When it comes to weight training there are two easy principles: you need to overload your muscles and then feed them properly to ensure quick recovery and muscle gain.
If you are lucky and you are under 25, your body lets you get away with fast food, sugars, take away meals and too much booze. And I am not talking about weight gain or loss – weight management follows other principles: As long as you are eating fewer calories than you expend during your training or exercise you will not gain weight. But if you are struggling to gain muscle mass, your recovery times seem to be endless and your energy levels are low even though you had enough sleep you should look into your diet.
A young body can not only recover from strenuous exercise a lot easier, it can do this whilst being fed an unhealthy diet. You can basically train every day of the week and eat unhealthy foods, you will still look and feel reasonably well. But don’t expect this to last.
If you are serious with your training you should be serious with your nutrition.
Your performance will increase, you will need less recovery time and you will feel better. And if you start to look after your nutrition and a healthy lifestyle whilst you are young it will become an automatism. You will increase your immune system, can forget about the usual infections in winter, your energy levels will increase and your so will your body’s ability to gain and maintain muscle mass.
You should eat before, during (depending on your sport and your training goals) and after your training session to make the most of it. Your nutrition will maximise the work you have done and prepare your body for the next session.
Eat low GI carbohydrates to refuel your glycogen stores – lentils, whole grain rice and pasta, vegetables, berries, oats, unsalted nuts and seeds. They release their energy slowly, prevent spikes in your blood sugar levels, keep you fuller for longer and your weight stable because it will encourage your body to use fat as a source of energy. You will have more energy too!
Protein is essential for muscle building. Stick to lean animal protein sources and add some plant protein – lentils, quinoa, beans. Add healthy fats like olive oil, avocados, and nuts and lots of water for sufficient hydration. Remember to drink more when you are exercising.
Avoid all added sugars, sweets, white flour in baked goods, processed foods and cereals, white pasta and rice.
Be consistent and be patient: eat the right foods at the right times. Change your habits around feed and surround yourself with healthy foods. If you train hard and eat well on a regular basis you will see results.
We are working with athletes and help them eat the best foods to boost their performance and reach their goals, read Triathlete Chris Norman’s testimonial here. If you feel that a personalised nutrition plan from a certified Sports Nutrition Advisor would help you reach your goals, speak to us today. This is what we do and what we’re good at!