T Nation

Diet for Strength


#1

My goal is strength and I’d like to know how important is diet? As long as I have enough energy to lift and protein to recover that’s all that matters right?


#2

This is the current mentality of many young lifters, with an emphasis on macronutrients above all. It tends to ignore the plethora of benefits associated with micronutrients; vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc etc.

Honestly, your best bet is to develop sound nutritional habits rather than a diet. This is a great article on the subject

Jim Wendler also offered some great advice on his blog

  1. Eat 3-5 meals/day.
    2 Have some kind of whole food protein at each meal (eggs, chicken, beef, fish). Full-fat meats/eggs are not bad.
    3 Have a fruit or vegetable at each meal. It doesn’t matter what kind – eat what you like.
    4 Drink no-calorie beverages. Yes, you can drink diet soda.
  2. Have some rice, potatoes, oatmeal, whole grain breads, pasta at each meal. Carbs are not the devil.
  3. All meals/food should be WHOLE food.

#3

Couldn’t agree more. Sound eating habits generally mean you’re getting your micros as well as your micros.

Also, I used to think calorie counting was for aesthetics only, but I’ve found it very helpful to me in making sure I hit my macros because a lot of counters give a macro and micro summary. They have a definite effect on recovery; plus it makes its easier to control how much of each you’re getting.


#4

Calcium, magnesium, potassium are important. To plants and animals. Cows and plants spend their whole lives collecting these nutrients. It’s a lot of work. Then you can just eat the beef and the veggies, and you get those nutrients. Like a trill vampire.


#5

In addition to the killer info so far, I’ll just add that you may want to be careful from letting “my goal is strength” become an excuse to add crazy amounts of bodyfat (“crazy amounts”, of course, being somewhat relative and subjective to the individual).

So keeping an eye on overall nutrition is totally appropriate and necessary, especially if you’re currently carrying some fat and not doing any real cardio/conditioning work.

I don’t think I caught it in your previous threads or log, but what’s your height, current weight, and general fat level?


#6

6 ft 160 lbs about goes up and down about five lbs sometimes. I had about a 17% body fat but I put a little bit on since then. I’d say about 19 - 20%.


#7

I started drinking sparkling mineral water like pellegrino to get those electrolytes. Is that enough or should I be getting more than one bottle of mineral water a day?


#8

6’ tall, 160lbs and 20% bodyfat definitely implies your diet needs some work.


#9

What should my body fat be? I can gain or drop fat like nothing.


#10

I don’t have much experience with mineral water. But if you can afford 2 bottles, why not?

You can also do stuff like adding bananas, berries, walnuts or yogurt to your protein shakes.

Hard boil a bunch of eggs, and get a bag of celery and some baby carrots. Then you’re prepared for any situation, with portable protein and veggies.


#11

Um, okay. That’s a pretty weird thing to say since you have very, very little muscle. (No offense, tough love and all that).

You tell us. Like I said, “acceptable” bodyfat will vary person to person. Some guys don’t mind being 20% bodyfat if it means they’re squatting 585 for reps. Some guys choose to keep visible or near-visible abs all year long.

Mineral water is going to have almost nothing to do with your progress. I suggest you concentrate on increasing your muscular bodyweight while building strength. I get that your “goal is strength”, but you’ll find pretty much no strong people your height and weight.

Get more specific about what “strong” is to you, set some concrete goals with deadlines, but you’re going to need to add size in order to gain legit strength, and diet is going to play a major role in that.


#12

The exact number isn’t terribly important, but here are some things to consider.

-If your goal is strength because you want to be strong in a strength sport, those all have weight classes. Unless you plan to become a superheavyweight (in excess of 308lbs in powerlifting and 265 in strongman, possibly more depending on the federation), carrying a bunch of excess fat will work against you. Fat isn’t muscle, and it’s just going to move you up to a higher weight class, where you’ll compete against dudes who AREN’T carrying a lot of extra fat. If you look at the 220s and below for powerlifting, the winner all tend to be jacked. Even the 242s aren’t carrying a lot of fat. At 6’ tall, you’re probably going to be in those weight classes, unless you decide to use some chemical assistance.

-Going along with strength sports, if your goal is to do strongman, there is a moving component to it, and carrying a lot of extra non-muscle mass is just going to make you slower, so again, not good for you.

I’ve done the whole “super bulk” thing and got plenty fluffy, and it was pointless. You can only eat yourself so strong so quickly, and putting on a bunch of extra fat doesn’t help. If I were to throw out a number, I’d say there’s really no reason to go about 15% for a strength ATHLETE. If you just want to move heavy stuff though, with no real ambition of competing, be the bodyfat you want to be.


#13

With your stats, you are borderline sticklike.

Add about 50 lbs of muscle. That will be your starting point. It will take a few years or more, but well worth it.

And drink a protein shake instead of
Pelegrino.


#14

Truthfully I try not to supplement that’s just more money that I don’t have. Also I’ve been told I don’t need it. I try to eat in my protein.


#15

Lol I know it sounds weird and I know i’m skinny fat. I could drop to 150 before this month is over just by diet. The reason I have very, very little muscle is because, until three weeks ago,I’ve been inactive my whole life. My strength goal is to get to 300 Bench,400 Squat, and 500 Deadlift. At least around there not exact. Once I get to that point I’m going to decide which direction I want to go.


#16

Yeah, um, I’m gonna suggest you don’t let that happen.

Cool. With those in mind, and since nobody moves those numbers while being 6’ tall and a skinny-fat 160 pounds, I’d revisit your original question…

[quote]As long as I have enough energy to lift and protein to recover that’s all that matters right?[/quote]…
and see that there’s going to be much more to your nutrition than “just” providing energy and recovery.


#17

Breakfast - Two eggs, spinach, banana (or watermelon), and whole wheat toast.

Lunch - Deer Burger with swiss and spinach or salad with chicken and egg.

Dinner - Baked chicken, some kind of green veggie, and a sweet potato or fish instead of chicken.

Sometimes I drink vegetable juice but mostly just water and mineral water.

Does that sound fine?


#18

That doesn’t look like very many calories overall.


#19

Should I just eat big portions or what?


#20

I’m a little on the chubby side so I’ll defer to others on that one.