Fish vs Chicken for Muscle Building: Which Is Better?

If you had to choose to increase your muscle mass, what is the best option?

To gain muscle, you need lean protein, i.e., a protein with no fats, which fish and chicken are known to contain. To grow, muscles need to get enough protein. In other words, you need to eat a protein-rich food. However, we need to be careful about what protein-rich food we are talking about, as many are also rich in fats. 

This brings us to the question: fish vs chicken, which is better for muscle building?

Even though both fish and chicken are very good food choices, especially when you want to build muscle, they are different in taste and offer different pairing options. If you dislike both equally, it is good to know which is better for your purpose.

In the following paragraphs, I will describe and explain the nutritional value of fish vs chicken, so you can make your choice more quickly the next time you wonder which one to have. 

Fish vs Chicken: Differences in Nutrition

What chicken and fish have in common is that they are both types of meat. Moreover, they are both highly nutritious and beneficial for health and muscle building. However, fish is very variable, as it depends on which type you are having. Tuna, salmon, trout, cod, haddock, grouper, tilapia, and bass are those that I recommend as lean protein fish

Not that other types of fish are poor in protein, but they do contain fats, which is not what we are going for.

On the other hand, chicken is more consistent, as the only important thing is to ensure you have the breast part, not the drums or the wings. Needless to say, the skin is out of the question as it is packed with cholesterol.

Therefore, even if you have chicken breast, remove the skin as it will annul your hard work to build muscle. 


Lean protein fish are very rich in nutrients, so they will help you build muscle and are also very good for your health. Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are very beneficial for your overall health, especially skin and bones. 

fish vs chickenSource: David Fedulov / Unsplash

They contain selenium, zinc, sodium, potassium, and vitamin D, which are micronutrients of extreme value and bring numerous benefits. In terms of protein, fish and chicken are very close, depending on which lean protein fish you have. 

The protein difference between fish and chicken is slight, but chicken seems to win in most cases, not by much. 

Related: How Much Protein-Rich Food Do You Need to Eat?


Chicken is also an excellent protein source and is great for muscle building. Nutrition-wise, although very nutritious, it falls behind the fish, as it has cholesterols and not as many micronutrients as the fish does. 

It has sodium and potassium in slightly lesser quantities than fish. Chicken is also good magnesium and vitamin D source, but in smaller quantities than fish. However, chicken dominates in the protein department, winning over almost any type of lean protein fish. 

Chicken is also less caloric than fish. Both fish and chicken contain no sugars, no dietary fibres, and no carbs. 

Fish Chicken 
Protein Plenty, but in most cases, less than chicken.More than most lean protein fish.
Magnesium Approximately 30 mg per 100 g of fishApproximately 23 g per 100 g chicken breast
Potassium Significantly more than chicken, over 300 mg per 100 g of fish.Under 300 mg per 100 g chicken breast.
Zinc Significantly more than chicken breast. About 2 mg per 100 gr chicken breast
CalorieSlightly less than chicken.Slightly more than fish.
Selenium An excellent source of selenium.Insignificant amounts of selenium.
Vitamin DRich in vitamin DBarely 1%
Sugars 00
Fat Very lowVery low

Fish vs Chicken: Which Will Help You Build Muscles Faster?

Although very nutritious, fish will not help you build muscle faster than chicken. Not only is chicken rich in protein, but it is far more easily digestible than fish. Building muscle is an ongoing process, and you need a certain amount of protein to consume every day to achieve your goal. 

To build muscle, you need at least 80 grams of protein each day if you are a woman and 100 if you are a man. That means you need to have about 500 grams of chicken breast or 500 to 600 grams of fish if those are your only protein sources. 

chicken breast ideal calorie deficit foodsSource: Karyna Panchenko on Unsplash
Chicken breast

Even if they are not, and you have protein supplements, it is still a lot of chicken or fish. Chicken is the preferred choice as you can eat the needed amount without a problem.

Fish is not easy to eat and has a particular taste that not everyone likes. It also takes more time to prepare, and you definitely cannot have a sufficient daily amount. Fish is also more expensive than chicken breast. 

Since you will do this for a while, you must choose what works for you in the long run. Even though they are both protein-rich, with the chicken being slightly richer, the chicken breast works better long-term. 

What to Serve With Fish For Muscle Building?

To build muscle, you don’t only need protein but also need energy so you can work out. Therefore, you need something that goes with fish but is not too high in carbs.

 Fish goes excellent with rice, baked sweet potatoes, eggplants, zucchini, rice cakes, and mushrooms. Peas, lentils, and beans all go great with fish. Also, pairing it with a salad is a great idea. You can also combine it with spinach, broccoli, or cauliflower. 

What to Serve With Chicken For Muscle Building?

Salads, legumes, and leafy vegetables are great options to use as sides for chicken breasts. Also, a ball of rice on the side or mashed sweet potatoes are great for energy gain. Chickpeas are great as chicken supplements, as well as olives and mushrooms.
Read More: Is Eating Lots of Protein a Waste?

Who is the author? Laura is a frequent traveller who enjoys kickbox and hiking. She is especially curious about nutrition and cooking, and that’s why she started the blog

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