When it comes to muscle growth, working out is only half of the equation in bringing results to fruition. Strength training requires a strict diet in addition to performing the proper exercises. If you aren’t eating the appropriate foods, then your body won’t build the muscle that you are working so hard to achieve. Find out which food groups to emphasize in your diet while strength training:
High quality sources of protein include lean meat, such as chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, or protein powder. A quality source of protein that might come as a surprise to you is red meat. According to Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Tom Postema, red meat provides creatine which “can have a very positive impact on strength gains.”
Registered Dietitian, Lindsay Langford, further explains that the high protein foods give your body a source of energy to power you “through workouts and build new muscle.”
Protein is key in a strength training diet. Certified Holistic Health Coach and Personal Trainer, Liz Barnet, stresses the importance of post-workout nutrition. She says it is “crucial for continuing to experience gains in performance and improvement in body composition.” Barnet commented that protein is “essential to repair and grow muscle tissue,” making it such an important part of a strength trainer’s diet.
2. Healthy Fats
Getting the right amount of healthy fats in your diet is essential when strength training. Personal Trainer, Dimitri Sonck, recommends salmon as a great choice for a healthy omega-3 fat. Supplement Consultant and Personal Trainer, Rick Rockwell, further explained that “fish has a great deal of protein with low amounts of fat and carbohydrates. Additionally, it has healthy fats that the body also requires.” Other suggestions for healthy fats include oils (olive, fish, coconut), nuts and seeds.
Cutting out carbohydrates is not an option in a strength training diet. Dimitri Sonck explains that, “not all carbs are created equally,” but you have to find the good sources. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source and are “known for providing energy without packing on the pounds.” Other healthy sources of carbs include brown rice, chick peas, and yogurt.
Vegetables are an important part of any balanced diet and are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. Dimitri Sonck particularly recommends spinach “to help increase overall strength.”
Strength training or not, getting enough water is highly important. While building extra muscle, your body needs extra water to replenish the cells and form the muscle. Certified Nutrition and Wellness Specialist, Jamie Logie, recommends to aim for at least half your body weight in ounces each day to stay hydrated while strength training.
When strength training, you must make a few key changes to your diet to make sure that your workout counts. As previously stated, the most important food groups to focus on are protein, carbs, fats, and vegetables. Another major point to remember is hydration! Without water, your muscles will not grow. Founder of iBodyFit and Trainer, Franklin Antoian, further explains the breakdown of what protein, carbs, and fats do for your muscles: “Protein helps build and repair muscles after a hard workout. Carbohydrates give you energy post workout and high glycemic carbs, like honey, help replenish your muscles post workout. Fat gives you sustained energy to train harder and longer.” With these tips for your strength training diet, you will be on the road to muscle-building success.