Should Athletes Eat Red Meat? What About Bodybuilders?

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No Red Meat Means Fewer Vital Minerals

Many bodybuilders tend to shy away from eating red meat. Not eating red meat will reduce the intake of fat and cholesterol, but you will also reduce the intake of vital minerals. Occasionally eating sensible portions of red meat will not significantly add to your daily fat intake, but will significantly add to your mineral intake.

Red Meat Benefits and Nutrition

Strength trainers and bodybuilders understand that red meat is a good source of protein. It is also a good source of the minerals zinc and iron. Both of these minerals are helpful for the body during intense workouts.

Iron plays a vital role in the composition of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin transports oxygen from your lungs into tissues. Iron is also found in plant foods, but the body absorbs iron from animal foods better than from plant foods. It goes without saying that oxygen plays a vital role in your workouts. Adding small portions of red meat may help make your workouts more effective.

Red meat also contains zinc. It is found throughout the body and it helps the body to absorb vitamins better. This is especially the case with the B-complex vitamins. B-complex vitamins are necessary for the body to produce energy. And, of course, energy is required for effective workouts. Zinc, just like iron, is better absorbed from animal foods than from plant foods.

Cooking Red Meat

But don’t overdo it when it comes to red meat consumption. Try to keep your serving size of red meat to about 3 cooked ounces (start with four raw ounces). This will only add about 8 g of fat. Three ounces is no bigger than the size of a deck of cards. The cut of meat is also important. Some cuts are leaner than other cuts. Try getting the tenderloin, top round, round tip, top loin, sirloin or eye of round. The “Select” grade is the leanest grade.

Before cooking, trim off the fat. If you are preparing an already lean cut of beef, it may be difficult to keep the meat juicy enough for your taste. Try marinating it in vinegar or citrus juice.


Kleiner, Susan M., Power Eating