Foods for Workouts: Strength Training

by in Diets & Weight Loss, Healthy Tips, April 27, 2011


We gave you the lowdown on the best nutritional bets for cardio workouts. Up next: How to eat when you’re hitting up the weight room.

Strength Training Basics
Whether you prefer lifting free weights, hitting a circuit of resistance machines or catching a yoga class, each of these activities have a strength component. Even sports like tennis, swimming and kayaking require a combination of cardiovascular and resistance exercise.

Whatever your excise of choice, the biggest mistake folks make is thinking only about protein. While healthy muscles do rely on protein for growth and recovery (especially after exercise), you can’t build or maintain lean muscle efficiently if there’s not enough carbohydrate and fat around for energy. Loading up on protein right before exercise is also a faux pas because you won’t have time to digest it — hello stomach cramps! Learning how to time your protein intake can make all the difference.

Protein Power
Take in healthy protein from nutrient-dense foods like lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, soy, nuts and peanut butter. Maximize your protein intake with these tips:
•    Spread protein out throughout the day- small amounts with all meals and most snacks
•    Get in about 10 to 20 grams directly following exercise
•    Choose protein sources you like and know you can digest easily
•    Aim for 20 to 25-percent of your total daily calories from protein

High-Protein Snacks
Make these protein-rich snacks part of your routine:
•    Low-fat cottage cheese or plain Greek yogurt topped with fresh fruit
•    Hard-boiled eggs
•    Smoothies made with milk or soy milk, peanut butter and banana
•    Low-sodium deli turkey & cheese roll-ups
•    Hummus and carrot sticks
•    Water-packed tuna and whole grain crackers

Tell Us: What’s your favorite protein-packed snack?

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

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Comments (24)

  1. SusieBeeonMaui says:

    Post workout shake/smoothie is a favorite for me. Here's one at 20 grams of protein and includes spinach for a veggie hit too:

  2. DawnBreak says:

    Well written.
    The basics are so important, and we sometimes need to refresh that simple logic.
    It is so easy to stray off track, trying to tweak and improve exercise results.
    Clearly stated basics, with sufficient explanation to reinforce.

    Thank you for sharing.

  3. Allen says:

    i do a protein shake in the morning and evening after workouts. i also snack on smoothies, hard boiled eggs, and beef jerky. i occasionally snack on crackers dipped in tuna with low fat mayo, relish and lemon juice.

  4. Megan says:

    To clarify, I meant that after a workout, stay away from fat and only eat protein and a fruit. At all other meals, incorporate fat, protein, and carb (veggies or fruit…not rice and potatoes).

  5. Ryan says:

    These are some really great tips! Water-packed tuna and whole grain crackers are my favorite things to eat!

  6. I'm big on the post-workout smoothies. They are a great way to get a quick 20g of protein in. One of my favorites is a Sweet Potato Smoothie:

    It's like eating a post-workout pie!

    • Carol says:

      As for who is writing these article, I think the tips are sensible. Some of us are trying to keep our health, not become super athletes as the majority of the American populs.

  7. Mila says:

    Exactly !.. Carol we don't want to look like a Mr. Olimpia !..

  8. Mila says:

    I mean olympia…

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