< View Blog

How Heavy Weightlifting Affects Diet

Dec 07, 2018

Learning about how heavy weightlifting affects diet is extremely important.

We need to eat the right foods, the right way, when we are heavy lifting.

Having the right diet while working our bodies hard during weightlifting will ensure that we receive the maximum benefits from our workouts.

One of the main problems with exercise and weight loss is that exercise doesn’t just affect the “calories out” side of the energy balance equation.

It can also affect your appetite and hunger, which may cause you to eat more than your “normal” amount.

Related: Should You Lift Weights to Lose Weight?

You may be interested in our...


Our weightlifting knee sleeves never break, tear, or wear out like inferior knee sleeves wraps made from neoprene and bad stitching. oOr knees sleeves are made of breathable cotton spandex with enhanced stitching so they never fall apart.

View Product


How Heavy Weightlifting Affects Diet: Exercise May Increase Hunger Levels

Some people who exercise overestimate the number of calories they’ve burned and “reward” themselves with food.

This prevents weight loss and can lead to gaining more weight.

Although this isn’t true of everyone, studies show that some people do eat more after working out, which can prevent them from losing weight.

Related: Does Exercise Help You Lose Weight? The Surprising Truth


Will you lose weight by weightlifting?

How Heavy Weightlifting Affects Diet - Dark Iron Fitness knee sleevesThe answer isn’t a simple yes or no.

Muscles require energy for activity.

When there’s no food to burn, the body turns to the fat cells for energy.

Fat cell reduction happens when the body takes the fat stored inside the cells and converts it to glucose to give the body energy.

This happens twenty-four hours a day.

When you are sleeping, and there is less activity, the energy requirements are lower, but still necessary.

The key factor to weight loss is determining where does the fuel for energy come from?

Does it come from the food you eat or your fat cells?

The body must convert fat stored in the fat cells to energy for weight loss to happen.

How does weightlifting affect this process?

When you’re lifting weights, your body requires extra energy to complete the activity.

While this is a benefit, it’s just a small part the total effect of weight training has on weight loss.

Increasing muscle mass increases the body’s need for energy.

If you don’t increase the number of calories you consume, your body will turn to the fat cells for energy.

Use the right tools to help increase your muscle mass.

Dark Iron Fitness’ knee sleeves have almost a perfect five-star score.

They provide tight supporting hold so your knees and legs are completely protected, but still offer flexible comfort so you can lift over 600 pounds.

Related: How to Get Insanely Strong


How Heavy Weightlifting Affects Diet: Muscles Need More Energy Than Fat

Using the stored fat for energy will decrease the amount stored in your body.

Think of muscle as active tissue, and fat as mainly storage tissue.

For simple maintenance, muscles need much more energy than fat, which is why weight training can play a huge role in your weight loss efforts.

Increasing muscle mass means more energy, even for maintenance.

With the increased activity of weightlifting, your body is naturally burning more calories than if there was no heavy weightlifting involved.

Weight training can and will help weight loss.

The most effective formula for weight loss is a program that includes aerobic exercise, healthy diet, and weight training.

Combining these three areas into a weight loss plan gives you the optimum benefits of each.


How Heavy Weightlifting Affects Diet: Weightlifting and Dehydration

How Heavy Weightlifting Affects Diet - Drinking water with dumbbellPhysical activities make you perspire and with weightlifting, the amount you sweat can be extreme.

Sweating causes you to lose essential fluids from your body.

As you sweat during heavy lifting, you can easily become dehydrated.

When your body is dehydrated you become hungry.

When you are hungry from dehydration you crave sugar and salt.

The best way to avoid this type of unhealthy hunger is to stay fully hydrated when lifting weights.

Related: Does Weightlifting Makes You Hungry?


How Heavy Weightlifting Affects Diet: Your Metabolism

Weightlifting increases your metabolism.

As you burn more calories you experience the need for more calories.

You end up being hungry after your workout is done.

Muscles need protein to heal and repair.

Protein can stop hunger and be good for your muscles.

Carbohydrates provides the fuel and energy your body needs.


How Heavy Weightlifting Affects Diet: Controlling Hunger

Controlling the duration of your workout sessions will affect how hungry you feel.

If you work out too long you body will feel like it is starving.

Don’t lift weights on an empty stomach.

Your body needs the energy and it will be difficult to push through a session without some small snack.

That’s why it’s a good idea to have some fresh fruit before heading to the gym.

You will feel less hungry if you eat nutrition-packed meals.

Many people who lift heavy find that four or six small meals work better than three.

The simplest, easiest way to speed up the body’s metabolism is by eating small, well-balanced and nutritious meals or snacks every three to four hours.

Related: Various Weightlifting Grip Types and What They Do


How Heavy Weightlifting Affects Diet: How to Eat When Weightlifting

How Heavy Weightlifting Affects Diet - Joe ManganielloThe more often you feed your body small amounts of food, the better and faster it becomes at processing and utilizing this food.

So what is the best method for eating when performing heavy weightlifting?

Eating every three to four hours, which comes out to about five or six small meals or snacks a day, rather than the traditional, three meals.

This one small step of fueling every three to four hours will change your body for the better.

Consume moderate amounts, just enough so that you are not hungry again until another three to four hours later.

Eat a small, healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner and then have a small snack between breakfast and lunch.

Then another snack between lunch and dinner, and one after dinner and before bedtime.

This is the best way to ingest six small meals.

Related: How To Eat During Your Weight Lifting Program


It’s Beneficial for Your Metabolism

Besides the fact that it’s beneficial for your metabolism, what’s great about eating every three to four hours, is that it actually makes it feel like you’re eating “more” than normal.

Mentally you won’t feel deprived in any way since this method will give your body more satisfaction.

Eating three full meals a day is a life-long habit for almost all of us.

Changing to six smaller, well balanced and nutritious snacks/meals each day can eventually become a habit as well.

Sometime during the first couple of weeks, your internal digestion clock will start working with you.

Eventually, you will start to feel hungry every 3 hours or so.

Try it for 30 days and if your body doesn’t feel like it is handling food better in that amount of time, go back to your old ways.

If you start getting hungry every three hours or so then your last meal was just right, not too large and not too small.

Your internal clock will soon be working with you.

You will find that your metabolism begins to speed up and process the food you consume at a faster pace.


How Much Should You Eat at Each Meal?

How Heavy Weightlifting Affects Diet - Healthy meal prepYou want to eat just enough food at one sitting where you feel satisfied, but not too full.

Remember, you’ll be eating again in three to four hours, so you want to eat just enough to be hungry again in that time period.

Another way to measure the approximate amount to eat each meal or snack is to divide your daily caloric intake by 6, for the number of meals/snacks you’ll be eating.

If you are supposed to consume 1800 calories per day for your maintenance amount, then divide that by 6 (for the number of meals) and you would come up with 300 calories (1800/6) per meal or snack.

Related: What to Eat Before and After Lifting Weights


How Heavy Weightlifting Affects Diet: Before Weight Lifting 

At least an hour before a heavy weightlifting session you want to eat carbohydrates and lean proteins.

Eating carbohydrates before a workout will give your body the energy you need to power through your workout.

But just any carb won’t do.

You want a complex carbohydrate that is low on the Glycemic Index.

Complex carbs make you feel fuller for a longer time and help control the appetite.

It takes your body longer to digest this type of carb, so you will have longer lasting energy.

Protein before a workout is important because it fuels your muscles and jump starts protein synthesis.

BodyBuilding.com says, “Adding protein prior to your training session primes the pump: It starts protein synthesis during rather than after your training session.”


How Heavy Weightlifting Affects Diet: After Weight Lifting 

It is just as important to eat after your weightlifting workout as it is before.

After your workout is complete you have used up your glycogen stores and your muscle tissue have developed microscopic tears.

This is why it is extremely important to consume carbohydrates to replenish your glycogen stores and protein to help heal and build muscle.


Four Things to Eat Before and After Weightlifting

1) Before your session eat complex carbohydrates that are lower on the Glycemic Index

2) Before your workout eat protein

3) Post workout restore your glycogen by consuming carbohydrates

4) Eat protein after your workout to repair and build muscle.

Related: The Effects of Strength Training Exercise And Dieting


Will Weightlifting Help You Lose Weight?

How Heavy Weightlifting Affects Diet - Dark Iron Fitness wrist strapsIf fat loss and muscle definition is what you want then doing strength training exercises regularly is a great strategy.

Keep in mind that lifting weights regularly doesn’t guarantee you’ll burn body fat or lose weight.

Resistance training must be combined with the right diet to help you manage your weight and reach your goals.

For the best protection use Dark Iron Fitness Weightlifting Leather Suede Lifting Wrist Straps.

These super, heavy-duty, lifting straps are made from high quality and durable suede leather, with reinforced stitching up and down the entire length of the wrist strap so they’ll never rip, tear, or fall apart. 


Fat Loss

Combining weightlifting with a reduced-calorie diet plan can help you lose unwanted body fat, especially in your midsection.

While weight training without dieting doesn’t affect your body composition, lessening the number of calories you ingest along with weightlifting helps reduce trunk fat.

It also prevents lean muscle mass loss that can happen while dieting.

If weight loss is your goal, reducing your food intake by 500 to 1,000 calories per day can help you lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week.


Greater Strength

You might think lowering your caloric intake means less body mass and strength, but adding weightlifting exercises to your plan can actually boost your strength even while you’re losing weight.

Related: Strength Training for Weight Loss


How Heavy Weightlifting Affects Diet: Don’t Worry About the Scale

Remember that building muscle will have you looking and feeling fitter and more toned, but those changes may not be so obvious when you step on the scale.

Don’t go crazy if the numbers increase rather than decrease.

Muscle is denser than fat, and one pound of fat takes up about four times as much space as muscle.

As you change your body’s composition, you’re losing fat and gaining muscle, resistance training works better for that than endurance training.