Committing to exercise regularly is an excellent start to getting fit. However, without proper nutrition, achieving those goals can be challenging. Tough workouts need adequate energy, which comes from the food and drinks you consume.
When it comes to exercises to increase strength, its primary goal is to enhance power proportional to body weight. That is why most athletes who focus on strength undergo resistance training.
While athletes may try to promote skeletal muscle hypertrophy with training alone, strategic timing and amount of nutrient intake are needed to maximise the energy and the recovery objectives, along with the body mass requirements before a competition.
Adding diet and supplementation to the training can help enhance athletes’ training and performance. The ideal nutritional needs for each athlete would depend on the metabolism of the nutrient-providing energy when resting and during exercise.
However, it’s common for many women athletes to restrict their energy intake, particularly fat consumption, to modify body composition.
This nutritional habit could be counterproductive because the total energy required for strength training is generally high. Moreover, the body cannot create new muscle tissue out of nothing. If the energy intake is low, you may experience fatigue, irritation, injury, loss of muscle mass and bone density, and poor athletic performance.
Here are some essential things to take note of when it comes to diet for strength training:
What should you consider in your diet if you do strength training?
When trying to get your body into healthier shape through strength training, it’s essential to make fundamental diet changes since a varied and balanced diet can supply enough energy for your workout.
This energy usually comes from carbohydrates and protein. The latter plays a crucial role in muscle recovery after a workout and helps muscle growth. When changing your diet, try not to:
· Consume sugar calories (e.g. sodas and fruit juice)
· Intake too much processed foods (e.g. fast food, packaged meals)
This is because they contain a lot of empty calories and are low in nutrients such as fibre and protein. The best diet composition to support a strength-based training will include the following:
Carbohydrates: Regarding carbohydrates, ensure at least half the grains you consume are whole grains, because they provide fibre and the essential minerals, such as iron, selenium, magnesium, B vitamins, and manganese. Fresh or frozen fruits can also provide the carbohydrates for your energy supplement during exercise.
You should consume between 6 to 10 grams per kilogram of your current body weight. It may also vary based on the intensity and duration of workouts. Other factors you should consider include body size, gender and environmental conditions during the training.
Protein: For protein, it’s recommended to include food like chicken, fish, and turkey. Aside from being good protein sources, they are low in saturated fat. You should consume at least 1.2-1.7 grams per kilo of body weight. Due to the low amount, it can usually be met with diet alone without any extra supplements.
Fat: Not all fats are equal, so don’t consume things such as a cheeseburger and assume it can meet the intake. It’s advisable to consume nuts, avocado, and salmon. Even if it’s good fats, timing is crucial since fats digest slower. That is why consuming them a couple of hours before a workout is recommended.
Fats should be between 20 to 35 per cent of your total energy intake. It can be tempting to drop below for weight loss but doing this does not help your physical performance.
Hydration: One of the essential things to do before, during, and after exercise for health and optimal performance is to ensure you have a proper fluid intake, which is plain water.
When exercise ends, consuming around 2 to 3 cups of fluid is best. After all, dehydration can lower exercise performance.
Warning: too much energy is not good
There is a phrase, “too much of a good thing is never good”. The most important thing is to adjust the diet to your body. Each person will need different amounts of
carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, depending on the training intensity and your final fitness goal.
Too few calories are not good, but too much would not be good either. Depending on the mentioned factors, especially your fitness goal, adapt your diet for your energy needs.
An example of differing goals would be losing weight and building muscle mass. The first objective means taking in fewer calories than you will burn, and the second means consuming more than you use. Our freelance personal trainer can help you plan the appropriate diet for you.
Extra note: beware of alcohol
You are ready to start once you have an excellent nutrition plan designed for your body and training goals since it means you can start with your muscle growth. However, ensure you do not waste your efforts by having casual drinks on the weekend because alcohol can disrupt other metabolic pathways that help with energy production. It also interrupts certain pathways that are telling the body to build muscle.
Moreover, it gives your body excess energy that can throw your calorie intake off balance. While you do not have to abstain from alcohol altogether, paying attention to the amount of alcohol you drink is strongly encouraged.
Most of the time, diet and exercise come hand in hand for a healthy lifestyle. Do prioritise what you put in your body by focusing on whole foods, aiming for a nutrient balance, and timing when you eat.
In general, when it comes to strength training, the goal is to increase muscle mass and improve performance. Hence, increasing the calories by 15% above baseline needs is required unless you are trying to maintain or lose weight.
However, it’s best to do it on your own because you are different from everyone else, and your nutritional needs will also differ.
Once you plan the ideal meal plan, consider adding supplements such as protein supplements and beta-alanine.
Platinum Fitness is here to lend a hand if you need any dietary advice or a strength training regime. We are a premium gym in Singapore that has plenty of personal training facilities that can accommodate your unique fitness needs. For more details on our gym membership plans, visit our website or our gym today.