Strength training has always been a love hate. You want to gain that lean, strong body. But you also know it’s a tough journey. Not giving up, you continue to focus on the goal of becoming stronger and fitter. The worst advice you can take is to go on a stringent diet when you are doing strength training workouts.
The old saying, “back to basics” is evergreen. Here are some basic tips on nutrition for strength training:
1. Do not eat unless you are hungry, or need fuel for upcoming training.
This is easier said than done. Food should not be a way to relieve boredom, loneliness, stress or anxiety. Such persistent feelings should be discussed with a mental health professional, or health care provider, rather than self-medicating feelings with food.
2. Do not overeat.
Eat slowly for the satiety centers in your brain to catch up and send you the message that you are done eating. You do not have to eat to the point of fullness. You can feel lethargic and have difficulty waking up the next morning- you may also notice your athletic performance is impaired. If you could not finish the whole meal, pack it up and save it for dinner. Or you can share it with a friend.
Related: How to eat healthy while dining out
3. A lot of protein is not your friend, and carbs and fats are not your enemies.
Your body will only utilize a certain amount of protein for muscle building- the rest will be stored as body fat. Carbs are a source of energy, and if you are an athlete, you need to eat a lot of them. Specifically, you need complex carbohydrates, from fruits and vegetables, and whole grains, which contain plenty of fiber, and vitamins and minerals.
There is a great deal of misunderstanding and misinformation about avoiding carbs. The focus should be eliminating bad carbs from your diet. Minimize simple, refined carbohydrates. They can be found in processed foods made with white sugar & white flour, which do not contain fiber. Sadly, the only vitamins and minerals present are added after being stripped away by processing.
Take in a balanced proportion of fat. Watch your intake of saturated fat which is typically from animal sources, and solid at room temperature. Do consume some polyunsaturated and monosaturated fat (typically from plant sources and liquid at room temperature), which is also an essential macronutrient.
Above all, remember to rest
Listen to your body. This is a maxim. If you are sore, take a rest day- let your muscles recover. Get plenty of sleep to repair muscle. During stage three sleep, or Deep Sleep, HGH (Human Growth Hormone) is released, which is responsible for muscle growth.