Diet For Strength Training
Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand. In order to reach your fitness goals you need to create both a fitness and diet plan. This diet plan can be different depending on the results you would like to see. For example, a strength training diet would be different from a weight loss one as you are looking to make gains which would require a higher protein intake. Therefore, when looking to build strength you need to view food as fuel that will help power your workouts and make you stronger.
What is strength training?
Strength training (sometimes referred to as resistance training) is a full body workout that looks to improve your strength and endurance. Typically involving weights, it not only helps you to tone your body through high intensity exercises, but helps you to become stronger.
Strength training exercises include:
- Weight-Lifting – This could be through a bar or dumbbell. Start with a light weight that you are comfortable with then slowly increase the weight as your strength improves through the strength training programme.
- Body-weight exercises – If you want to workout at home, without any weightlifting equipment then you can add some body weight exercises into your strength training. This includes, squats, push-ups, sit ups, planks and glute bridges.
- Resistance bands – This handy little exercise tool has a big impact. Resistance bands can help to add tension to your movements which increases the difficulty of the exercise and engages more muscles to help build strength.
Strength Training Foods
There are some core changes you need to make to your diet in order to see results alongside your workouts. You need to swap the processed foods and ‘bad sugars’ for more nutritious lean proteins and healthy carbohydrates. This is because strength training is high intensity, making muscles work a lot harder than usual. Therefore, the body needs the right foods to replenish the muscles in order for them to get strong enough to complete the exercises.
Here are just a few foods you should work in your strength training diet plan:
- TREK Power Bar – Our protein power bars are made with a high protein content (15g of protein) to help power your movements and provide long lasting energy so you can workout for longer. However, this high protein content does not compromise the delicious taste, so that you can get your protein and your sweet fix! This makes for a great pre-gym snack to eat before beginning the strength training exercises.
- Healthy Fats – Don’t be afraid of the phrase ‘high in fats’ – it can actually be a good thing. Fat-soluble vitamins provide the body with the energy and nutrients it needs to tackle a high impact workout like strength training. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are considered to be the most healthy. Monounsaturated fats include oils like olive or peanut oil, as well as nuts, seeds and avocados. Polyunsaturated fats are found in some plant based foods like sunflower oil, flax seeds and walnuts.
- Carbohydrates with a low glycemic index – The glycemic index (GI) indicates how much food raises blood sugar levels by. For strength training, you need carbs with a low GI which provide sustained energy levels, whilst preventing a sugar crash. These low GI carbs include most fruits and vegetables, wholegrain rice and pasta, sweet potatoes, couscous and beans.
- Lean protein – Strength training means your muscles are more strained than usual, therefore your body needs a higher protein intake. This helps your body to replenish nutrients like amino acids as fast as you are burning them. Lean protein foods are high in protein and low in ‘bad’, saturated fats and calories, making them perfect for a healthier lifestyle. Vegan examples of lean protein include beans, legumes, lentils, tofu and peanut butter.
- Micronutrients – Fats, carbs and protein are all types of macronutrients, but micronutrients are also an important part of a strength training diet. You can incorporate micronutrients into your daily diet by eating foods that are naturally high in vitamins and minerals. This includes spinach and other leafy greens, citrus fruits and lean meals.
Read more in our TREK guide to Micronutrients.
There we have it! Delicious, healthy, vegan foods to add to your strength training diet plan. The key is to give your body the nutrients it needs to cope with the increase in intensity on the muscles. You can replenish these nutrients through eating foods high in micro and macronutrients before or after a workout. Checkout our whole range of TREK protein bars for some foodie inspiration.
For more informative TREK blogs on nutrition read our helpful guides to High Protein Snacks and The Best Post Workout Recovery Foods.