5 Best Foods For Women When Strength Training
We all know exercise is good for us but with so much (mis)information out there about food, nutrition and fad diets it can be confusing to know the best foods to eat and when. Before I dive into this particular blog post, my philosophy about food never changes. I believe in eating real whole foods in their most natural state the way God intended. This means avoiding processed foods loaded with sugar and ingredients we can’t pronounce. I believe in preparing simple meals using simple ingredients.
Strength and resistance training is a huge part of my normal fitness routine and there are several reasons why: it helps me to maintain a healthy weight, it balances my hormones and decreases my risk of osteoporosis just to name a few. I focus on eating a well-rounded balanced diet that consists of lean protein, whole grains (good carbs), fruits and veggies but if you are strength training and want to know specifically the best foods to consume, this blog post is for you!
I get asked frequently questions like “when is the best time to eat? Before a workout? After a workout? Should I fast in the morning and wait to eat after I exercise if I work out in the morning?” It’s important to know that there is no one size fits all answer or advice. It’s important that you listen to and know your body. God designed you in a unique way so what works for one person isn’t what will work for you and that’s okay. If you find that you need to eat a little something before you work out so you don’t feel lightheaded then do that. If you find you feel better when you eat a post-workout snack instead then do that.
It’s less important when you eat than it is what you are eating. Exercise is not a punishment for what you ate and you can’t outwork a bad diet. All the exercise in the world won’t undo the damage a glazed donut with 10+ grams of sugar does to your body and brain. Lifting weights for 50 minutes can’t reverse the sugar you consumed. So focus less on when is the best time to eat and more on fueling your body with the right foods when you do eat.
Strength training is the use of resistance to muscular contraction to build strength, anaerobic endurance (a type of exercise that breaks down glucose in the body without using oxygen; anaerobic means “without oxygen”. In practical terms, this means that anaerobic exercise is more intense, but shorter in duration than aerobic exercise) and the size of skeletal muscles. Strength training is important for women as we age to decrease muscle loss and should be a regular part of your fitness routine (2-3 times per week). And, here’s the cool thing about strength training: your body burns more fat and calories throughout the day than aerobic exercise because your body uses more energy to repair and build lean muscle!
Here are the best 5 foods to consume when strength/resistance training:
Minimally Processed Foods – Minimally processed foods have been slightly altered for the main purpose of preservation but which does not substantially change the nutritional content of the food. Examples would be dried and frozen fruits, canned and frozen veggies, nuts and beans.
Protein – fish, skinless white meat, plain Greek yogurt, beans, peas, lentils and egg whites. It’s important to eat plenty of lean protein to support and build muscle.
Good Carbs – not all carbs are bad. Diets that tell you that you can’t eat carbs are false. Examples of good carbs are found in foods such as peas, beans, whole grains like brown rice, rolled oats, whole wheat bread and vegetables. They convert glucose into energy and good carbs are important for brain function. People who go on no-carb diets experience side effects like fatigue and brain fog. Good carbs help you to feel fuller longer, unlike bad carbs that spike your blood sugar and leave you craving more sugary foods an hour later.
Fiber – foods high in fiber are your best friend! They promote good digestive health so you have the energy to do more physical activity like strength training. Carrying around 5 pounds of waste in your intestines will only make you feel sluggish and constipated.
Carrots – I want to specifically mention the advice I received from a nutritionist when my daughter was in gymnastics. She said one of the best quick-energy foods you can eat is carrots. They are a particularly good source of beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. They also have a number of health benefits too. They are a weight-loss-friendly food and have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved eye health.
I am often asked about protein powders and bars. I am not a huge fan of these as they often contain a lot of added sugars like corn syrup, artificial sugars (sucralose, stevia, etc.) and artificial fillers like maltodextrin.
If you are new to strength training we have a ton of great resources to help get you started!
• FREE strength training workouts for ALL fitness levels. Click HERE!
• FREE 5-Day Strength Training Challenge. Click HERE!
• FREE Fitness Calendar with a variety of daily workouts including strength training, menu plans and recipes. Click HERE!
• Need resistance bands or loops to get the most out of your workout?! Click HERE to shop our online store!
I hope these tips have inspired you to live healthier and happier every day. Small changes truly can add up to big results!
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