What Foods Should You Eat When Weight Training? | Exercise.com Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

What Foods Should You Eat When Weight Training?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • It is important to make sure your diet during weight training consists of the right sort of calories and proteins.
  • What you should eat while weight training will depend on your goals.
  • Men and women often have different goals during weight training that require different dietary needs.
The types of food you should eat while weight training will depend on what your goals are and what you expect to happen to your body while you are weight training.

If you are trying to bulk up, your diet will be different than if you are trying to slim down and lose weight.

Weight training is an element of strength training, although typically weight training includes a cardiovascular workout in addition to lifting weights.

Also, weight training can include multiple movements while lifting weights to increase muscle confusion while working out, making the process more efficient.

When you begin weight training, you need to determine what your goals are: to lose weight and get fit or to lose fat and bulk up.

Knowing what you want to do will help when it comes to choosing your diet.

No matter what your goals are, you still need to maintain a healthy diet. Keep reading to learn what you should eat to achieve each of your goals and go PRO today for access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, nutrition trackers, and more!

What Foods Should You Eat When Weight Training If You Want to Bulk Up?

Gaining muscle mass is a goal many people who weight train have.

As you work out and gain muscle mass, your body becomes more efficient, which means that it burns more calories.

What this means for you is that if you don’t eat enough calories every day, you will reach a plateau that you will be unable to pass if you don’t change the way you eat.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can start eating candy bars and drinking sodas in order to get the calories you need to keep bulking up.

You need to get those calories from sources that produce sugar naturally, such as fruits and milk. Whole grains also convert from carbs to sugar in your bloodstream, providing you with another healthy source of calories.

In addition to increasing your calories, you want to ensure that you get enough protein.

Protein is very important for a healthy diet when you are spending a lot of time working on your body. The key is to ensure that you eat lean proteins. Fish is an excellent source of protein as is lean pork.

You should avoid eating more than four ounces of red meat a week simply because even the leanest red meats will have an effect on your heart. Many weightlifters include supplements to meet these nutritional needs.

In addition to what you eat, you need to consider how much you eat.

As mentioned above, your body will burn calories more effectively while you are weight training, so getting additional calories is important.

To achieve this, rather than eating more at each meal, start eating snacks throughout the day so that you are constantly providing your body with what it needs.

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What Foods Should You Eat When Weight Training If You Don’t Want to Bulk Up?

Women who weight train typically don’t want to bulk up. Additionally, some men, especially runners and swimmers, will weight train in order to increase their endurance without bulking up.

While the diet you should stick to is very similar to that of someone who wants to bulk up, you will want to ensure that you eat foods with naturally occurring sugars in moderation. When it comes to snacking, for example, you will want to choose nuts instead of fruit.

When you are healthy, your body burns calories faster than someone who is overweight, but not as much as someone who is building muscle mass. Too many calories and you won’t be able to lose the weight that you want.

Some of the foods you should be eating are:

  • Lean proteins
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Seeds
  • Veggies

In addition, if you don’t want to bulk up, you need to ensure you include a cardio workout in your routine, which is an effective way to lose weight without gaining bulk. You can run, swim, play tennis, etc. as part of a great cardio workout plan.

One area you don’t want to forget no matter what you want your results to be is drinking water. As you work out more, you will lose much of your stored water. You need to replenish this water. What’s more, drinking water will reduce excess water weight as well.

For a discussion on the benefits of water vs. sports drinks, please view the video below!

What Foods Should You Avoid When Weight Training?

Just as important as eating the right foods is avoiding the wrong foods.

You should limit yourself when eating:

  • Red meat
  • Saturated fats
  • Candy
  • Cake
  • Fast food
  • Alcohol
  • Salt

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Will weight training make me bulky?

Not unless you want it to. For women especially, it takes a lot of purposeful programming, eating, and supplementation to look “bulky.”

Do you have to eat more to gain muscle?

Typically, yes. Some bodybuilders will go into a “bulking” phase where they eat in a caloric surplus to gain muscle mass. Bulking, of course, results in body fat gain as well, so some individuals prefer to recomp. This equates to slower overall muscle growth but does cut down on the fat gained.

Should I do high reps with a low weight or low reps with a high weight?

This depends on your goals. Ideally, one would dabble in both forms of lifting.

Choose a diet and workout plan for weight training today, and then track your daily victories with our advanced stats to keep you motivated and focused on your big goals. Sign up for our PRO Plan today to get started.

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