There is a great deal of confusing and conflicting advice available about the right type of diet for weight training. Much of the advice comes from people selling dietary supplements, many of which are unnecessary, and some of which are actually harmful. Like any other type of dietary regimen, diet weight training advice needs to be based not on the latest fad, but on sound nutritional and scientific principles.
If you are looking into the idea of weight training programs for the purpose of weight loss, you are likely to be even more confused. This is because the recommended diet for weight training varies, depending on the reason for doing the training. While some people’s purpose is to lose weight, others are in it for bodybuilding or for elite sport or athletic training, and much of the advice is aimed at these people. They are encouraged to eat very large quantities of food, in order to build up and maintain the required energy levels.
On the other hand, if you are taking up weight training in order to lose fat, you have to aim for an energy deficit—that is, the energy you burn in your exercise has to exceed the energy or calories, you consume in your diet. If this imbalance of about 15%-20% percent is maintained regularly, you should lose weight over time. However, it is essential that while losing fat, you maintain your bone and muscle mass and this why weight training is important. This type of exercise is often known as metabolic weight training. You should choose weight training programs that target all the main muscle groups: chest, abdominals, back, legs, arms and shoulders. The food you are consuming should fuel the muscle growth, which in turn will increase your metabolism and speed up the fat loss.
When you start your diet weight training, your aim should be to ensure you are taking in enough energy to complete your workout. The proportion of your diet should be roughly: carbohydrates 50-60%; fats 20%-39%; protein 15%-20%; plus plenty of fruits and vegetables. The carbohydrate content should be complex, that is, slow-releasing, carbs, such as brown rice, whole grain pasta, and oats, so that you will not have a quick energy spike which soon fizzles out. The fats ideally need to include essential fatty acids —Omega 3, 6 and 9—as these play an essential role in muscle building.
Of course, protein is also extremely important in muscle building, but it is important not to consume too much in proportion to your other food. The traditional assumption is that protein should be taken after a training session, but there is growing evidence that taking it before training is at least as important, if not more so. This is because the BCAAs, or branched-chain amino acids, in the protein can bypass the liver and go straight into the bloodstream, and thus provide fuel for the muscles.
If you are eating a couple of hours or so before your training, the ideal meal to eat is chicken or turkey, which take an hour or two to digest, combined with carbs and vitamins in the right proportions. However, if your meal is close to the start of your training, the best protein sources are fish or eggs, which are very quickly digested and contain a wide range of other nutrients. Whey protein, a by-product of cheese, is always a popular choice both before and after training, as it is excellent for muscle building and repair, but you should bear in mind that it contains no other nutrients.
Many weight loss regimens are ineffective and even dangerous, because they encourage extreme food deprivation, leading to loss of bone and muscle mass. This is why weight training programs are so beneficial, as they help you maintain the muscle while losing fat. However, the only way to succeed in this difficult balancing act is to follow the right diet for weight training, to ensure that the food you eat always works with your training, and not against it.