Five Foods you Should be Eating to Crush it in the Gym
Have you heard of how many times you should eat for muscle growth? One big meal? Six Meals? How do you cut through the noise?
For a sport as simple as powerlifting, people like to make it complicated. What is essentially a sport dedicated to moving heavy weight - athletes inundate with supplements, training gear, and complicated rep schemes. When the sport you love is starting to get complicated, it’s important to remember that fueling your performance doesn’t have to be. Here are five things you should be eating to crush it in the gym - so you can get the most from your workouts and have benefits that carry you to your next training session.
1. Intra and Post Training Carbs
Many athletes think that carbs are the enemy when it comes to building muscle to maximize performance. What they don’t want you to know, is that post workout carbs are absolutely the key to building strength and muscle. The carbs you pick for post workout meals should be high GI Carbs, like cereals or white rice. Low GI carbs are easily broken down by the body and allow for fast uptake, allowing the muscles to refuel their glycogen stores and reduce the cortisol response so you can hit the gym just as hard tomorrow. If you’re having particularly long, hard training sessions, you could also benefit from intra-training carbs to keep you fueled, many powerlifters will reach for gummy candy to keep them going when the squats get heavy!
2. Pre Workout Carbs
It’s important to make sure your muscles have the fuel they need to actually get through your workout! This is why many athletes like to have big pasta dinners and carbo load the day before a competition. Unlike post training carbs, these can be low-GI, like sweet potato, oatmeal or brown rice. Using slow burning carbs can fuel your body for the long run, and get you primed and ready to approach the barbell.
3. Protein - but how much do you really need?
One thing that athletes are not shy about is their protein intake. Between bars, shakes, chicken breast and grass-fed beef, it’s almost like there’s too much protein in most athlete’s diets. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that athletes only need between 1.2 and 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Don’t know your body weight in kilograms? That’s easy! Take your weight and divide it by 2.2 to get your weight in kilos. Then multiply that number by 1.2. A 200-pound man only needs about 109 grams of protein a day. If you’re eating more than that, move some of your calories over and enjoy some carbs!
4. Nightly Casein
One important protein to enjoy is a nightly casein shake. Casein is a very slow digesting protein and can mitigate the catabolic response of the body while you sleep. If you take a Casein shake before bed, your body will slowly digest the shake, putting the protein to work through muscle synthesis. If you don’t want to buy more protein powder, you can enjoy a concentrated dairy source like greek yogurt to get your fix.
5. Don’t forget your Veggies
Dark green, leafy vegetables are critical for any healthy diet, but they can be especially important for the strength athlete. They’re not only rich in fiber but also packed with antioxidants that can lower inflammation and ensure that you’re healthy overall, not just a strong beast.
Try to add some of these meals to your diets, or include some of these foods to your routine and see how the gains roll in! Because you don’t need to live to eat or eat to live, you can eat to be strong too.