Working out requires you to eat certain types of food to make sure your body receives the energy it needs. Focusing on a strength training diet is the best way to make sure you get all the nutrients, vitamins and, especially, proteins needed to fuel your intense workout sessions. The question is, how do you create the best strength training diet for your needs?
Understanding the Difference
Normally, when you hear the word diet you think of eating foods low in carbs and fat so you lose weight. A strength training diet is similar, but your goal is not just weight loss but energy production and muscle building. To reach this end, your diet will be very different from a diet just to lose weight.
A strength building diet consists of making sure you get plenty of the following each and every day:
- Carbohydrates – These are your best sources of energy to fuel your intense workouts and make sure you are able to power through at the best of your abilities.
- Proteins – These are the building blocks of your muscles. The more protein you get into your system through your diet, the more effective your workouts will be, and your muscles will get stronger, faster. You will need a lot of protein.
How Do You Get All the Protein You Need?
The protein shake is your best source of protein during a strength training diet. In order to get all the protein you would need, you would have to eat a lot of meats and other sources of protein. In fact, you would almost have to be eating all day long. This is where the protein shakes and meal replacements come in to play.
There are, of course, natural sources of protein you can eat. The upside to getting your protein this way is that food you make yourself can be really delicious. Be sure to include these foods in your diet:
- Lean steak
- Chicken breast
A protein shake is just what it sounds like. These are normally found in a powdered form and mixed with juice or milk. Protein shakes provide a heavy load of proteins you body will need to repair muscles after strenuous workouts. These are not meal replacements, but something you would drink just before or after a workout.
A meal replacement is another type of powdered shake, but these carry more nutrients and other ingredients, such as fiber, to act as a full on meal. Most commonly, these are used in the mornings or in the afternoon for lunch. While these do provide all the nutrients, carbohydrates, proteins and essential vitamins your body needs, you will need to eat actual food at some point. Meal replacements are a perfect way to get in a full meal while you are busy or if you are specifically trying to reach a certain level of caloric intake.
Sample Diet (Feel Free to Embellish)
- In the morning, scramble up some egg whites with veggies. Top off your meal with some whole wheat toast.
- For lunch, try a tuna (or some type of lean meat) wrap with whole wheat tortilla.
- Feel free to snack on fruit, veggies, low-fat string cheese and/or non-fat yogurt.
- For dinner – lean meat (chicken, fish, flank steak) with lightly steamed veggies and brown rice will give you plenty of protein, as well as healthy carbs and all the nutrients you need.
The particular ins and outs of your diet would depend on your tastes and caloric needs. Just remember to be consistent with what and how you eat.
In the end, your diet needs to be centered around your specific needs and goals. Get together with your doctor, trainer or a nutritionist to make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need with this diet.