Some weight trainers do better with six smaller meals a day rather than three larger meals. Don’t fret about this; it doesn’t suit everyone. However, always eat breakfast.
Weight trainers don’t usually expend the amount of energy in training that endurance athletes do, so they don’t have to be as acutely aware of the intake of carbohydrate required to fuel such effort. For example, a marathoner or triathlete may require 7 to 10 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram body weight per day.
This is a lot of carbohydrates—equivalent to more than 32 slices of bread for a 150-pound athlete. These principles for meals prior to exercise (training or competition) are generally supported by sports nutritionists and have been modified for the strength athlete.
- Eat meals low in fat and fiber with some protein and carbohydrate. Fiber can and should be part of a healthy diet in other meals.
- Experiment and find your tolerance for various foods before and during exercise; this is important because many of us react differently to fiber, foods like beans, milk, various fruits, and so on.
- Eat your main meal three to four hours before exercise.
- Eat a smaller meal one to two hours before exercise.
- Within an hour of activity, liquids such as sports drinks and gels, protein shakes, or foods that are not too heavy may be best.
- A very small percentage of people get a reactive blood glucose drop (hypoglycemia) if they eat a high-carbohydrate meal; adding protein to the meal can prevent this.
- Running sports seem to produce intestinal discomfort more than stationary or supported sports like weight training, swimming or cycling; so the pre-meal variety can be greater if you’re not a runner