So, you’ve decided to start weightlifting seriously. Making the change to start a new fitness regimen can be challenging yet fun. Along with changing your activity levels, you will also have to change the way you eat in order to see the most effective results. Here are 6 different ways you will need to change your diet when you start weightlifting:
1. More Protein
This one is probably the most obvious, but protein is vital for weightlifters. When you lift weights, you will make tiny tears in your muscles. This is why they may feel sore after a workout. Protein helps your muscles repair those tears, making your muscles stronger and bigger than before.
Experts agree that you should be eating one gram of protein for every pound of body weight. If you weigh 120lbs, you should be eating 120 grams of protein each day. Many experts suggest lean protein sources such as chicken, egg whites, or Spinach.
2. More Carbohydrates
Carbs may have gotten a bad reputation with current diet culture, but they are essential macronutrients that your body needs. Carbohydrates are essentially how the body gets energy. Your body will break down carbs into glucose. Glucose is the main source of energy for your body.
This is why it is crucial to eat enough carbs when exercising. Carbs are found in many foods, including fruits, vegetables, and dairy. Carbs should make up about half of your daily calories. Many experts agree that to maintain a healthy diet, the majority of your carb intake should be from fiber and whole grain sources, such as vegetables, oatmeal, and wheat bread.
3. More Water
You’re going to sweat when you work out. It is important to replace these lost fluids with water. Water improves your performance during workouts. Being well-hydrated means you can exercise more efficiently for longer periods of time.
Plus, keeping properly hydrated has other benefits such as clear skin, improved cognition, and better digestion. It is recommended to drink water before, during, and after weightlifting.
4. Fuel Before And After
Many weightlifters will suggest eating before and after a workout. Eating before will give your body energy to have an efficient workout while eating after will help your body recover. After a workout, you will most likely be sore.
If you are new to weight lifting or overdo your workout, you can suffer from delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS. This type of soreness is painful. You may need to take extra days off from the gym to help recover. Some people like to take supplements before or after working out. A recovery supplement can help you repair muscles and prevent soreness.
5. More Calories
Along with eating before and after your daily exercise, you should be eating more in general. Once you start a new workout routine, you may find yourself hungrier than before. This is because your body needs more fuel. If your body does not have enough fuel, it cannot properly build muscle.
Many people are surprised to discover that they are not consuming enough calories when taking on a weight-lifting regimen. If you are wanting to gain muscle, it is recommended to increase your caloric intake. A calorie calculator can help you determine, based on your current weight, activity level, and goals how many calories you should be consuming.
6. More Meals
One way to get all your calories in is by eating smaller meals more frequently. Break down your three normal-sized meals into six smaller ones. The effects of meal timing are widely debated. However, if you are struggling to eat your necessary calories within three meals, you might want to try more frequent meals. Eating a little here and there is less intimidating than eating huge meals all at once.
Starting something new is exciting. Along with the proper diet, weightlifting can be very beneficial for your body and mind. Overall, your diet changes as a weightlifter should include focusing on getting more of the good stuff, such as protein, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and plenty of water. By feeling your body with the proper nutrition, you can set yourself up for a successful weight lifting and health journey.