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How to Beef-Up Without Plumping-Up
by: Shawn Ferrando
Gaining healthy weight is all about a proper diet.
Gaining healthy weight is all about a proper diet.

Q: I have started a weight training plan and want to gain some weight, some of my friends recommended I eat high protein on some days and other days I should eat high carbs. Is it better to switch or is it better to eat a normal level of protein and carbs everyday? What are the best choices for foods with the highest protein levels and are also low in fat and calories?

-E. Hedley, Mission Viejo, CA

A: Unless your training for a body building competition or you have a unique goal you want to attain, I would suggest you stick with an even dietary intake from day to day and focus on a specific percentage for each nutrient. A good nutrient breakdown is:

  • 30% protein
  • 50% carbs
  • 20% fat

You also want to really focus on these two main areas with your diet plan:

1. Get enough protein

You want to make sure to get enough protein at every meal in order to keep positive nitrogen balance and keep your muscles growing. Focus on getting at least 1 gram per pound of body weight and make sure your protein is coming from quality, lean sources like chicken breast, turkey breast, egg whites and whey protein powder (100% pure hydrolyzed - micro peptides from extreme whey protein hydrolysate).

2. Eat clean food

Make sure to eliminate all of the empty calories from your diet (soft drinks, junk food, processed foods, etc). Focus on eating whole foods and stick with good fibrous carbs like broccoli, squash, green beans, mushrooms and zucchini. Your starchy carbs should come from whole wheat sources like 100% whole wheat breads, brown rice and whole wheat pasta. Stay away from white flour and enriched white and wheat flours as much as possible. The best lean proteins foods to include in your nutritional plan are:

  • Chicken breast (skin removed)
  • Turkey breast (skin removed)
  • Egg Whites
  • Fish Fillet (flounder, sole, scrod, cod, etc.)
  • Shellfish (clams, lobster, scallop, shrimp)
  • Lean Beef (top round)
  • Tuna (canned in water)
  • Non-fat cottage cheese
  • Beans (black beans, kidney, chick peas or lentils)

949.292.1799 | 30555 Trabuco Canyon Rd. # 101, Trabuco Canyon, CA | 

Owner of Shawn Ferrando Studio Fitness, Shawn Ferrando, has over 24 years professional experience in the health and fitness industry. Shawn has numerous National certifications including the National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, National Academy Of Sports Medicine Advanced Specialization Sports Fitness Specialist, National Academy Of Sports Medicine Certified Core Stabilization Training, O.C.C. Fitness Specialist/Personal Trainer, Apex Certified Trainer, AA Nutrition Education, Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Indoor Cycle Certification. Shawn has extensive experience in rehabilitation training (post injury/pre-post surgery), sport specific training and is CPR/AED Certified through the American Heart Association. Shawn is also a member of the world’s largest associations of Health and Fitness Professionals, Idea Health and Fitness Association and the American College Of Sports Medicine. To contact Shawn directly, please email her at

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