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The role of nutrition in strength training

The role of nutrition in strength training

You have been training for some time, but the success in the gym does not really want to happen? Then you should inform yourself about the role of nutrition in strength training.

The three pillars of nutrition, training and regeneration are elementary for progressive strength training and optimal muscle building. In particular, food intake lays the foundation for providing the necessary energy for the workout.

Without sufficient energy, effective strength training is also not possible. It is necessary to pay attention to the right and healthy diet, as well as to record your own training goals and to time meals.

  • Meaning and function of macronutrients for the nutrition plan in strength training
  • Specific nutrition for individual training goals
  • Meal breakdown for proper strength training nutrition
  • Features and benefits of meals for the strength athlete

The most important nutrients at a glance

For a diet designed for strength training, it is elementary to maintain the correct composition of meals. In general, you should always distribute the three macronutrients protein, carbohydrates and fat according to your needs.


Protein is essential for muscle building and strength training. Without it you will not make significant progress and build little muscle.

The optimal amount of protein per kilogram of body weight is 1.5 to 2 g. A 76 kg strength athlete must therefore consume 114 g to 152 g of protein daily. Underweight people should aim for slightly more and overweight people for slightly less grams per kilogram of body weight.

The balance in the selection of protein sources is very important here. Some protein is quickly available to the body, while others are digested more slowly.

Especially products that contain a lot of casein, such as low-fat quark, are ideal for evening consumption. Casein is a long-chain protein, which provides the body with protein longer over the night.

If, on the other hand, you want to consume protein shortly before training, a shake with Whey Isolate is a good choice. This protein is quickly absorbed by the body. The muscles can thus be supplied with protein in a short time to avoid a catabolic state.

Alternative for vegans: It is also possible to consume purely plant-based protein sources to build muscle. Here, legumes, soy and quinoa are ideal.


As a central energy supplier, carbohydrates are also important for strength training. Most strength athletes can benefit very well from them. Here it is recommended to rely on long- chain variants as far as possible.

Avoid the consumption of refined sugar. This provides a quick, but very short energy supply.

This means that they provide energy in a more constant and regulated way. In particular, oatmeal, whole grain pasta and brown rice are ideal here for a diet suitable for strength training. They optimally fill the glycogen stores in the muscles.

It is also possible to train in ketosis (i.e. 0 carbohydrates). However, most people perform better on a high-carbohydrate diet and therefore build muscle more effectively.


The absorption of fats is responsible for many functions in the body. They control various metabolic processes and ensure the transport of hormones. Furthermore, they are significantly responsible for concentration and cognitive performance.

In terms of intake, it is necessary to ensure that unsaturated fatty acids are consumed for the most part. Omega-3 fatty acids, in particular, are of paramount importance here, among other things for the cardiovascular system. Therefore, they should be considered for a nutrition plan during strength training.

Training goals and nutrition in strength training

A nutrition plan for strength training must always be considered in the light of the training goals. If you want to build muscle, you must necessarily plan for a moderate calorie surplus (ideally about 100 to 300 kcal).

Alpha Progression's calorie calculator is ideal for tracking your calorie needs.

If, on the other hand, you want to go on a diet, you'll have to adjust your diet here as well. The keyword is "calorie deficit". In this case, eat below your maintenance calories.

However, you should make sure that you increase your protein intake. This is extremely important, because otherwise your body gets the missing energy from the muscles in the form of protein.

Furthermore, it is necessary to pay attention to the balance of nutrient distribution in both muscle building and dieting. A deficiency is never good. Therefore, it is also necessary to refrain from diets such as low carb.

You also need energy for strength training in a calorie deficit. So be careful not to consume too little carbohydrates and fat.

Meals and timing

First of all, you should be aware of the fact that you should pay attention to a sufficient coverage of all nutrients when planning your meals. In general, it is recommended that you plan 3-5 meals per day for a weight training diet. Meals and calories should also be tracked.

Particular attention is paid here to protein. Since it does not have its own storage in our organism, it should be supplied constantly.

Contrary to carbohydrates and fats, which as energy suppliers provide our body with the necessary power, protein is responsible for the regeneration of cells. It is therefore responsible for our muscle growth (protein biosynthesis).


Consider your morning food intake as the starting point for your performance in everyday life and during strength training. At this meal you should focus on sufficient carbohydrates, a large portion of protein and a moderate amount of fat. This will give you the perfect foundation.

Your breakfast might look like this:

  1. 125 g rolled oats
  2. 250 g low-fat curd
  3. 30 g almonds
  4. 50 g raspberries (frozen)

Together, these ingredients make a balanced breakfast with 839 kcal from 54 g protein, 94 g carbohydrates and 25 g fat.

Pre- and post-workout meals

Meals before and after strength training are also very important. Here you should pay attention to the supply of fast-digesting carbohydrates. They are responsible as an energy supplier for the actual workout and for replenishing the used power reserves after the workout.

The need for protein must also be covered. So that the constant supply can take place smoothly, you should also take in the necessary amount of protein together with carbohydrates.

Thus, during training you ensure both the energy supply by the carbohydrates, as well as the cell renewal functions by the protein.

However, refrain from eating large meals just before training. There should be at least two hours between a large meal and a workout.


Here, a combination of a moderate amount of carbohydrates and casein is recommended. Casein is a long-chain protein found in whey products. For example, low-fat curd slowly but steadily supplies the body with protein.

Thus, protein biosynthesis can also take place efficiently at night. So you build muscle even better in the regeneration phase.


The role of nutrition is very important for strength training. The performance of every strength athlete is significantly influenced by the sufficient supply of nutrients.

Without the necessary energy suppliers in the form of fats and carbohydrates, we simply have no power in training.

The same is true for protein. No muscle building can take place without the sufficient consumption of protein. Accordingly, it is essential that the focus should always be on a diet suitable for strength training.

Without this focus, the personal record on Bench Press and a defined body remain pure wishful thinking.