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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown
Nutritionist

Janet Aylott
Nutritionist

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant

Q.

Best foods for weight lifting?

I do a lot of weight lifting. My gym instructor advised me that I need to eat lots of protein and less carbs. I work full time during the week , and don't get much time to sit down and eat. Therefore in the evenings I tend to overeat (carbs!) Can you tell me what percentage of food groups I should be aiming for (e.g - 30% fats, 30% carbs, 40 protein?) and also can you suggest some quick filling lunches (I only get 15 minutes & no microwave) Thank you.

A.

Our expert says...

Hi,

Thanks for getting in touch.

If you're doing a lot of weight training and your overall aim is to build lean muscle mass, then yes it's important that you're getting enough protein. Protein is essential for building lean muscle tissue and aiding exercise recovery. But there is a bit of a misconception that we have to eat an enormous amount. The every day requirement for protein is 0.75g/kg body weight - this is enough to meet the daily needs of the average person. This requirement increases depending on the level of activity you do - for example endurance athletes need around 1.2-1.4g/kg and strength athletes around 1.4-1.8g/kg per day.

As you're doing lots of weight training, you will need to consume more than 0.75g/kg of protein per day. You'll unlikely need as much as a strength athlete, but for you personally this would be around 95-120g protein per day - which is still a safe limit. So there shouldn't be any harm in having this level of protein to ensure you are getting enough to help you reach your weight lifting goals.

I'd recommend setting our 'Higher Protein' nutrition guide - this will give you a percentage split of 41% carbohydrate, 24% protein and 35% fat. This would give you 114.6g protein per day which is ample amount for your training needs. To set this guide in your account, log in to the website and go to your Diary page. Click on the 'Settings' link above your diary followed by 'Choose a nutrition guide to follow'. Select 'Higher Protein' and press 'Apply Changes'.

Food tips:

  • Change the balance of carbs and protein in your meals just a little. So for example, if you'd normally have two eggs scrambled and two slices of toast, have one slice of toast with two eggs and one egg white scrambled. Have an extra dose of milk on your cereal, or a yogurt with your peanut butter on toast. Increase your chicken portion on your lunch time salad, and reduce the potatoes/rice/pasta by half.
  • Add extra high protein foods to your meals and snacks. Great choices are pulses such as beans, chickpeas, peas, lentils and nuts and seeds. You can sprinkle these on salads or pasta, and add pulses to stews and casseroles.
  • Preparation is key if you're busy all day, so try and make time to prep a healthy lunch and always make time for a good breakfast to set you up for the day. Also have ready to eat snacks such as cereal bars, pre-portioned nuts, fruit, yogurts and vegetable sticks on hand to keep you going.

Meals ideas for lunch:

  • Rice and bean salad - cook up some brown rice and mixed with a mixed bean salad, chopped pepper and red spring onion and top with low fat feta cheese.
  • Ham and low fat cheese salad sandwich - pack a wholemeal wrap or two slices of wholemeal bread with a few slices of lean ham, reduced fat cheese and plenty of salad.
  • Tuna pasta salad - Cook up some wholemeal pasta and mix with cherry tomatoes, tomato based pasta sauce and tuna
  • Egg salad - large mixed salad, with boiled eggs and a few new potatoes.

The main focus for your lunches is to choose wholemeal carbohydrates, as these are rich in fibre so will help to fill you up. Also plenty of protein rich foods such as cheese, eggs, meat, poultry, pulses and nuts as protein will also help to fill you up and keep you fuller for longer. All of these dishes can be prepared the night before and eaten on the go.

I hope this helps to give you some ideas of things to try. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you need anything further.

Best wishes

Emma

Nutracheck Nutritionist

Disclaimer
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