Nutrition Guide for Weight Training
If you are on a weight training program you must understand that nutrition plays an important role in bodybuilding. It is not enough to lift progressively heavier weights and do the required number of reps and sets.
Your body also needs fuel if you want to be able to perform your strength building exercises properly.
Importance of Weight Training Nutrition
Food provides the energy you need for your workout and the nutrients to support muscle growth. In general, weight training athletes require the same nutrients as the average person, but you may need more of them for additional muscle growth.
Bodybuilders usually have higher calorie requirements to perform at their peak level. Two to three meals a day may not be enough. To build bigger and stronger muscles, you need vitamins, minerals, high quality proteins, carbohydrates, and good fats. Nutritional supplements also help in weight training.
Proteins provide amino acids that the body needs to grow new cells, including muscles and tissue. It is without doubt the most important nutrient for bodybuilders. The average person requires about 0.8g of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Athletes who are into regular weight training need about 1.4-1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or approximately 15-20% of your total calorie intake per day. Protein consumption should be evenly spaced out over five to six meals.
Quality protein sources include lean cuts of beef and pork, skinless chicken breast, fish, eggs, and cottage cheese. Protein supplements such as whey protein powder are excellent sources of high quality protein.
Carbohydrates are also important in weight training nutrition. It provides the energy you need to power your workout. If you do not get enough carbohydrates, your body will metabolize the protein and deplete the muscles.
Carbohydrates also provide fullness to the muscles because of the glycogen stores in the muscle cells. Lack of carbohydrates make it impossible to get pumped while working out.
For proper weight training nutrition, you should consume about 5-7 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight each day, or 60-70% of total daily calorie intake.
Carbohydrate intake should be spaced out over 5 to 6 meals per day. Brown rice, potatoes, whole wheat bread and pasta, and sweet potatoes are good sources of carbohydrates.
Fat plays an important role in bodybuilding nutrition. Fat has many nutritional and metabolic functions. It supplies energy and is used in the production of cell membranes and hormone-like compounds.
Dietary fat also carries fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K), keeps the skin and hair healthy, and provides a sense of satiety after meals.
The body needs saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats in the right balance for overall health and maximum muscle growth. Fat sources include eggs, beef, sesame oil, olive oil, nuts, avocados, salmon, herring and mackerel.
Fish oil supplements provide omega-3 essential fatty acids. These antioxidant fatty acids have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Limit your fat intake to 15-30% of total calories per day.
Weight training nutrition is not complete without adequate amounts of water. Strength training causes you to sweat and lose body water which is needed to transport essential nutrients to different parts of the body, aid in regulating body temperature, and flush out toxins and waste products. Aim for at least 12 glasses of water everyday.