Many clients expect their coaches to provide them with a training plan that will solve all of their issues.
Of course, a good workout plan can deliver many benefits, but it alone is not enough. Good nutrition is equally important for making the best fitness progress and improving one’s health.
Let’s discuss why that is.
Why Diet Is As Important as Training
Eating well is not as exciting as finding a great training program and getting to work.
Working out is necessary for providing a training stimulus that can result in specific adaptations. For example, if you lift heavy weights, you can develop strength; if you run long distances, you can improve your endurance.
But for training to lead to adaptations, it needs to cause a significant enough disruption that temporarily makes you weak and promotes catabolism (tissue breakdown).
Good nutrition helps you overcome the temporary weakness and stops catabolism. When combined with enough time and good sleep, food supplies your body with the energy and nutrients for progress.
How Important is Diet In Bodybuilding?
New trainees are often under the impression that their training determines their outcomes. But how important is diet in building muscle?
Well, a person’s nutrition will largely determine if they can reach their goals. Why? Because nutrition supplies the body with the energy and nutrients it needs to turn the training stimulusinto adaptations (progress).
Take protein as an example. The nutrient provides the building blocks (amino acids) your body needs to recover from training and build muscle. Without it, all the training in the world won’t promote hypertrophy.
Similarly, carbs are the primary fuel source for working out and are crucial for replenishing lost muscle glycogen during training.
Dietary fats don’t have the same short-term advantages as carbs and fats, but getting enough is equally important because they are necessary for hormonal health, nutrient absorption, and more.
What Does Proper Fitness Nutrition Look Like (Weight Lifting Nutrition 101)
Three primary things go into a good nutrition plan for fitness
- Adequate calorie intake
- Balanced macronutrient intake (proteins, carbs, and fats)
- Emphasis on whole and nutritious foods
Everything else is of secondary importance.
Adequate Calorie Intake
Consuming the correct number of calories is crucial for fat loss and muscle gain. Optimal growth requires consuming more calories than you expend, also known as being in a calorie surplus. In contrast, fat loss is about taking in less energy than you burn, resulting in a calorie deficit. When discussing nutrition with clients, you must talk about the importance of calorie tracking.
Balanced Macronutrient Intake
The second major component of a sound nutritional plan is a balanced macronutrient intake. Aside from eating the right number of calories, trainees must pay attention to their diet composition and get enough of all three major nutrients. Each macronutrient serves unique functions. Here’s a brief look
- Protein is crucial for muscle growth, post-workout recovery, and overall health.
- Carbohydrates provide the fuel the body needs to sustain itself, carry out physical tasks, and more
- Fats are vital for organ protection, nutrient absorption, hormone health, brain function, etc.
Emphasis on Whole and Nutritious Foods
The final crucial component is good diet quality, which results from healthier food choices. Eating primarily whole and minimally processed foods is necessary for supplying your body with all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other natural compounds that contribute to good health, disease prevention, and longevity.
Diet is as important as training because it dictates what results you can expect.
You might follow a great workout plan, but failing to fuel your body with the right foods would
result in impaired recovery and poor results.