Growth requires proper nutrition.
The intense activity of strength training places great nutritional demands on your body. However, eating in excess in order to drive muscle growth can add fat mass to your frame, diminishing your appearance and inhibiting your physical performance. Following a meal plan that provides you with adequate nutrition for strength training will allow you to add muscle mass without gaining fat.
After a night's sleep, your muscles are in need of nutrients. Proper nutrition at breakfast is critical to providing you with the energy for training and recovering from previous training. Begin your day by drinking a liter of cool water to replenish fluid lost during the night. You should also obtain complete protein and vegetables with each meal. A perfect lean breakfast for a weightlifter may consist of two omega-3-enhanced eggs mixed with half a cup of egg whites. Chop vegetables including onions, bell peppers, steamed soybeans and spinach. Cook the eggs and vegetables in healthy fats, such as olive oil, using your preferred method. Have two slices of whole-grain toast for energy if you are training intensely, particularly in the morning.
Lunch could consist of a salad of leaf lettuce topped with chopped vegetables and a protein source. The protein source could be chicken breast, tuna, thinly sliced beef, tofu or steamed soybeans. You may use leftover chopped vegetables from breakfast for convenience. Add raw sesame seeds or nuts for a contrasting texture and extra protein. Choose a light vinaigrette dressing or a fat-free creamy dressing depending on your taste. If you train in the afternoon, you may wish to add a source of carbs, such as fruit or whole-grain bread.
The most critical time to provide your muscles with nutrition is the two hours following training, according to nutritionist Dr. John Berardi. It is often convenient to consume a protein shake immediately after training, even before leaving the gym. The shake should provide at least 20 to 30 grams of protein and 50 to 60 grams of simple carbohydrates.
Dinner provides your body with nutrition to recover from the day's training. Choose an ample protein source such as a lean steak or cold-water fish such as salmon. Add plenty of steamed vegetables for nutrition and slowly digesting carbohydrates to keep you lean. If your training session was in the afternoon, you can add more starchy carbs to replenish muscle glycogen, the muscles' primary energy source. These starches might include a baked potato with olive oil, steamed brown rice or quinoa, a pseudograin that contains complete protein. Avoiding eating within a few hours before bed can help you sleep better, improving exercise recovery.