We already know how important it is to eat right and exercise when you want to get into shape, but what role does diet play when it comes to increasing strength? The answer to this question is a surprisingly big role. Aside from the obvious fitness tips like “avoid junk food” and “eat your vegetables,” there are specific diet rules you should follow if you want to get stronger.
5 Diet Rules to Follow if You Want to Get Stronger
1. Eat A LOT of protein.
Protein should be your number one priority when trying to gain strength. Combining a protein-rich diet with regular weight training will help you build more lean muscle and create a sexy, toned look. Aside from helping you build new muscle, getting adequate amounts of this macronutrient will also help you recover from your workouts!
Experts recommend eating between 0.8-1.5 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. This means that if you weigh 140 pounds, you should aim to consume 112-210 grams of protein per day.
Check out: The Ultimate List of High-Protein Foods
2. Increase unsaturated fat consumption.
According to research conducted by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, women not only burn fat more easily than men, but they also use fat for energy over carbohydrates. For the purposes of gaining strength, we should make quality protein and unsaturated fat the focus of our diet.
On a side note, a diet rich in healthy fats will protect our joints while lifting. It is currently recommended that women get 20-30% of their daily calories from unsaturated fat.
Related: The Top 5 Healthy Fats
3. Don’t eliminate carbohydrates.
Consuming slow-digesting carbohydrates before a strength-training session will not only improve your workout, but it will also help you burn more fat throughout the day. That’s great because a better workout can lead to greater strength gains!
Slow digesting carbohydrates include foods like oatmeal, brown rice, whole grains, sweet potatoes, and more. We recommend aiming for 1 to 1.5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight each day.
4. Eat before and after your strength training workout.
Many of us put thought into what we need to eat before a workout, but what about afterward? When it comes to strength training, post-workout nourishment is just as important as a pre-workout fuel-up. Eating before and after a training session will increase overall strength, lead to greater lean body mass, and even decrease fat!
Try to eat 30 minutes before your strength workout and again within 30 minutes of finishing to optimize your results! Your pre-workout meal should be mostly protein, with some carbs and fat. Your post-workout meal should still include protein, but it’s important that it contains more carbohydrates than your pre-workout meal.
5. Stay hydrated.
Dehydration can negatively affect energy levels, power, and strength during a workout. That’s clearly a problem if your goal is to get stronger. The National Academy of Science recommends that adult women get approximately 91 oz. of fluid per day. This does not refer to purely water: Coffee, tea, and water-dense fruits and veggies also count toward fluid intake.
We are all capable of building lean muscle, but we have to be willing to put in the effort. If you eat the right foods, drink plenty of water, and lift weights regularly, you will get stronger!
Do you need a strength training routine to go along with these muscle-building tips? If so, try one (or all) of these awesome weight training workouts:
- 7-Day Tone Your Upper Body Challenge
- Top 4 Barbell Exercises for an Athletic Figure
- 21-Day Body-Toning Workout Plan for Beginners