Eating for Strength
You might think that if you have bulging biceps or large lats, you can lift from the rack with the heaviest weights. This is not the case, however. If you are not fuelling your body the right way, with the right foods, you will find that you will not perform as desired with the heavy weights.
Training for strength requires the proper fuel for your body, which will help your muscles perform at their best in order to lift the most weight possible.
The following are ways to ensure that your muscles perform at their best:
Protein is vital in assisting muscle growth, and it is said that you require 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight. Protein is critical in the protection of muscle, because the heavier you are lifting, the more damage is done to your muscle fibers. The more damage your muscles undergo, the more recovery is needed- this then leads to muscle growth. Protein is required for these processes to take place as they should. Some of the best sources of protein include eggs, fish, beef, poultry (chicken), dairy and some beans. Protein powders such as whey, casein, and soy are also great sources of protein.
In order to retain your strength throughout your sets, you need a lot of carbohydrates for fuel. The ideal amount is 2-3 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight, and up to almost double that amount on the day before you will be doing very heavy lifting. Foods that offer good carbs are oatmeal, brown rice, pasta, and whole-wheat bread.
Not only healthy fats, but also saturated fats are essential for bodybuilders and those who do
powerlifting. A higher fat intake is linked to higher testosterone levels- especially a higher intake of saturated fats. Beef is a great source of both saturated fat and protein. Healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, and peanut butter also assist in keeping lean and joint recovery. Salmon, tuna, and walnuts are essential omega-3 fats that should be included in your diet. Always ensure that your intake of unsaturated fats is more than half your overall intake of fats.
Ensure that you eat more calories than you burn, if you are in bodybuilding. If you burn more calories than you are eating, your body will starve. This will not allow for strength gains, growth, or the proper regeneration of muscle tissue. Follow the previous steps to ensure your calorie intake is adequate and effective.
Taking in the right supplements can greatly affect your strength levels. Some supplements to consider are:
Caffeine- provides a boost in muscle strength and an energy boost
Arginine- assists in the increasing of blood flow to the muscles
Creatine- builds strength
Beta-alanine- increases strength and endurance
References: "5 Ways to Eat for Strength" Muscle & Fitness, 2014