When you start learning about strength training and its
benefits, nutrition always seems to be mentioned.
What is proper nutrition when weight training?
Well, that can vary and will depend on your ultimate goal.
When you look at strength training sites, many of them will tell you that
muscle needs extra protein so you need to add more protein to your diet.
This is actually not really true.
Those who are actively strength training need little more protein than a
Excess protein will turn to fat, so it kind of defeats the
purpose of strength training for health.
If you are strength training for massive muscle building you may need
slightly more protein than the non-athlete, though still not as much as many of
the high protein diets push. Protein
maintains and repairs body tissue, but do not normally power muscle activity.
Protein should make up about 12%-15% of the diet.
Carbohydrates are the body’s fuel source.
Muscles store and burn glycogen for fuel.
If you burn through your glycogen stores, muscles will lack the power to
contract. Experts recommend
consuming highly digestible carbohydrate about 2 hours before an exercise
session. Carbohydrates provide
energy for the muscle and help the muscle store glycogen.
They power moderate to high intensity exercise.
60%-65% of dietary intake should be from carbohydrates.
Fat is another energy source for muscles.
It requires oxygen to metabolize and then provides energy good for
endurance events. If your exercise intensity is at a low level you have enough
stored fat for hours and sometimes days as long as the oxygen is there for the
fat to metabolize. Less than 30% of
the diet should come from fats, preferably healthy fats like nuts or fatty fish.
Water is essential to the body’s health, particularly when
weight training. Hydrate before
beginning to exercise and during your work out.
You should try to replace any weight loss after exercise with water.
Sports drinks and energy bars are helpful if your workout
is more than an hour. Sports drinks
replace the electrolytes that are used during strength training.
You should always try to consume protein and carbohydrates after your
workout to fuel the growth of your muscles and to replenish glycogen stores.