How Weightlifters Get Their Nutritional Needs

How Weightlifters Get Their Nutritional Needs

Weightlifters are a true embodiment of the wonders of combining power, strength and physical ability to push the limits of what the body can do. Like any other athlete, a weightlifter strives for optimum performance at every turn. In addition, the sport calls for its participants to seek more and better themselves at every turn. Consequently, it is both very physically and mentally demanding.

As a sport or an interest, weightlifting is much more than the act of striving to lift heavier weights. A lot goes into preparing for the eventual feat of hoisting seemingly unfathomable weights above your head; it is not just about learning and perfecting your technique and performance. One of the most critical aspects of successful weightlifting is nutrition – your body needs fuel to help you perform better. 

It is no secret that weightlifters require significant amounts of food to perform well. However, this does not mean that you get carte blanche over what you eat when you take up the sport. In essence, what you eat is just as important as how much you ingest.

What to Eat

Ideally, it is recommended to have a daily macronutrient breakdown of 1.4 to 2 grams of protein per kg of body weight, 5 to 8 grams of carbohydrates per kg of body weight and about 28 to 30% of calories from fat for optimum performance.

Notably, protein is, perhaps, the most crucial nutrient. In fitness circles, there has always been an implicit belief that protein intake is vital in resistance-training based sports. For example, Antonia et al. wrote in the 2015 Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition: combining a heavy resistance training programme-like weightlifting- with a high-protein diet can help improve the body composition in healthy men and women without any apparent adverse physical effects.

Protein is vital for muscle repair after damage from extensive exercise. Many trainers and lifters try to include a protein source in every meal: beef, chicken, eggs, pulses, soy, seafood, whole grains, and dairy. In addition to their main meals, any snacks they take in-between are also rich in protein. Such considerations ensure that muscles are constantly repaired after they have been broken down into amino acids.

While protein is indisputably essential, you cannot overlook the need for carbohydrates and fats for balanced nutrition. Carbs are often the body’s primary energy source. However, the main difference between weightlifters and endurance athletes is that they do not require as many carbs. This disparity is because the primary function of carbohydrates for weightlifters is to delay the onset of muscle fatigue. The more effective the body is at doing so, the less likely it will be to burn up critical protein stores before the muscles can utilise them. Some popular sources of complex carbohydrates for energy include sweet potatoes and other green, starchy vegetables.

Calories are also crucial. They are your body’s primary energy source, so taking in less than you need will jeopardise your training. It’s like filling your car only halfway for a trip through the outback. As a weightlifter, your recommended caloric intake should fall between 23 and 36  calories per pound of body weight per day.

Meal Timing

Once you have your what and how much covered, you must keep in mind one more important element of weightlifting nutrition: when. Evidence-based recommendations state that when you choose the right thing to eat at the right time, it will likely positively impact your training productivity.

According to studies performed by Snijders et al. and published in the Journal of Nutrition (June 2015), findings revealed that ingesting protein before you go to sleep “represents an effective dietary strategy to augment muscle mass and strength gains during resistance exercise training in young men.” Therefore, if you consume protein before bed, it will facilitate overnight recovery. In addition, you should also consider that what you eat directly after your training session is just as impactful. So choose your post-workout meals and their compositions very carefully. It’s important that you find some other steroid alternatives as well to have a healthy meal and keep yourself away from any kind of side effects or complications.

As for carbohydrates, they are best taken after your workout. You should aim to consume the bulk of your daily carb allowance post-workout. Their primary purpose does not manifest until you have completed active training. 

It is not always possible to fulfil all your protein needs as a weightlifter using food alone. To bridge that gap, you should consider taking supplements for enhancement and more targeted nutrition. You may boost the amounts of quality protein you take in each day with whey products like Muscle Pharm COMBAT 100% WHEY, Gold Standard 100% Whey, WHEY from GHOST, and Dymatize ISO 100, among others.

The main advantage of carbohydrate supplements is that they avail you of crucial carbs and calories without jeopardising your weight balance. The best carb supplements to seek are mass gainers like Muscle Pharm- COMBAT XL MASS GAINER, Max’s Absolute Mass, Optimum Nutrition- GOLD STANDARD GAINER and Rule 1- R1 Gain. For more bulk, try including creatine in your stack. Creatine is a chemical in the body whose supplements are commonly used for enhanced performance and increased muscle mass. Some of the popular brands available include Max’s Creatine X8, Optimum Nutrition- CREATINE POWDER and Dymatize- CREATINE MICRONIZED.

Finally, do not overlook your individuality. The guide above provides a more general overview of what you should expect to incorporate in your training. Nevertheless, one size does not always fit all. Therefore, do not fail to observe your body’s responses. Instead, use the above recommendations as a navigation tool and a foundation for your dietary requirements. Ensure that you take note of what works and what doesn’t. In each case, you should not hesitate to make necessary changes.

 As you delve deeper into the world of weightlifting, do not forget that nutrition plays just as significant a role as consistency and your willingness to try for better at every turn. With that winning formula in mind, you will be awed by all you achieve in the future.