a day), while the other just their regular moderate-protein diet.
In eight weeks, the high-protein group dropped three times as much body fat as the normal-protein group and lost about a half a pound, while the normals gained almost three pounds. Interestingly enough, it was also the first crossover trial using trained subjects who did not show any harmful effects from a diet that included almost four times the recommended dietary allowance of protein.
“Eating a lot of protein doesn’t lead to gains in body fat, which is intriguing,” says the study’s corresponding author and journal editor Jose Antonio, Ph.D.