Bodybuilding is centered around building your body’s muscles through weightlifting and nutrition.

You are watching: Food to eat to build muscle

Whether entertain or competitive, bodybuilding is often referred to together a lifestyle, as it entails both the moment you invest in and outside the gym.

In order come maximize your outcomes from the gym, friend must emphasis on her diet, together eating the wrong foodstuffs can it is in detrimental to your bodybuilding goals.

This post explains what come eat and avoid on a bodybuilding diet and also provides a one-week sample menu.

Share ~ above Pinterest
Bodybuilding differs from powerlifting or Olympic lifting in that it’s judged top top a competitor’s physical appearance fairly than physical strength.

As such, bodybuilders aspire to develop and also maintain a well-balanced, lean and also muscular physique.

To carry out this, countless bodybuilders start with one off-season followed by an in-season means of eating — described as a bulking and cutting phase, respectively.

During the bulking phase, which have the right to last month to years, bodybuilders eat a high-calorie, protein-rich diet and also lift weights intensely through the score of structure as lot muscle as possible (1).

The adhering to cutting phase concentrates on losing as lot fat as possible while preserving muscle mass developed during the bulking phase. This is accomplished through specific changes in diet and also exercise end a duration of 12–26 main (1).


Bodybuilding training and dieting is generally divided into two phases: bulking and also cutting. The score of the bulking step is to build muscle, conversely, the cutting step is committed to preserving muscle while shedding body fat.

services of Bodybuilding

There space several health and wellness benefits linked with bodybuilding.

In order come maintain and also build muscles, bodybuilders practice frequently, performing both resistance and also aerobic training.

Resistance training rises muscle strength and also size. Muscle strength is highly associated with a lower risk of dying from cancer, heart and also kidney disease, and also several other vital illnesses (2).

Aerobic exercise, i beg your pardon bodybuilders consistently implement to mitigate body fat, enhances heart health and also significantly lowers your threat of emerging or dying from heart an illness — the number one killer in America (3, 4).

In addition to exercise, bodybuilders also focus on your nutrition.

With careful planning, bodybuilders have the right to eat in a method that not only supports their initiatives in the gym however keeps them healthy too.

Following a healthy and balanced eating pattern, consisting of nutrient-dense foods items from all food teams in appropriate amounts, can substantially lower your risk of chronic illness (5).


Bodybuilders practice regularly and may eat well-planned and nutrient-dense diets, both of which offer plenty of health benefits.

The goal because that competitive bodybuilders is to boost muscle massive in the bulking phase and also reduce human body fat in the cutting phase. Hence, friend consume much more calories in the bulking phase than in the cut phase.

How numerous Calories perform You Need?

The easiest method to determine how many calories you require is to weigh yourself at least three time a week and record what girlfriend eat utilizing a calorie tracking app.

If her weight stays the same, the daily number of calories you eat is your maintenance calories — in various other words, you not losing or gaining weight, but maintaining it.

During your bulking phase, it’s recommended to rise your calorie entry by 15%. Because that example, if your maintenance calories room 3,000 every day, you need to eat 3,450 calories every day (3,000 x 0.15 = 450) during your bulking phase (6).

When transitioning from a bulking to a cutting phase, friend would instead decrease your maintenance calories through 15%, meaning you would eat 2,550 calories every day rather of 3,450.

As you gain weight in the bulking step or lose weight in the cutting phase, you will require to adjust your calorie entry at the very least monthly come account for changes in your weight.

Increase her calories as you gain weight in the bulking phase and also decrease your calories as you lose weight in the cutting phase for continued progression.

During either phase, that recommended not to shed or gain more than 0.5–1% of her body weight per week. This ensures the you don’t lose too much muscle during the cutting step or gain too lot body fat during the bulking phase (7).

Macronutrient Ratio

Once you develop the number of calories you need, you have the right to determine your macronutrient ratio, i m sorry is the ratio in between your protein, carbohydrate and also fat intake.

Unlike the difference in your calorie needs in between the bulking and cutting phase, her macronutrient ratio does no change.

Protein and also carbs contain 4 calories per gram, and also fat consists of nine.

It’s recommended the you gain (6, 7):

30–35% of her calories indigenous protein55–60% of your calories from carbs15–20% of her calories from fat

Here’s an instance of the proportion for both a bulking and cutting phase:

Bulking phaseCutting phase
Protein (grams)259–302191–223
Carbs (grams)474–518351–383
Fat (grams)58–7743–57

These are general guidelines, therefore its ideal to consult through a registered dietitian to recognize your separation, personal, instance needs based upon your objectives to make sure your diet is nutritionally adequate.


recommended calorie intake, however not her macronutrient ratio, differ between the bulking and cutting phase. To account for load changes, change your calorie intake each month.

Like training, diet is a an important part the bodybuilding.

Eating the right foods items in the appropriate amounts provides your muscles with the nutrients they should recover from workouts and grow bigger and also stronger.

Conversely, spend the wrong foodstuffs or not consuming sufficient of the appropriate ones will leave you with subpar results.

Here are foods items you should emphasis on and foods to border or avoid:

Foods to emphasis On

The foods items you eat don’t must differ between the bulking and also cutting step — usually, that the amounts that do.

Foods come eat incorporate (7):

Meats, poultry and fish: Sirloin steak, floor beef, pork tenderloin, venison, chicken breast, salmon, tilapia and also cod.Dairy: Yogurt, head cheese, low-fat milk and also cheese.Fruits: Oranges, apples, bananas, grapes, pears, peaches, watermelon and also berries.Vegetables: Broccoli, spinach, irpari salad greens, tomatoes, environment-friendly beans, cucumber, zucchini, asparagus, peppers and also mushrooms.Beans and legumes: Chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, black beans and also pinto beans.Oils: Olive oil, flaxseed oil and avocado oil.

Foods come Limit

While you should incorporate a selection of foodstuffs in her diet, there space some you need to limit.

These include:

In enhancement to limiting these, girlfriend may additionally want to avoid certain foods before going to the gym that deserve to slow digestion and cause stomach upset during your workout.

These include:

High-fat foods: High-fat meats, buttery foods and heavy sauce or creams.High-fiber foods: Beans and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower.Carbonated beverages: Sparkling water or diet soda.

Bodybuilding Supplements

Many bodybuilders take dietary supplements, few of which are helpful while others room not (10, 11).

The ideal bodybuilding additionally include:

Whey protein: spend whey protein flour is simple and convenient way to boost your protein intake.

A multi-vitamin and mineral supplement might be advantageous if you limiting her calorie intake in an initiative to reduce body fat throughout your cutting phase.


include a variety of nutrient-rich foods throughout and within every the food teams in your diet. Avoid or border alcohol, foods with included sugars and also deep-fried foods. In addition to your diet, whey protein, creatine and also caffeine deserve to be valuable supplements.

The diet of bodybuilders are generally described together restrictive, repetitive and also boring.

Traditional bodybuilding diets frequently contain limited food selections and small variety among and in ~ food groups, which have the right to lead to an poor intake of necessary minerals and also vitamins (14).

For this reason, it’s necessary to incorporate variety into your diet come ensure her nutritional requirements are being met — especially during a cut phase as soon as you eat limited calories.

Each meal and also snack need to contain 20–30 grams of protein to optimally support muscle building (15).

When you’re in a bulking phase, her food intake will be much higher than once you’re in a cutting phase.

You can enjoy the same foods in the cut phase that you would once bulking — simply in smaller portions.

Here is a sample one-week bodybuilding menu:


Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with mushrooms and oatmeal.Snack: Low-fat head cheese through blueberries.Snack: Protein shake and a banana.Dinner: Salmon, quinoa and asparagus.


Breakfast: Protein pancakes with light-syrup, peanut butter and also raspberries.Lunch: Sirloin steak, sweet potato and spinach salad v vinaigrette.Snack: Protein shake and walnuts.Dinner: Ground turkey and marinara sauce over pasta.


Breakfast: Chicken sausage through egg and roasted potatoes.Snack: Greek yogurt and also almonds.Lunch: Turkey breast, basmati rice and also mushrooms.Snack: Protein shake and also grapes.Dinner: Mackerel, brown rice and also salad leaves v vinaigrette.


Breakfast: soil turkey, egg, cheese and salsa in a whole-grain tortilla. Snack: Yogurt through granola.Lunch: Chicken breast, small potato, sour cream and broccoli.Dinner: Stir-fry with chicken, egg, brown rice, broccoli, peas and carrots.


Breakfast: Blueberries, strawberries and also vanilla Greek yogurt top top overnight oats. Snack: Jerky and mixed nuts.Lunch: Tilapia fillets v lime juice, black and pinto beans and also seasonal veggies.Snack: Protein shake and also watermelon. Dinner: Ground beef through corn, brown rice, environment-friendly peas and also green beans.


Breakfast: floor turkey and also egg v corn, bell peppers, cheese and also salsa.Snack: Can that tuna through crackers.Lunch: Tilapia fillet, potato wedges and bell peppers.Snack: Protein shake and also pear. Dinner: Diced beef with rice, black beans, bell peppers, cheese and pico de gallo.


Snack: Protein balls and also almond butter.Lunch: Pork tenderloin slices with roasted garlic potatoes and green beans.Snack: Protein shake and also strawberries.Dinner: Turkey meatballs, marinara sauce and also parmesan cheese end pasta.Summary

vary the types of foods in your diet and also consume 20–30 grams that protein v each meal and snack.

For the most part, bodybuilding is a lifestyle linked with several wellness benefits, but there are some things to know before doing bodybuilding.

Low level of human body Fat deserve to Negatively influence Sleep and Mood

To prepare for a bodybuilding competition, competitors attain extremely low levels of human body fat, through men and also women typically reaching human body fat level of 5–10% and also 10–15%, dong (14, 16).

This low level of human body fat, merged with the short calorie intake, has been presented to decrease sleep quality, negatively impact mood and also weaken the immune system in the mainly leading as much as a competition and also even several weeks after ~ (1, 17, 18, 19).

Consequently, this have the right to decrease your capability to role each day, negatively affect those roughly you and also leave you more susceptible come illness.

Risks that Anabolic Steroid Use

Many, yet not all, muscle-building supplements are advertised by bodybuilders who usage performance-enhancing drugs, such together anabolic steroids.

This misleads plenty of bodybuilders into believing that they can accomplish the exact same muscular look by acquisition the advertised supplement.

In turn, numerous bodybuilders, particularly those at the start of your journey, develop unrealistic expectation of what can be achieved naturally, i m sorry may bring about body dissatisfaction and eventually the urge to try anabolic steroids (20, 21).

However, anabolic steroids are really unhealthy and linked to numerous risks and also side effects.

In addition to being illegal to own in the united state without a prescription, using anabolic steroids deserve to increase your threat of love disease, diminish fertility and result in psychiatric and behavioral disorders favor depression (22, 23, 24, 25)


once preparing because that a competition, make certain you’re conscious of the possible side effects. Also, know that the physiques you view in complement ads may not it is in realistically accomplished without the use of anabolic steroids, i m sorry are an extremely unhealthy.

Bodybuilding is judged top top muscularity and also leanness fairly than athletic performance.

Achieving the preferred bodybuilder watch requires continuous exercise and also special fist to her diet.

Bodybuilding dieting is frequently divided right into bulking and cutting phases, during which your calorie input will readjust while her macronutrient proportion remains the same.

Your diet should incorporate nutrient-dense foods, 20–30 grams of protein with each meal and also snack, and you should restrict alcohol and also deep-fried or high-sugar foods.

See more: Frank Morris And John And Clarence Anglin, Two Sfgate Writers Disagree Completely

This guarantee you gain all the important nutrients her body needs for building muscle and also overall health.