You'd probably like to think that lifting big weight is simply a matter of big muscles—that if you have hulking lats, you can row a barbell loaded with clanking plates until next Thursday. However, if you're not fueling your body properly, you'll find out in a hurry just how shortsighted that philosophy is. You've probably heard the analogy before: your musculature is like a car—if you fuel it with junk, it'll perform like junk. That is absolutely true when it comes to training for strength.
If you're looking to move the most weight possible, then you're going to have to make sure that your muscles are performing like they're running on jet fuel, not 87 octane from your discount, corner gas station. Here are five ways to make sure your body is firing on all cylinders each time you step up to the rack, bench or platform for a big lift.
#1 Start With Protein
Protein is essential for driving muscle growth and you need to get at least 1 gram per pound of body weight per day if not 1.5 grams per pound. That's because when lifting extremely heavy, protein is even more critical—for several reasons. The most important reason is to protect your muscle. The heavier you lift, the more mechanical damage your muscle fibers undergo. The more damage your muscle fibers endure, the more recovery they will need. More damage and recovery actually translates to more growth. These three processes require protein. When lifting heavy you can make sure you get ample protein to aid recovery and further enhance muscle growth by getting in about 1.5 grams per pound of body weight per day. That's 300 grams per day for the 200 pounder. Good sources of quality protein include eggs, beef, poultry, fish, and dairy, not to mention whey, casein, and soy protein powders.