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Diet for strength training

The importance of diet to a strength training schedule canít be underestimated. The food you eat gives your muscles the fuel to work and grow.

The metabolism

The right diet increases metabolism and helps burn more calories, keeping the fat off your body and helping muscles definition to show through.

The 3 Macronutrients: Carbs, Proteins and Fat.


Carbohydrates are vital for maintaining muscle mass and giving energy. Carbs are either simple or complex forms. Simple carbs are sugars, which are quickly turned into energy by the body and quickly used up. Complex carbs are released much more slowly, giving a gradual release of energy. Complex carbs are the best for your body, providing a steady flow of energy for your muscles, keeping your metabolism high and burning fat. Good sources of complex carbs are wholemeal grains. 

Simple carbs: white bread, sweets, sugar, white refined grain.

Complex carbs: wholemeal bread and pasta, vegetables (especially eaten raw).


Simply eating fat will not make you fat. Getting enough fat in your diet is important for proper hormone production. Eating fat increase testosterone production which helps to build muscle mass. Fat is also a good source of fuel. But it is important to eat good fats, such as extra virgin olive oil and nuts, rather than bad fats such as chocolate! Diary fat should be eaten with caution too, such as cheese, full fat milk and cream.

Good fats: Nuts, extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, oily fish.

Bad fats: Meat fat, dairy fat.


Protein is necessary to help muscles grow and repair. Protein also helps to speed up metabolism. The energy high gained from carbs is stabilised by proteins, reducing any fat storage from unused carb-induced energy. Protein is also difficult for the body to digest, so it takes more energy for the body to actually process protein rich foods. This increases you metabolism.  

The importance of protein for strength training 

When strength training, your body requires plenty of high protein foods. Protein is what your muscles use to grow and repair and if you don't have enough of it they simply canít develop. 

Good sources of high protein food:
  • Lean meat, preferably organic. To keep meat lean, cut off visible fat before serving and choose healthy cooking methods such as grilling rather then frying.
  • Fish, especially oily fish which has plenty of amino acids. 
  • Eggs, especially the whites.
  • Natural yoghurt. 
  • Nuts and beans, especially almonds and quinoa (a complete protein).
  • Quinoa - a natural wholegrain, providing all of your essential amino acids. Quinoa is excellent for strength training as it is classed as a complete protein.

Frequency of meals

When strength training it is important to eat plenty of meals throughout the day. Your muscles needs a constant supply of energy to refuel, repair and grow. this also helps to keep your metabolism up. This is best achieved by eating regular, small meals consisting of good food which gives you all your nutrients. Eating between five and seven times a day is ideal. try not to leave more than four hours between meals, ideally only two or three. 

Eating before bed

Remember to eat a little before bed as, when asleep for more than four hours or so, your body is effectively in starvation mode. This can be bad news for muscle growth as you have no adequate fuel supply. This is why it is best to eat a small high protein snack a short while before bed. For example, egg whites, lean meat or fish. A small amount of carbs is OK as long as it is not right before bed, but allow enough time for your insulin levels to drop again before sleeping

Drinking water

In order to give your body what it needs to grow stronger drink water and lots of it. Aim to consume up to a gallon a day spaced out over the day. Remember to keep hydrated when training. Be careful not to drink too much during a workout though because you run the risk of diluting important electrolytes and causing stomach cramps.






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