When you think of a stereotypical weight lifter, you think of broad shoulders, a thick yet well defined torso and bulky legs. These traits don’t just happen by accident. They’re the result of years and years of dedication, both to training and diet.
If you want to achieve an optimal condition then it’s more than just turning up at the gym. Don’t get me wrong, training hard has its rewards but you will eventually reach a plateau which you will struggle to burst through if your diet isn’t spot on.
You may have heard individuals state that the diet is just as, if not more so, important as the actual training itself and to a large extent this is true. If you’re committed to your training and committed to being the best then a strict and controlled lifestyle is bound to follow.
So what should you eat if you’re serious about your weight training and have goals and ambitions of adding real strength and size? This article considers that question, both pre and post workout and hopes to answer all of your nutritional queries.
You’ve all heard the importance of protein within a weightlifter’s diet. This simply cannot be denied. Without adequate protein levels on a daily and weekly basis your training will ultimately suffer and you may even experience muscle degeneration or atrophy.
As your training demands enhance so to do your nutritional requirements and this includes protein consumption. Protein is required for optimal recovery as well regeneration and growth. Besides protein, what else should you include within your diet? Let us initially consider a pre-workout meal plan.
Prior to an intense weight training session, approximately 2-3 hours to allow for full digestion, a high calorific meal should be consumed. The exact calorie amount will depend on your personal characteristics and that of the training to be undertaken.
Within this meal, complex low glycaemic carbohydrates should be consumed to top up glycogen stores in anticipation of rapid depletion by your muscle fibres. Alongside these carbohydrates should be the inclusion of high protein yet low fat food types. A typical meal might consist of a portion of brown rice alongside turkey breast meat or something as simple as tuna served on slices of wholemeal bread.
Don’t forget the importance of adequate hydration levels pre-workout whist eating. Steer clear of fizzy drinks which will only serve to further dehydrate you and instead opt for a simple glass of water. Prior to your workout consider any pre-workout supplements or snacks.
Following cessation of your intense weight training session, look to consume a snack or meal within 60 minutes in order to start paying back the energy and fuel utilisation deficit. Once again, emphasis is placed on both carbohydrates and protein in order to restore glucose and amino acid levels to a base figure.
The carbohydrate:protein post workout ratio is often considered optimal at a level of 2:1. That is for every gram of protein you consume, you should consume a further 2 grams of carbohydrates. On this occasion the carbohydrate type can be sugar based and of a higher glycaemic index as the body requires a fast delivery of nutrients. Milk and eggs are both considered great post workout snacks.
If you’re serious about your training and work hard to achieve results in the gym then you deserve a nutritional diet that works hard for your body. Although supplements are incredible in what they do, there’s simply no substitute for the solid foundation achieved through food consumption, with particular emphasis on pre and post workout meals.