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Workout Meal Plans

By Ollie Odebunmi

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends you make smart choices from every food group and to find a balance between food and physical activity, including exercise, thereby getting the most nutrition from the calories you eat. These principles should form the basis of your workout meal plan

Carbohydrates

You need energy to power your workouts. This should be provided by unrefined grain complex carbohydrates — which are assimilated slowly and provide sustained energy — such as oatmeal, whole grain rice, quinoa, whole grain bread, whole grain pasta and root vegetables like yams and sweet potatoes.

Protein

Protein helps you maintain and build lean muscle tissue, which ensures your metabolism works efficiently to keep your body lean. Eat lean cuts of meat, fish, poultry, cheese, beans, legumes and lentils. Eat whole eggs and not egg whites only. According to Tom Venuto, author and member of the American College of Sports Medicine, the yolk is nutrient dense with a variety of vitamins and minerals and contains as much protein as the whites. He recommends you eat one whole egg to every three egg whites.

Fats

Animal protein sources in your diet contain saturated fats, which, according to Mary Enig PH.D., are essential for energy and hormone production, including the muscle building hormone testosterone. Use coconut oil in your cooking. MCTs or medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil are used by the body as energy during workouts and according to a study by Kagawa Nutrition University, Japan published in the November 2001 issue of the "Journal of Nutrition," MCTs can help you lose body fat.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals that help your body function optimally and antioxidants, which scavenge free radicals released during workouts. Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a well-balanced healthy eating plan. A healthy eating plan will support and help you achieve your workout goals.

Meal Frequency and Composition

Eat between four to six small meals a day. Always start with breakfast. A breakfast of oatmeal, fruit and eggs will kick-start your metabolism for the day, provide muscle building protein and energy for your activities. Include complex carbs, vegetables and protein with each meal. However, if you are trying to control or lose weight, restrict complex carbs to one or two meals day in favor of fruits and vegetables, as recommended by the CDC. If you find you lack energy for your workouts, increase your servings of complex carbs.

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