Nutrition, Equipment & More
Nutrition, Equipment & More
Eating to support your strength training need not be a complicated ordeal. Eat the right foods in the right amounts and you will see improvements in both performance and body composition. The process is very simple, but that doesn't mean easy. Just like training, eating a proper diet requires discipline and consistency. Bottom line: if you eat too much you'll get fat, and if you eat too little you won't build the muscle you need to get stronger.
We strongly recommend getting your body fat tested as soon as possible so you can establish a starting point and track your progress. Schedule a DXA scan at BodySpec and use code: HORNSTRENGTH40 to get your first scan for $40. They keep all of your data on file so you can easily compare each scan and see how your body composition changes over time.
Aim for 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight (e.g. A 200lb male would eat 200g of protein per day).
Adjust carbohydrates based on your goal:
Maintain weight: 1.5g per pound of bodyweight
Gain weight: 2g per pound of bodyweight
Lose weight: 0.8 - 1g per pound of bodyweight
Don't worry about additional fats as they are abundant in most animal-based protein sources.
The first step is to establish a baseline diet. Once you've figured out how much you need to eat to maintain a certain bodyweight, you can make small adjustments to your diet every 7 - 10 days until you've reached your goal.
Start with 3 meals and 1 protein shake per day.
Each meal should consist of mostly whole, single-ingredient foods in the following amounts:
Protein (beef, chicken, eggs, fish, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.)
Men: 2 palm-sized servings per meal
Women: 1 palm-sized serving per meal
Carbohydrates (rice, potatoes, beans, oatmeal, fruit, whole-grain breads and pastas, etc.)
Men: 2 fist-sized servings per meal
Women: 1 fist-sized serving per meal
Vegetables (any kind, but the greener and leafier the better)
Men and Women: 1-2 fist-sized servings per meal
Protein shakes are a supplement to your meals, not a replacement. Drink your protein shakes between meals and, ideally, before or after your workouts.
Once a week (on the same day each week) step on the scale. Do this first thing in the morning, before you eat and after you use the bathroom. Write down the number. This is also an ideal time to measure your waist (around the belly button).
If after 7 - 10 days your bodyweight is moving in the desired direction (up or down), don't change anything.
If after 7 - 10 days your bodyweight has not moved in the desired direction (up or down), make a small adjustment by adding or subtracting food.
Repeat this process in 7 - 10 day blocks.
Examples of an adjustment:
Add or subtract a serving of carbohydrate to/from one or more meals
Add or subtract a glass of whole milk to/from one or more meals
Add an additional protein shake (weight gain)
If you were mixing protein shakes with milk, switch to water (weight loss)
Add a serving of nuts or nut butter each day (weight gain)
Restrict carbohydrates to pre and post workout meals only (weight loss)
Shoot for 0.5 - 2 pounds of weight gain or loss every 1 - 2 weeks. The farther you are from your goal, the more aggressive you can be.
Remember, just like strength training, your approach to diet should be "a marathon, not a sprint." You're looking for slow and steady changes in weight over a long period of time.
If you are significantly overweight or underweight, using a more aggressive diet strategy may be appropriate for a short time. Discuss these options with your coach before starting:
Meal 1: 4-6 Eggs + Oatmeal w/blueberries + 1 scoop of whey protein
Meal 2: 1-2 Palm-sized portions of chicken + rice + veggies
Meal 3: 1-2 Scoop protein shake w/milk + 1 piece of fruit
Meal 4: 1-2 Palm-sized portions of steak + sweet potato + veggies
Try to eat the same meals every day, or, at the very least, the same breakfast and lunch. This will not only make adjusting your diet much easier, but it will also streamline your grocery shopping, reduce your food-prep time, and eliminate your need to make decisions about what to eat every day.
Milk is a great way to titrate calories up or down. Milk is loaded with protein, readily available and doesn't need to be cooked. If your weight isn't moving, add or subtract a glass to your baseline diet and see what happens.
Other than milk and protein shakes, avoid liquid calories like soda, juice, beer or sugary cocktails.
Whey Protein (1 - 4 scoops per day)
BCAAS (good if you train early in the morning and don't have time to eat)
Creatine (5g everyday)
Lactase Enzyme (If you have problems digesting dairy)
Dominion Strength 3" Belt - 10mm (available quickly from Amazon)
Single Prong 4" Athlete Belt -10mm (ideal for most tall male lifters)
Single Prong 3" Athlete Belt - 10mm (ideal for deadlifting or for shorter lifters)
Single Prong 4" Prime Cut Belt -13mm (a thicker belt that will require more breaking in)
Inzer Forever Lever Belt - 10mm (easy open and close lever)
Inzer Forever Lever Belt -13mm (a thicker version that will require more breaking in)
Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training (How to perform the lifts)
Practical Programming for Strength Training (How to program the lifts)
Here are few resources that deal with the WHY behind strength training. If you're looking for something you can send your spouse or mother to justify your new interest in barbell training, you'll probably find something useful here.