Nutrition and Strength Training

By Basema Habash, Dietetic Intern 

Proper nutrition and eating habits are often overlooked by individuals looking to build muscle mass through strength training. For maximum results, training and nutrition should go hand in hand to ensure safe progress, bone health, muscle function,  muscle mass, and immune function. Ensuring you’re getting proper food intake reflects on your overall performance, toned body appearance, body metabolism, energy levels, and making sure no muscle mass is being lost if weight is lost. 


An effective nutrition plan will consist of adequate intake of each of the following groups:


Carbohydrates: An estimate of 2.7 to 4.5 grams per pound of body weight is adequate to fuel the body during strength training; may vary depending on intensity, time, sex, and size. Carbohydrates not only maintain blood glucose levels, but they also replace muscle glycogen. 


Protein: According to the American College of Sports Medicine, 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight is recommended and can generally be met through diet alone, unless a special diet is followed not providing enough protein; in that case, protein supplements are beneficial in building and repairing muscle tissues. These guidelines differ for each individual and depending on the strength training program followed. Consult a registered dietitian for personalized recommendations. 


Fat: 20 to 35 percent of total caloric intake is recommended to benefit performance, cell growth, and help absorb some nutrients. 


Hydration and Electrolytes: Adequate fluid intake before, during, and after exercise is important for performance. Individuals should aim to consume half of body weight in ounces water to replenish lost fluids. Consider water containing electrolytes or add electrolyte drops to replenish lost minerals: sodium, phosphate, and magnesium. Proper hydration and electrolyte replenishing will keep you from feeling fatigue and tired and provide better endurance. Increase fluid intake based on exercise intensity and duration. Some electrolyte brands to try: Hi-Lyte, Ultima, Nuun. 


This is not medical advice. Consult your doctor or registered dietitian before implementing physical activity and/or diet plan. 



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