Balancing Your Training Diet | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Balancing Your Training Diet

March 1, 2009 | Featured in the March 2009 Issue

One mistake many athletes make is focusing on one nutrient while missing the benefits of others.

For example, when trying to add muscle mass, athletes often focus on protein. Guess what? Carbohydrate is actually the fuel for intense workouts. Yes, you need protein, but as workouts increase in intensity, carbohydrates are what provide the differential. In other words, your protein intake should stay relatively the same as you add carbohydrates to meet the added caloric needs of practice. A small amount of additional protein may be needed during the initial stages of training, but then an adaptation takes place and protein needs level off somewhat. However, your need for fuel does not.

Keep in mind, excessive protein won’t cause your muscles to become bigger. Lifting stimulates the muscle, protein provides building blocks for repair and growth, and carbohydrate provides the fuel to do the work—which actually strengthens the muscle fibers and causes them to hypertrophy/ grow. Additionally, carbohydrate helps trigger the insulin reaction, which helps take both amino acids from protein and the carbohydrate into muscle cells. Carbohydrate may also help with immune function.

Examples: 150-lb. athlete needs 108-122 grams of protein per day (this equals 1.6-1.8 grams per kg/bw). A quarter pound burger or sandwich (4 oz. meat) has 34 grams of protein; a pint of milk 16 grams, which is almost half of daily needs in just one meal (50g).

Examples of good carb choices to include daily are: fruit flavored yogurt, plain or chocolate milk, fruits and 100 percent fruit juices, oatmeal, whole grain breads, cereals, rice, pastas or other grains, vegetables, white and sweet potatoes, and starchy vegetables.

Have at least one or two of these foods at each meal, and just after a workout.

Rich sources of protein are milk, cheese, eggs, meat, fish and poultry. Beans, nuts and soy foods contain protein in smaller amounts.

Heidi Skolnik is the nutrition consultant for the New York Giants. Andrea Chernus is a registered dietitian and exercise physiologist.  

Must See
Michael Jordan: Mind of a Champion
Views: 545,174
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 3,974,807
Dashon Goldson: "You Just Gotta Have Heart"
Views: 3,145,208

Featured Videos

Dwight Howard Ab Workout Views: 62,465
John Wall Elbow-to-Elbow Shooting Drill Views: 186,408
Elite Performance with Mike Boyle: Build Explosive Power With Contrast Training Views: 17,719
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Colby Lewis's Post-Game Band Splitter Routine
Views: 8,349,311
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 3,974,807
Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach
Views: 8,690,610
Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,504
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,173,968

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

How and Why to Eat Mindfully

Eat Mindfully A lot of what I focus on as a Registered Dietitian is not just what you are eating, but why and how you are eating. Sounds pretty simple-...

The Nutrition That Powers Joe Thomas's Iron-Man Streak

The 5 Foods That Will Rule 2015

Why Are People Drinking Charcoal?

4 Endomorph Diet Strategies to Accelerate Fat Loss

Are 'Healthy Chips' Really Healthy? 5 Popular Options Examined

What You Need to Know About Protein

8 Recovery Foods Recommended by Sport Dietitians

Simple Nutrition Tips for Faster Workout Gains

The Right Way to Gain Weight During the Off-Season

3 Tips to Eat Healthy on a Budget

Why Your Gut Might Be the Most Important Part of Your Body

4 Common Nutrition Questions Answered

Cheerios With Quinoa: Coming Soon to a Grocery Store Near You

Eat Like a Champion, Part 1: How to Build Muscle in the Kitchen

The Food Rules for Building Muscle

Halftime Snacks for Quick Refueling

Eat Like a Champion, Part 3: Post-Workout Nutrition

Surprising Muscle-Building Snacks

Study Ranks Paleo As Second-Worst Diet

Game-Day Nutrition for Soccer Players

Performance-Boosting Snacks with a Satisfying Crunch

Big Breakfast, Small Breakfast, No Breakfast: Which Is Best?

Types of Yogurt: What's New and What's Best for Athletes

How to Turn Nutrition Goals Into Actions

Pre-Game Nutrition: What to Eat Before You Compete

How 100 Pro Athletes Like Their Eggs

Why Chicken Soup Strengthens Your Immune System

12 Grab-and-Go High Protein Snacks

Post-Holiday Chocolate Health Benefits

Macronutrients, Part I: Carbohydrates

5 Changes Fast-Food Restaurants Are Making to Become Healthier

What You Need to Know about Fats

Eat Like a Champion, Part 2: How to Lose Fat Safely

Russell Wilson Wants You to 'Eat the Ball'

Is It Okay to Eat the Same Thing Every Day?

Why Every Athlete Should Drink Tea

How to Build a Meal Plan to Suit Your Body Type

Avoid Pigging Out: How to Conquer Food Cravings

Bone Broth Breakdown: Should You Eat This 'Super' Soup'?