According to the general rule the menu of all women involved in the active training process must include food products rich in protein and carbohydrates. Such foodstuffs support growth in muscle mass as well as strength and endurance indices. But choosing the nutrition plan based solely on a general approach may be insufficient. Age, weight, the goal of the training period and other details should be taken into consideration in order to achieve a significant result. Adjustments for metabolism characteristics and possible diseases must also be kept in mind. Let’s get into the depth of the nutrition plan’s important details.
Three key rules
Regardless of which nutrition plan you decided to pick – to gain or to lose weight – it must meet three basic requirements of athlete nutrition:
- It must meet the energy needs;
- Your plan must have proper proteins, fats and carbohydrates balance;
- It must consist of convenient meal intakes throughout the day.
Now let’s have a closer look at each of them.
Meeting the energy needs
There are numerous formulas invented by scientists to help you count the number of calories your body needs. Mifflin St. Jeor is ranked to be the most accurate one:
For women: (10W+6,25H-5A-161) × K
W – bodyweight in kg, H – height, A – age, K – physical activity coefficient. Data related to weekly workouts intensity and number are used to calculate the coefficient:
- Pro-athletes workouts – 1.9;
- Hard workouts 6-7 times a week – 1.725;
- Intensive workouts 3-5 times a week – 1.55;
- Amateur workouts 1-3 times a week – 1.375.
Get the number on which you should focus planning your diet based on your individual data.
Overeating is always unhealthy regardless of the nutrition plan you’ve chosen. Additional calories load your body and reduce workouts efficiency. Athlete with higher fat percentage is already in a quiet disadvantageous position compared to a shredder one within the same weight category straight from the start of the competition.
There are no benefits to undernutrition either. Instead of choosing a program aimed at reduction of bodyweight women frequently just reduce calories below the norm. They stick to such a regime for a long time hoping to finally witness a long-expected weight on the scales. But the outcome is often contrary. Placed in such a stressful environment body begins to store energy increasing the fat level. That’s a natural mechanism to ensure survival in future starvation. The workability during the training is also dramatically reduced.
To get the desired effect from a low-calorie diet it should be started at the end of the weight loss macrocycle and must not be stalled for long.
Proteins, fats and carbohydrates balance
The eating habits we got in our childhood don’t necessarily help us to reach the results we want on our workouts.
Pay attention to your sensations during and after the workouts and how your body reacts to high physical loads:
- If you feel sluggish, sleepy and constantly out of breath during your workouts, you are likely to have a fats shortage. The average norm is 1.8-2.0 g of fat/kg of body weight daily. This number can be changed according to your goals and training period;
- If you experience a lack of energy, nausea and dizziness when increasing your loads and your strength indices are stagnated you need more carbs. The norm is 8-10 g of carbs/kg body weight daily;
- If there ate twitches, cramping and strong muscle pain but your muscle mass is not increasing you lack proteins. The norm is 1.5-2 g of protein/kg body weight daily.
Allocation of meal intakes throughout the day
Eating a moderate amount 5-6 times a day without extra snacks is important for both amateur and professional female athletes. Our stomach also requires some time to rest, while nutrients need time to be assimilated.
Sticking to such an eating regime may be hard for women that combine their full-time job with weightlifting. Eating all your daily calories for lunch or dinner is far from being right. All day your body has been trying to compensate for the losses caused by starvation using energy storages, including proteins from muscle tissue. Thus it turns out that these expenditures are also needed to be restored. Protein shortage slows down your metabolism and regeneration.
Short-term starvation also carries a negative impact on metabolism speed. Consuming daily calorie intake at the end of the day when your physical activity drops to the bottom is a straight way for these calories to be deposited as fat due to lack of the time needed for absorption.
Eating 1-2 times a day and feeling no hunger is a real danger in disguise. As slowed metabolism is no helper for achieving your workout goals. You’d better restructure your menu to a split meals strategy.
Don’t neglect the metabolism characteristics of your somatotype
Nearly all general nutrition recommendations are suitable if you were lucky enough to be born with a mesomorph body. You can easily gain and tone your muscle mass, besides it is always perfectly balanced with the fat level. With the proper training program, muscle growth and fat loss occur almost in no time.
Alas, the same cannot be said about ectomorph. His rapid metabolism makes muscle gains a great challenge. Ectomorphs need to eat more frequently (up to 7 times per day), and eat before sleep (30 minutes prior to bedtime). Carbohydrates take half of an ectomorph’s diet, proteins – 30%, fats – all that remains.
To be an endomorph is the hardest thing of all. Slow metabolism and high-fat level require permanent and thorough control over calorie intake. Total exclusion of fast carbohydrates and application of cutting training plans is strongly advised.
Joint pain? Make your nutrition right
Joints are one of the most vulnerable weightlifter’s spots. A properly organized nutrition plan helps to avoid diseases, strengthen cartilage tissue and significantly improve your life quality if the ailment has already happened.
Main limitations if you have joint problems:
- Avoid food products provoking and supporting inflammation: spicy sauces, spice, marinades, savory and sour vegetables (sorrel, radishes, rhubarb and others). Also, they are appetite stimulators that could make an athlete overeat.
- Exclude foodstuffs that exacerbate the disease. Gout, for example, needs restrictions in consumption of canned meat and fish, broth, liver, mushrooms, pulses, strong coffee and tea.
- Reduce the consumption of animal fats: poultry, fish and dairy products.
- Reduce the consumption of fast carbs: bakery, candy, sweet soda and alcohol.
You should not exclude meat completely, adding some boiled meat 2-3 times a week will be sufficient. The menu should be based upon eggs, dairy products (unless it’s gout) and plant food. The larger part should be given to seafood. It helps to reduce the relapse of joint diseases due to a great amount of biologically active substances. You can also reduce the dosage of anti-inflammatory drugs that negatively affect digestion. Drinking enough water and replacing strong tea and coffee with herbal teas and decoctions. You can find perfect meal plans for women where all these details have been taken into account on torokhtiy.com.
Vegetarianism and weightlifting
It is hard to say whether you will become an Olympic weightlifter but working out on an amateur level is rather doable. All you need is to balance your nutrition to get a sufficient protein amount.
Pulses and green vegetables contain a fair protein quantity. Obviously, it is poorly absorbed in comparison to the protein from animal-based food products that contain a full scale of essential amino acids. That’s why blending plant proteins with animal-based food such as fish, eggs and dairy products is recommended.
Anyway, listen to yourself. Your body will give you a hint whether it likes the current nutrition plan or not.