When you are strength training, there are many reasons why you may not be achieving your goals. In my last post, I discussed the 5 training reasons why you were missing your target. In this post, we discuss the 5 nutrition reasons why you may not be achieving your strength goals.
1. Eating too few calories
When trying to build strength, it’s usually detrimental to eat with a fat loss, calorie deficit in mind. The process of building strength requires ample calories and nutrients in order to increase muscle function, but more importantly to recover properly. Consistent under-eating will be detrimental to your efforts. Figure out what your maintenance calories are and eat at that level, at a minimum! Even better, eat slightly more on training days.
2. Eating too little Protein
Building strength requires positive nitrogen balance in order to fuel muscle protein synthesis. What this all boils down to is that you need sufficient protein to gain strength. The US RDA fall woefully short, so if you are matching up to that, you’ll need to do better. Aim for .8 grams to 1.2 grams per pound of body weight. There is ample scientific evidence that shows clearly that this is the sweet spot. And stop worrying about your liver. Unless you already have a pre-existing liver condition, there is not a single stitch of evidence supporting the myth that protein is bad for your liver. Go meat!
3. Eating too little Fat
Are you still eating low fat and worrying about every little ounce of fat that you consume? Do you still believe in the US government’s low fat hoax? Come on folks…pay attention! If you eat too little dietary fat, you are seriously messing with your hormones and that will be detrimental to strength gains. This doesn’t mean that every meal should be bacon, coated with butter and coconut oil. You need to figure out what dietary protocol works best for you, but it MUST include a proper amount of healthy fats – saturated, monounsaturated, omega-3’s and omega-6’s. And based on my own research, I think it’s safe to say that the bare daily minimum is 60 grams for women. Aim higher.
4. Partaking of Junk Food Too Much
This should be obvious, but sadly for many, it is not. Yes, you can be overweight and strong, but who really wants that. You want to look good, don’t you bro?!? Seriously, think about eating clean 80 – 85% of the time, and keeping your indulgences on the low side. Also, don’t be what I call a “but-head.” This is the person who continually makes excuses about the crap they ingest. Today it’s one thing, tomorrow it’s another, and it’s a constant daily thing. Don’t let that be you. Clean up your diet. You don’t really need a donut with your coffee every day…..or any day, for that matter.
5. Thinking that Supplements are the Answer
There is no substitute for real food, when it comes to getting strong. Supplements are meant to supplement your regular diet for where you have nutritional deficiencies. Do not rely on supplements, thinking they are a super food. Also, do your research. There are a lot of supplement companies that operate on the very edge of morality/legality. Be wary of anything coming out of China. And be skeptical of most products in the US – i.e. do some research. Canada and the UK have the best laws to regulate supplements.