Building an effective workout plan involves more than just choosing the right equipment and setting weight lifting goals. A healthy workout should be supported by a healthy overall lifestyle, which means at least six hours of sleep every night, adequate stress management, and a workout diet that provides all the nutrients necessary for strong muscle development. Use these tips to build your healthy workout on a foundation of good nutrition.
Workout Diet Tips:
- Most of our caloric intake (which should remain under 2000 calories per day) consists of well-chosen carbohydrates. Your carb sources should be minimally processed and derived from whole grains. Consider whole grain toast in the morning, oatmeal with fruit for lunch, and plenty of pasta with tomato sauce if you plan to engage in endurance workouts or sustained activity for longer than two hours.
- The second key building blocks in your workout diet should come from proteins, fruits, and vegetables. Protein supports muscle growth, but make sure your protein comes from lean sources like poultry, fish, nuts and legumes and skip the fatty red meats like beef and pork. Eat as many leafy green vegetables and colorful fruits as possible, five servings per day at a minimum.
- Fats are essential to a healthy workout diet, but as with other elements of nutrition, your sources can mean the difference between great and mediocre results. Choose olive oil, fish oil, peanut oil, and other oils derived from plants. Try to avoid fats derived from animal products like lard, butter, and fatty meats. Milk is a great source of protein and nutrients, but choose milk with a lower fat content, like one percent or skim.
- Stay hydrated, but whenever possible, reach for water. During bouts of intense activity, sports drinks can replenish lost carbohydrates, but this effect usually doesn’t make much of a difference until after two hours or more of sustained activity. For a healthy workout diet, avoid soft drinks altogether.