It is wise to customize meal plans when you undertake a weight-training program. Your physical stature, the number of days you weight train each week and your age will all determine your weight-lifting meal plan. Although high-protein plans have been the accepted standard for most body builders, some are rethinking the role of low- and high-carbohydrate foods for strength and muscle mass.

Burn Fat, Feed Muscle Plan

For each pound of body weight, consume 1.25 to 1.5 g protein, especially when taking in fewer carbohydrates. For those who are not consuming a low-carbohydrate diet, 1 g protein is usually sufficient for each pound of body weight. The general recommendation is that 30 to 40 percent of your total calories should come from protein. For those with low-carbohydrate plans, a greater concentration of protein is recommended.

Princeton Metabolic Alternating Diet Plan

The "Princeton Metabolic Alternating Diet Plan," written by Edwin Heleniak, M.D., and Shreedhar Shetty, M.D., is a rotating food plan where different percentages of protein and carbohydrates are ingested, depending upon whether you engage in aerobic exercises, such as:

  • resistance training
  • weight lifting
  • isometrics 1

During aerobic exercise days, high-carbohydrate and high-calorie foods give the body fuel. During anaerobic exercises, eat low-calorie and low-carbohydrate foods. When you follow this alternating pattern, the body will use the glycogen stored from the aerobic from the day before, and it will continue to burn fat during weight-lifting routines.

Body Builders' Plan

Most body builders rely on high-quality protein supplements to achieve maximum results. As such, they have abandoned focus on carbohydrates as fuel. Yet Dan Gwartney, M.D., suggests that muscles do not grow when carbohydrates are restricted from the diet. Indications that a bodybuilder is not getting sufficient carbohydrates occur when body temperature is 96 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. If that condition exists, restoring increased carbohydrates has an immediate and positive influence on body temperature. The body temperature returns to normal. Weight-lifting meal plans that lack sufficient carbohydrates for body builders are too stressful for the muscles and the body.

Plan for Men and Women over 70

Weight training brings benefits to those who are over 70. Frail men and women, whose ages ranged from 76 to 92 years, were given specific dietary guidelines before undergoing resistance training. The recommended plan consisted of three daily meals with small snacks in between. Calories were distributed as 18 percent from non-meat protein, 49 percent of calories from carbohydrates and 33 percent of calories from fat. The results indicated that weight-lifting exercise, coupled with an appropriate dietary plan, increased the rate of muscle protein synthesis for both men and women.