If you’re strength training and trying to build muscle, it’s important to eat enough food during the day to supplement your workouts. Other than getting enough calories in your diet, making sure they’re the right kind of calories is important. Carbohydrates, protein, and fat are all macronutrients you need to build dense, lean muscle. Keep reading to learn more about the types of foods you should eat and why they help with strength training.
If you’re looking for a new way to get fit and build muscle, Duality Fit offers a variety of fitness classes in Sloan Lake. Become a member and take our DualityResCon class, a workout that combines resistance and conditioning to help with cardio and strength training.
No, “whole foods” isn’t referencing the grocery store chain; you don’t need to shop there exclusively to get the food you need to build muscle. However, you should be eating whole foods if you want to build muscle. These foods are packed with the nutrition you need to give your body fuel to build muscle and recover after a strength training workout.
Eating starches like whole-wheat pasta, quinoa, white and sweet potatoes, and brown rice will provide your body with complex carbohydrates that burn more slowly so you can sustain your energy level over longer periods of time.
Protein like poultry, eggs, fish, Greek yogurt, and protein powders will help you repair and build muscle.
Eat fruits and vegetables that have complex carbs, fiber, and healthy fats to keep your body feeling full. These include foods like berries, bananas, avocado, tropical fruits, leafy greens, and beans and legumes.
Healthy fats like coconut oil and olive oil are good to cook with. Healthy fats help your body absorb nutrients and antioxidants your body needs to function at its highest potential.
Nuts and seeds are also a healthy source of fat and protein and are great to eat with fruit.
What to Eat and When
While training to build muscle, it’s important to eat regularly to make sure your body always has a source of energy to burn. If you let yourself get hungry, your body will start breaking down muscle for energy — this is the opposite of what you want. Keep your metabolism fueled and blood sugar leveled by eating snacks between meals.
The value of the calories you eat is also important. If you’re eating a lot of processed foods, you may be getting a high amount of calories without a lot of nutrients. Your body will burn these foods off quickly and you’ll become hungry faster. Cut out processed foods and stick to high sources of the macronutrients your body needs to build muscle.
Eat carbohydrates in your pre- and post-workout meals. Starches give you the energy you need to push hard during your workout and help restore everything you’ve burned off afterward. Remember to eat a few hours before working out to give your body time to break down the macronutrients into energy that your body can use. Eat within an hour after working out so your body doesn’t start breaking down muscle and fat.
Eating moderate amounts of protein before a workout and high amounts of protein afterward not only help restore and build muscle, but it also keeps you feeling full and jump starts your metabolism. Lean meats and low-fat dairy products are your best sources of protein without the unnecessary fat. Protein shakes are also a good option and often include the carbohydrates you need as well.
Remember that, on top of eating enough calories and macros, your body also needs to stay hydrated. Water helps the body absorb certain nutrients, flush out toxins, control hunger, lubricate joints, and prevent overly sore muscles. If you’re feeling achy and fatigued, you might need to eat — but you may also be dehydrated. You should be drinking half your body weight in ounces of water every day to maintain a good level of hydration. The harder you work, the more water you’ll need, though.
When it comes to building muscles, there are a lot of strength training programs to help you get the results you’re looking for. At Duality Fit, our DualityResCon class combines resistance and conditioning to help you improve strength and endurance. Become a member and gain access to an unlimited number of classes every month.