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The Ultimate Strength Training Nutrition Guide



Food is a source of energy.

Your body uses the food you consume as fuel for exercise, much as a vehicle does with gasoline.

Your output is determined by the consistency of your gasoline. You can't expect top-notch results if you're putting bad fuel in your body.

Looking at our macronutrient intake will help us figure out what kind of fuel our bodies are getting.

Macronutrients (or "macros" for short) are "substances required in relatively large quantities by living organisms," according to the description. Protein, fat, and carbohydrate are the three main macronutrients in the human diet. Each macronutrient provides energy, but they all have different functions.

Protein has a calorie content of four per gram. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins; nine amino acids are considered "important" because our bodies cannot produce them on their own and must be obtained through our diet. Proteins are the fundamental components of muscle mass.

Fats have the highest calorie density of any macronutrient, with nine calories per gram. Fats do not make you "fat"; they are essential for food, organ protection, and, most importantly for strength training, the regulation of hormones like testosterone.

Carbohydrates have a calorie content of four per gram. Carbohydrates are broken down by the body into glucose, which can be used for energy right away or stored in muscle and fat for later use.

"To gain strength, my friend advised that I eat a low-fat, high-carb diet. However, low-carb diets seem to be the rage these days. I'm not sure which one I'm going to do."

You're not going to like what I'm about to say. But, since I despise lying to you, I'll be forthright:

It depends, and I have no idea.

Some people are unable to survive without carbs. Others, such as Dr. Dominic D'Agostino, will deadlift 500 pounds for 10 reps after a week of fasting and adopting a ketogenic (low/no-carb) diet.

We simply haven't figured out why some diets work for some people while causing issues for others.

Experimentation is the only way to find out what would work best for you. For a month, try a low-carb diet and see how you feel. See what happens if you try a "area" diet (where you eat all three macronutrients in equal or nearly equal volume) or a high-carb diet. The most important thing is to 1) take thorough notes and 2) maintain as much consistency as possible in other areas (stress, sleep).

You'll be fine as long as you're getting enough calories (more on that in a minute) while you experiment with finding the best macronutrient ratio for you.

We'll need to increase the quantity of our calories as well as the quality of our calories while we're building power.

To perform the essential functions that keep you alive, such as breathing, pumping blood, regulating body temperature, and so on, your body consumes a certain number of calories. Both of these functions necessitate the consumption of energy in the form of calories. This is referred to as the basal metabolic rate (BMR).

Strength training puts the body under fresh strain. It now has to devote resources (calories) to functions such as muscle repair and glycogen restoration, in addition to slinging heavy-ass weights around several days a week.

If you don't give your body enough calories, it won't have the energy to heal from your workouts, let alone grow stronger. Instead, it will continue to devote whatever resources it has to basic tasks, leaving you exhausted and unable to complete your lifts.

"That's fantastic. I'm not sure how I'm going to find out how much to eat."

Choose a dollar sum, any dollar amount. The number 2000 is a nice round number. After using the toilet, weigh yourself in the morning. Then, for a week, consume 2000 calories per day. At the end of the week, weigh yourself.

Have you lost some weight? Rep, but this time consume 2200 calories a day.

Repeat until you haven't gained or lost any weight.

This is the daily calorie intake you should aim for. Keep in mind that as your strength training progresses, we'll need to refine this figure.

You may have figured it out by now, but just in case you haven't: when trying to gain power, you must count calories. Many people who believe they consume "a lot" of calories actually consume about 1800 to 2000 calories per day. You'd be shocked how little you're eating before you start keeping track of it.

1 - What Should I Eat?

Nutrition: a minimum of 1 gram protein per pound of bodyweight per day is recommended. So, if you weigh 170 pounds, you'll need 170 grams of protein. You would need 1.5x grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day for best results.

Protein is the most crucial macronutrient for muscle development.

To be honest, the fat-to-carbohydrate ratio doesn't matter. Figure out what works best for you. Just make sure you consume more calories than you expend.

Food Sources - Macros

For each of the three macronutrients, here are some healthy food sources. These foods should account for the majority of your diet.

Chicken breasts, chicken thighs, steak, ground beef, fish (tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines), milk, cottage cheese, eggs, and protein powder are all good sources of protein.

Steak, eggs, fish (high in quality fat), avocado, nuts (almonds, walnuts), extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and butter are all good sources of fat.

Vegetables (kale, spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce), fruits (blueberries, strawberries, oranges, bananas, pineapples, apples), beans/legumes/lentils (which are also high in protein), sweet potatoes, potatoes, quinoa, rice, oats

2- How Much Do You Eat and When Do You Eat It?

Let's talk about meal timing now that we know what to eat.

You'll need to extend your meal window because you're consuming more calories than normal.

Unless you're the sort that can eat 1000+ calories in one meal and then do it again in 3-4 hours, I don't suggest using anything like intermittent fasting.

Assuming this isn't the case, you'll need a meal plan that looks something like this:


Snack #1:

Snack #2:

Lunch Snack #3:

Dinner  #4:

It makes no difference what time of day it is. It's up to you if you want to distribute it. The most important thing is to eat enough calories to heal your muscles and recover in time for your next workout.

"Can I eat something before working out?"

Yes, for optimum efficiency. Protein and carbohydrate consumption in the right quantities will help you minimize muscle damage, increase muscle size, and boost your exercise.

"Great, so when should I eat before training?" "OK, great, so when should I eat before training?"

2-3 hours before class, in my opinion.

Some people prefer an hour or even 30 minutes prior to their appointment. That's fine if it works for you, but eating too close to your workout leaves very little time for digestion. Your parasympathetic nervous system will be activated, which is responsible for the "rest and eat" functions that aren't ideal for athletic success.

Make it a liquid, like a protein smoothie, if you're going to eat this close to your workout. Also, keep it light - no more than 200 calories.

The other problem with eating so prior to a workout is that it will prevent your pre-workout from being absorbed, essentially rendering it useless.

So, preferably, eat a couple of hours before your workout. Moderately high protein, moderately high carbohydrate, and low fat are the best options. Consume low-GI carbs (vegetables, beans/legumes, some fruits) rather than high-GI carbs (juice, sweets, potatoes, white bread, short-grain rice) this close to your workout to avoid a blood sugar spike until you reach the gym.

Here's an example of a pre-workout meal I'll eat 2-3 hours before my workout:

chicken breast, 8 oz (240 calories, 5g fat, 0g carbs, 44g protein)

1 pound of black beans (110 calories, 1g fat, 19g carbs, 7 g protein)

? cup walnuts 1 cup spinach (negligible) (100 calories, 10g fat, 2g carbs, 2.5g protein)

1 pound of blueberries

12 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

a body of water

702 calories

62g protein (35 percent )

Carbohydrates: 61g (34 percent )

24 g fat (31 percent )

"Can I eat or drink something before or after my workout?"

What are you going to eat? No, it's not true.

Ok, maybe. Some argue that drinking a protein shake after a workout doesn't bring enough protein into the bloodstream. Some people believe it makes no difference. Some people are firm believers in BCAAs.

Anecdotally, I've found that drinking a protein shake during my workout is beneficial.

But don't get too worked up about it. You'll be great if you drink plenty of water and eat enough each day.

Sports drinks aren't necessary. You don't need them unless your workout is longer than three hours (which it shouldn't be for strength training).

"When do I need to eat after a workout? My friend told me that I only have a 10-minute window to consume a large amount of protein and carbohydrates, or I'll lose all of my gains!"

There is no proof that fast-digesting hydrolyzed microfiltered whatever protein is any better than "normal" protein powder - or whole foods rich in protein - post-workout.

It's also pointless to consume a large amount of fast-acting, liquid carbohydrates (a.k.a. sugar) right after your workout.

So, no, it's not important to consume a large amount of liquid calories right after your workout.

It also won't hurt, so go ahead and do it if you want to! But don't worry if it's not easy for you or you prefer whole foods.

The most crucial thing is to eat a recovery meal within two hours of finishing your workout.

I could go into all the research, but you're probably already aware of it.

I'm sure I do. My blood sugar drops if I don't eat within 1-2 hours of working out, and I become irritable and useless.

In addition, contrary to common opinion, fats do not negate the post-workout benefits of protein and carbohydrates. We're aiming for a healthy, nutrient-dense plate, close to our pre-workout meal.

This is an example of a post-workout meal:

200 g sweet potatoe baked (172 calories, 0g fat, 40g carbs, 3g protein)

Sirloin steak, 10 oz (570 calories, 36g fat, 0g carbs, 58g protein)

1 broccoli cup (31 calories, 0g fat, 6g carbs, 3g protein)

If you're like me and feeling frisky at 8 p.m., a glass of wine is perfect. ONE VESSEL)

773 calories

63 g protein (33 percent )

Carbohydrates: 46 g (24 percent )

36 g fat (43 percent )

In conclusion

You must eat in order to rise and become stronger. It's possible that you'll eat more than you've ever eaten before.

It's important to remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. You won't be able to go from only consuming two meals a day to 4,000 calories a day overnight.

Determine your caloric requirements to begin with, and work your way up from there. Stick to nutrient-dense, whole foods.

Make sure you eat after your workout, but don't worry if it takes longer than five minutes.

Make sure you get enough of water.

Oh, and eat delicious food. Cooking is something you should do. It's far too short a life to eat boring food.

Frequently Asked Questions

"I eat 60% carbs, fats, and water and I'm a beast! You're full of nonsense!"

Perhaps. I'm not going to be able to write a guide that appeals to everybody. From personal experience, I know that the macros mentioned here would work for a large number of people, which makes me happy. As I previously said, I fully support self-experimentation before you find what works best for you.

"Is it important that I eat breakfast?"

No, but if you find it difficult to consume enough calories, you can.

"Can I consume alcoholic beverages?"

Alcohol suppresses testosterone development, dehydrates you, makes it difficult to focus, delays protein synthesis, and makes you sleepy.

Don't go overboard. If you're seeing mediocre performance, don't binge drink the day before a hard training session. If you know you're going to have a night of heavy drinking ahead of you, get your workout in before you go out.