Weight training helps you gain muscle and strength, which can make you appear more toned and prevent muscle injury during aerobic exercise. When weight training, a healthy, nutritious diet is important to provide the energy that will keep you going throughout your workout.
According to the University of Wisconsin-Stout, eating a mixture of complex carbohydrates and lean protein before a weight training workout gives you a slow release of energy. Whole grain bread, pasta and rice contain complex carbohydrates, as do vegetables. Eating complex carbohydrates after a workout helps replenish the energy lost from lifting weights.
The amount of food you eat should depend on the intensity of your weight training. If you’re training to tone up and feel healthier, you’ll need fewer calories than if you’re training for a bodybuilding event. UW-Stout puts the amount of calories in a pre-workout meal between 250 and 1,000 calories, depending on the type of weight training you do. On days when you don’t train, you’ll need fewer calories throughout the day because you won’t use as much energy.
Serious weightlifters often drink protein shakes before or after a workout. According to Cooking Light, this is because protein helps restore the muscle tissues you stress during your workout. When you’re resting, protein helps your muscles heal and become stronger. Avoid proteins high in saturated fats, such as red meat. Instead, choose lean proteins such as poultry, fish and beans.
If you’re trying to lose weight through strength training, try cutting down on your portions. A good way to do this is to eat three balanced meals per day and healthy snacks such as raw vegetables dipped in hummus to stave off hunger pangs between meals. Overeating can make you feel uncomfortable and bloated, which makes weight training harder.
Adding different types of exercise to your weight training can help you maintain a healthy weight and keep your heart healthy. The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention emphasises that adults require at least 2 1/2 hours of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise per week, on top of at least two days of strength training. Types of cardio or aerobic exercise include walking briskly, cycling and dancing.