Unlike healthy eating to build big muscles or gain great muscular definition the diet you follow for strength development is unique because you your goal might be to neither gain or lose weight.
If this is the case as it is with many sports people from boxers to gymnasts you might think what food you eat is not really important. However, to reach your true strength potential as a strength athlete the right healthy eating plan is imperative and the purpose of this article is to discuss the best way to go about it.
The first consideration for anyone who doesn’t want to change how much they weigh but still desires great strength is what percentage of their present weight is fat.
If you currently have a high fat percentage your first goal should be to lower it to that of a well conditioned athlete and replace it with muscle. By doing this, it is possible to stay the same weight but be far stronger because of the new muscle you possess.
For example, a 170 pound man who has a fat percentage of over 20% could follow a health eating plan and reduce his fat percentage level to 10% but still remain the same weight because of new muscle gains. The result would be no change in weight what so ever but he would look and perform far better as muscle provides strength but excess fat is simply trying to play sport carrying suitcases.
Therefore, the first thing any serious strength athlete should do is get their fat percentage down to optimum levels for sporting performance.
The next consideration is how important a good diet is for strength athletes who already possess a low level fat percentage?
The answer is the right diet is still imperative because although you might look and feel like the strength athlete that you are, you have won the battle but not the war.
Healthy eating is still the order of the day for many reasons such as
The sports person who follows a healthy eating life style is far less likely to suffer illness as their diet contains all the nutrients necessary for good health. The result is less time away from training which means superior strength gains.
By sticking to the correct diet you will insure that you receive the necessary protein for muscle growth, carbohydrates for energy and fat for protein absorption. This will give your body the very best chance to adapt how you want it to i.e. strength gains.
Because the foods in the right diet do not have the high calories of processed foods that are full of fat or sugar you never have to feel hungry and can still eat every couple of hours whilst remaining the same weight.
The discipline developed when sticking to a certain diet spreads over to other areas of your life including the strength training you do. The result is, if you have spent the day eating only specific foods to improve your training you are far less likely to miss or not give 100% to your workout routine.
Like everything else in life that demands discipline, following a healthy eating plan and sticking to it develops confidence which comes from knowing you have given yourself the best possible chance of success.
What is healthy eating for strength athletes?
The great thing about eating purely for strength is you do not have to feel bloated and lethargic all the time as can be the case when trying to gain weight nor does your diet have to be as strict as someone who wants to get ripped.
Once you have your fat percentage level under control all you have to do is maintain the weight you already are which is a lot easier than trying to change it.
Therefore, healthy eating for strength athletes is a simple case of knowing how many calories you need each day to maintain your present weight and making sure those calories are made up from wholesome food such as fish, lean meat, vegetables, fruit and whole grains.
How many calories are needed for weight maintenance?
For a rough guide on how to maintain your present weight multiply how many pounds you weigh by 15. For example, using this guide a 150 pound man would need 2,250 calories to remain the same.
However, please keep in mind this is only a guide and for precise figures there are many variables to take into consideration such as your metabolism, age, and level of activity. Having said that if you use this as a base line, keep a journal of what you eat and weigh yourself regularly you can soon work out your exact calorie requirements. You can read reviews on health supplements and recommendations for the best multivitamin brand here.
What foods should strength athletes eat?
The foods needed to build strength are wholesome healthy foods. Fish, lean meats and low fat dairy products are great for protein. Lots of fruits and vegetables are essential, include whole grains such as brown rice and get your fats from natural sources such as olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, sunflower oil and oily fish such as sardines.
Breaking the diet down.
The exact percentages of protein, carbohydrates and fats are not cast in stone and can be altered depending on personal choice. For a guide, a healthy eating plan consisting of 30 to 40% protein, 40 to 50 % carbohydrates and 20 to 30 % fats is a good starting point.
Healthy eating is important for maximum strength gains even if you do not want to change your present weight. To reach your true strength potential the first goal should always be to reduce your fat levels to those of a well conditioned athlete as excess fat serves no useful purpose and only hampers sporting performance.
On the other hand the muscle that you build to replace the fat and maintain your present weight is beneficial and will help to increase your strength.
Once you have achieved the optimum fat level percentage keeping to a healthy eating plan will make sure you have all the necessary nutrients for good health and provide your body with the best chance of repair and recovery to adapt to the changes you desire.
If you take the time, trouble and expense to build strength then you owe it to yourself to make sure everything else is in place to get the rewards your sacrifice deserves. Once you do that, you can be confident that you have done all you could to succeed and will therefore be proud of what ever level of success you reach. This is far better than wondering how far you could have gone if you had given all you could to the task.