Sports nutrition refers to the practice of diet and nutrition relating to sports performance. It is mainly concerned with the consumption of quality food, that is, food rich in vitamins, minerals, supplements, proteins, and fats by an athlete before/during/after the training or during the competition. Successful performance of an athlete is a combination of systematic training and a sensible approach toward nutrition. A good diet will not only help your muscles but will also improve your overall life.
In this post, we will look at eight reasons why the quality of your food is vital to muscle strength.
Good food will make you more energized
When you are looking to improve your muscle strength, you must increase your calorie intake (energy intake > energy expenditure) to make up for the work you put in your workouts. In other words, your goal is to achieve a positive energy balance. Not only is it essential to eat the right amount of calories, but it is also important that what you eat provides you with proper nutrients. Protein is essential for people who work out a lot, but it isn’t the only thing you need. Only a well-balanced diet will be able to leave you more energized and willing to work out.
A nutritionally balanced diet fulfills all the nutritional needs of the body. It is a diet consisting of the proper quantities and proportions of foods (quality proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats) needed to maintain health or growth.
Junk food can increase fat instead of muscle
Even though you need to eat more calories when working out, you should always avoid empty calories like the ones you get from sugar. Not only will they not provide you with any nutritional value, but they will also make you gain fat instead of muscle. Sugar from natural sources such as fruit is much better and easier to break down for your body. You should also avoid other junk food that might contain a lot of fat and grease.
Foods that are high in vitamins and minerals and low in calories are known as nutrient-dense foods. A healthy balanced diet is more nutrient dense than one with a lot of fat and sugar in it.
Berries, blackstrap molasses, eggs, fish, gourmet mushrooms, green tea, most nuts, organic and lean meats, sea vegetables, whole grains, and many fruits and vegetables, especially dark leafy greens (broccoli, kale, asparagus, chard, collards, etc.), all qualify as nutritionally dense foods. Other items often found in health food stores, such as flaxseed oil, fresh carrot and wheatgrass juices, legumes, many herbal teas, nutritional yeast, and wheat germ, also belong in this category. Surprisingly, dark chocolate, microbrew beers, and red wines also qualify as dense sources of important nutrients for specific reasons that we will explore in some of our future posts.
Fresh, frozen, or canned?
Because it tastes better, many people prefer fresh produce. Nutritionally, too, fresh is better—in theory, that is. but not invariably. To get the most from fresh produce, shop frequently and use fruits and vegetables as quickly as you can. Don’t peel, slice, or chop anything until just before you are ready to cook and/or serve it.
Frozen food that has been scrupulously handled can be more nutritious than fresh that has sat in the grocery for days. Frozen fruits, in particular, may retain more vitamin C than fresh fruit that has been abused in transport or storage.
Thanks to improved canning technology and the use of new types of lining, canned produce retains most of the food’s vitamins and minerals. Canned beans, pumpkin, corn, pineapple, and beets, to name a few, are actually quite nutritious. But most canned vegetables also contain an unwanted extra: lots of sodium.
A balanced diet makes sure you absorb the most nutrients you consume
Certain nutrients, such as protein, are needed more than others in your daily diet when you want to build muscle strength, but a balanced diet is very important. You should never consume all your protein in one sitting, as your body will struggle to absorb all of that. Instead, a more balanced diet will help you space out your protein consumption and leave you more fulfilled.
Moreover, if you pair food strategically you can easily maximize nutrient absorption. Many world cuisines put particular foods together because putting the right foods together doesn’t just taste awesome, it also helps you absorb all nutrients in the foods you do eat. Here are a few examples.
- Fat-Soluble Vitamins + Fat. Eat foods that contain the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K with dietary fats, which help dissolve the vitamins and ready them for absorption.
- Vitamin C + Plant-Based Iron. To absorb the nonheme iron from our plant friends up to 6 times better, pair them with foods rich in vitamin C.
- Foods rich in iron and zinc are usually best eaten with foods rich in sulfur. Sulfur binds to these minerals and helps you absorb them better. Therefore, foods like liver, beef, and turkey (rich in iron) and oysters, beef, and turkey (rich in zinc) all go better with garlic, onion, and egg yolks.
- Carbohydrates plus protein. Proteins break down at a slower rate than carbohydrates. So, eating the nutrients at the same time allows carbs to break down more slowly, helping stabilize blood sugar levels. This is crucial not only for sustaining satiety and energy on a daily basis but for recovering after exercise, too.
Medicinal herbs and plants can help muscle strength
Proper usage of herbs and plants can help muscle recovery and prevent a lot of muscle injuries. Organic substances are proven to be very effective in helping your muscles and don’t have many adverse side effects. For example, kratom is a very beneficial plant for us, and consuming it through powders such as kratom super strains is an effortless way to add them to your diet.
The quality of your protein matters a lot
Many people aim to maximize the amount of protein they consume, but the quality and where it comes from are also very important. So when you want to add extra protein to your diet, make sure it is a protein that would be considered higher quality. It’s also good to eat a lot of natural foods with protein. Not only will they provide you with the protein you need, but they will also provide you with other valuable nutrients.
The best sources of protein are natural and wholesome. Irrespective of if you are a vegan or vegetarian, you can get the right amount of protein from both animal and plant sources. Here are some of the best food sources of protein: lean beef, eggs & egg whites, skinless chicken breast & turkey breasts, legumes, tofu, low-fat cottage cheese and other low-fat dairy products, quinoa, fish rich in Omega-3, etc.
Diet with good food can affect long-term muscle strength
Good nutrition requires long-term attention. because there is no magic food or supplement that can be taken to produce a winning performance. It is actually your regular “everyday” diet that has the biggest influence on your physical performance and on the strength of your muscles. You may train for many hours each week for sports events that last only for 15-20 minutes, just so you can perform the physical and mental actions required with relative ease. Much more of your time will be spent in training than in competition and, therefore, your training diet has a greater capacity to affect your performance. This applies to competitive athletes, as well as those who participate in vigorous activities such as hiking, mountain biking, or long fishing trips. The quality of your everyday diet will affect how energetic you feel during these activities, as well as your stamina.
If your diet is less than nutritious on a regular basis, then you may become deficient in certain nutrients, such as iron or calcium, which can directly impair your ability to perform physical activity or recover from training and injuries.
Less processed food can be more effective
Eating better quality food means that the food you eat is less processed. Food that is processed loses a lot of its nutritional value and might have a lot of extra stuff added to it that makes the food unhealthier. Eating more natural and organic food is always better for building muscle because it’s free of preservatives and contains more nutrients.
Closing thoughts: Food quality affects the strength of your muscles
The most important component of successful sports training and performance is to ensure adequate calorie intake to support energy expenditure and maintain strength, endurance, muscle mass, and overall health. Energy and nutrient requirements vary with weight, height, age, sex, and metabolic rate as well as the type, frequency, intensity, and duration of training and performance. However, one component should always be a constant – the quality of food! Therefore, both food quality and food quantity are equally important when you train hard. They both have their part to play in the world of exercise and bodybuilding.