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I just started an exercise regime again, and I think I need help with my diet. I currently will work out, then go a day of rest, and then on the day I intend to exercise again, my muscles are in intense pain finally and take days to heal. I am assuming this is a problem with my diet (which is currently dismal).

My goals are to maintain my weight (if possible)

Increase my overall fitness level

increase my pushup/pullup/situp reps and running/sprinting distance.

I tried adding protein powder to my diet directly after i exercise, but that didn't seem to help.

So I need help with what I should be eating and when, or some good resources where i can find out how to do it myself. I am currently at a loss and the internet seems to be full of fad diet plans and i have no idea what is "good".

Me:

  • 24/Male
  • 5'10"
  • 175 - 185 (Don't own a scale but I've fluctuated between this with similar physical activity and diet for about 5 years)

Current Diet:

Morning: Nothing with coffee
Lunch:   Fast food
Dinner:  Varies between can of beans or pizza or 40g of soy protein if I have been working out
Also snack on almonds occasionally during the day.

Workout routine:

  • Run 2 miles
  • Push Ups - on the 21 push up route
  • Sit ups - do as many as i can hanging from a pull up bar before my grip goes out
  • Pull ups - Working on a routine i found on youtube which involves me starting with holding my body weight on the pullup bar and doing negatives

Its a pretty light routine, the pushups just got me, when i finished, i couldn't do a single knee pushup.

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3  
It could also be a problem with your workout. If you're in intense pain a couple days after exercise, you're exercising too hard. Scale it back, and then slowly ramp it back up. –  Robin Ashe Jul 28 '12 at 21:13
    
Agreed with Robin. What is your exercise regimen, Chris? And what is your current diet? More details make for better answers. –  Dave Liepmann Jul 28 '12 at 22:56
    
I will update the question. Never thought I could go overboard on excercise.. –  Chris Jul 28 '12 at 23:49
    
@Chris Excellent update, thanks. I forgot to note before that BMI is problematic, and there are better metrics. –  Dave Liepmann Jul 29 '12 at 0:21
    
@Dave thanks, I'll update again! I don't necessarily mean bmi. I sword fight, and I'm at a good weight for not getting thrown around too much, so I'd just like to try and stay roughly the same weight while increasing my overall fitness. –  Chris Jul 29 '12 at 0:35

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The good news is that your current diet has room for improvement.

Food Quality

Probably one of the best things you could do to match your diet to your exercise is simply work on improving the quality of items in it. Regardless of what foods you choose to eat, it's usually possible to eat better versions of them. For instance, speaking in the most general terms:

  • Processed foods (e.g. white bread) are more likely to have things in them that are problematic than unprocessed foods (e.g. fresh bread)
  • Grass-fed, free-range meats are more likely to have a healthy balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids (and as a bonus, they're more ethical!)
  • Pre-prepared store-bought sandwiches or meals are more likely to have things in it that don't make sense for your diet choices than food you prepare yourself
  • Organic, local, or heirloom fruits and vegetables are more likely to be free of pesticides and be bred for flavor instead of hardiness

In addition, focusing on food quality can involve increasing your awareness of what you're eating, which can lead to thinking about why you're eating it, which can lead to better meal planning, and so on in a virtuous cycle.

What I would eat if I were you

Vegetables, grass-fed meat, free-range chicken, wild-caught fish, greens, good fats like butter, coconut oil, and olive oil. If you tolerate dairy well, full-fat milk and yogurt can be great too.

If you eat real food, with good meat, real fat, and plenty of vegetables, it will be hard to do wrong.

A good start on this approach would be the paleo diet framework. It's an attempt to use an evolutionary framework to critically look at our diet choices. It often gets billed as "eat like a caveman", which is useful as an elevator pitch but not terribly accurate. A similar method, rooted in historical diets, is that of Weston A. Price. Either of these would be a fine starting point to look into food decisions.

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Why whole milk instead of skim milk? Most of those things I have been taught to eat as a kid, I just haven't been out of laziness, which needs to change. The only difference is that I always grew up drinking skim milk. (Not that it makes a difference at this point, I have grown in to a dairy intolerance) –  Chris Jul 29 '12 at 1:55
1  
@Chris Whole milk is milk. Skim milk is white water. Fat is good for you! But if you're intolerant of dairy, probably only unpasteurized raw milk, which some dairy-averse people have success with, has even a chance of being relevant to your situation. –  Dave Liepmann Jul 29 '12 at 2:02
1  
Actually, pasteurized goat milk and particularly sheep milk can also work, although I support raw milk if possible as well. –  Robin Ashe Jul 29 '12 at 14:17
    
@RobinAshe You're right; I phrased that poorly. –  Dave Liepmann Jul 29 '12 at 15:47

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