Nutrition for Strength Training

Nutrition for Strength Training

Training to build strength and lean muscle mass requires that you adjust your diet to fuel your body’s endeavors.  You will need to consume enough calories to support the workout and build muscle, while nourishing your body as well.

Carbohydrates are the most obvious part of your diet, as they are your body’s energy source.  You’ll need to ditch the low-carb diet if you want to put on muscle, as your body’s ability to fuel muscle contractions is dependent on your body’s glycogen (this is what carbohydrates break down to) stores.  The harder your muscles work, the more glycogen they will need.  Be sure to get your carbohydrates from whole grain sources.  Not only will your body be able to process the carbohydrates more easily, but they will also absorb more nutrients from whole grains that from processed products.  To determine how many carbs you should consume, consult a nutritionist, or use the following equation: 3.6gr carb x body weight (lbs) = recommended grams per day of carbs.

Protein is the building block of muscle tissue, and you’ll need to consume more than usual if you want to put on muscle.  The daily recommended amount of protein for strength training is about 6/10 to 8/10 grams for each pound of body weight.  Choose a variety of protein sources, looking for those with other health benefits.  Fish, for example, contains a high quality protein, and also provides the body with much needed EHA and DHA fats.  You may be familiar with those kinds fats as Omega 3, 6, and 9.  Fat is an essential, if very small, part of your diet.

As often as possible, get your nutrients from the foods you eat.  An actual meal should also be choosen over a meal replacement drink or food bar.  However, energy bars and sports drinks that provide electrolytes and carbohydrates do come in handy, especially during workouts longer than an hour.  Be sure to consume both protein and carbs after a workout to help build muscle and replenish your body’s glycogen supply.  Be sure that you drink plenty of water.  For every quarter hour of exercise, you want to have one glass of water.  You can weigh yourself before and after your workout to determine your body’s water loss.  For every pound lost, you should drink sixteen ounces of water.

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