Nutrition

This is food no. 1 to eat when your workout is all about building strength, according to trainers

This is food no.  1 to eat when your workout is all about building strength, according to trainers
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When it comes to building strength, it’s easy to focus on what you’re doing in the gym. But what happens outside the gym is also key, especially in terms of what you eat. If you want your workouts to be consistently strong, fueling your body properly is key.

A mistake that personal trainer and registered dietitian Kylie Churnetski, RD, NBC-HWC, CPT, RYT, says he sees that people who do not eat enough. The people I work with tend to eat little. You Have eat for muscle growth, she says. In fact, there are specific foods that can work in your favor, helping make your workouts stronger and helping build strength.

Related: Research shows people who strength train live longerStart with these 10 simple workouts

General tips to keep in mind if you want to get stronger

If you want to get stronger, Churnetski says it’s important to incorporate weight-training exercises into your workouts. Stereotypically weightlifting is a great option, but there are many classes that incorporate weight training as well, such as CrossFit, Pilates, barre and strength classes, he says.

Personal trainer, health coach and nutritionist at My Body GX, Katie Epps, CPT, she says she recommends resistance training to anyone with a health goal of building strength. He says bodyweight exercises, using resistance bands, or using gym equipment can all be used as part of resistance training. The goal is to continue building on your starting point and increase strength incrementally over time, Epps explains.

By incorporating strength training into your workout routine, Epps says you’ll not only get stronger, but the ligaments that surround your muscles and bones will also get stronger, which helps prevent injury.

Related: These are the best workouts for building muscle strength. They’re simpler than you think

To do all this, proper nutrition is essential. It’s important to fuel your muscles when focusing on strength, says registered dietitian, director of global health education and training at Herbalife and founder of Living With Vitality Michelle Ricker, RDN. To do this, Ricker says to focus on eating protein- and carbohydrate-rich foods both before and after your workout. In terms of the amount of protein you take in per day, Epps recommends consuming 75 percent of your body weight in grams of protein. For example, if you weigh 100 pounds, you’ll consume 75 grams of protein across plant, fish and animal sources, he says she.

All three dietitians say it’s also important not to cut carbs out of your life—you need them! Carbohydrates are [a source of] energy and are needed to start a great workout and to recover from it, says Epps.

Related: What to Know About Strength Training, the Kind of Exercise That Makes Everyday Life 10X Easier

The best foods to build strength and make your workouts stronger

There’s one protein-rich food in particular that all three experts recommend to anyone looking to gain strength, and it’s one you might not be expecting. The answer? Beef. Red meat is one of the richest sources of creatine and contains a staggering amount of high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals, says Ricker.

Epps adds to this, suggesting meat prepared on the bone. When meat is cooked bone-in, the cellular breakdown of collagen dissolves into the meat. When you consume it, you get the maximum absorption capacity of glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen, magnesium, calcium and other nutrients needed to build and recover muscle and support joint and bone health, he says. Epps adds that the meat can be baked, broiled, or even boiled into soups and broths.

While beef is an excellent source of protein and other nutrients, it’s also important to keep your individual health needs in mind. If you have high cholesterol, heart disease, or a family history of cardiovascular problems, it’s best to keep your red meat consumption to a minimum. Also, some people may not want to eat beef for ethical reasons. All three trainers say it’s 100% okay; Beef isn’t the only high-protein food that can be beneficial for increasing strength.

For those on a plant-based diet, sources of amino acids like pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds, walnuts, sesame seeds and cooked quinoa seeds will help their bodies make more creatine, naturally, Ricker says. Additionally, all three experts say it’s important to prioritize whole foods rich in protein, carbohydrates and fiber instead of relying solely on protein bars or other processed foods.

It bears repeating that what you do outside the gym is just as important to building strength as what you do inside. If you don’t fuel your body properly, you won’t have the energy for your workouts.

One could say that when it comes to what to eat to build strength, beef is a strong option. So, if you needed an excuse to have a steak dinner tonight, consider this your sign.

Next, see seven strength training myths personal trainers wish everyone would stop believing.

Sources

  • Kylie Churnetski, RD, NBC-HWC, CPT, RYT, Certified Personal Trainer and Registered Dietitian

  • Katie Epps, CPT, personal trainer, health coach and nutritionist at My Body GX

  • Michelle Ricker, RDN, Registered Dietitian, Director of Worldwide Health Education and Training at Herbalife and Founder of Living With Vitality


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