How should you eat when strength training?

How should you eat when weight training? Fitness trainers answer the most googled questions

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How should you eat when strength training? Fitness trainers answer the most googled questions.

If you’re weight training, chances are you that have some goals in mind that you want to hit, be it deadlifting 80kg, squatting your bodyweight on the barbell or nailing your first press up. While there’s no substitute for consistent training that overloads your muscles, nutrition is also a big player to improving in your workout.

But the world of food can be a minefield. One day the advice is to eat a high-protein diet, while the next everyone says blended celery is the only thing that will ensure you have a long and healthy life.

Want some no BS answers about how to get the most out of your strength training? Each week, Stylist’s Strong Women ambassadors answer some of the most asked questions from women who want to get into lifting. Today, they’re explaining what and when you should eat for strength gains. 

How should you eat when strength training?

Emma Obayuvana, Strong Women ambassador 

“Most importantly, just make sure that you are adequately fuelling your training. For most people, eating a salad after your workout is not enough. Don’t be scared of food and lifting making you bulky – it won’t. You should be having something to eat pre- and post-workout so that you’re able to have an efficient session and recovery.”

Caroline Bragg, Strong Women ambassador 

“If you just want to get fit and are working out a few times a week, you’re probably absolutely fine with what you’re already eating. But it is important to have a real look at your nutrition if you’re serious about your goals. For example, look at nutrient timing, which is how you eat around your workout. For example, the general advice is that we should aim to eat within an hour of finishing our exercise.” 

Should you eat more if you’re strength training? 

Caroline Bragg, Strong Women ambassador 

“A lot of people think if they go to the gym they will ruin their progress by eating a lot. If you’re trying to build muscle mass you need to be eating in a calorie surplus, so you need to actually up your intake.”

Emma Obayuvana, Strong Women ambassador 

“When you strength train you get little tears in your muscles. When those tears heal, they grow back stronger, but the body needs fuel to do that. You need to eat enough food to repair the muscles, and for a lot of people that will be more than they’re eating now.”

What meals should you eat when strength training?

Emma Obayuvana, Strong Women ambassador 

“I always divide my plate into three sections: good quality protein sources, whether meat or non-animal protein like beans or tofu; some complex carbs, like couscous or rice; and some vegetables, for me that’s often peas and broccoli. Those things are the basis of a really great, muscle building meal.”

Caroline Bragg, Strong Women ambassador 

“Upping your protein intake and making sure that you’re getting in enough complex carbs is essential. Protein shakes are popular because they’re fast acting and convenient, so if you’re struggling to get food after your workout or just need a top up, that’s great. But they aren’t essential. Focus on eating a varied diet with loads of vegetables and either meat or veggie protein sources.”

Follow @StrongWomenUK on Instagram for the latest workouts, delicious recipes and motivation from your favourite fitness experts.

Images: Unsplash

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Chloe Gray

Chloe Gray is the senior writer for's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).