What kinds of foods are ideal for bodybuilding? The specific guidelines for a bodybuilding diet include 55 to 60% of carbohydrates, 25 to 30% from protein, and 15 to 20% fat. You use about 600 muscles made up of tiny fibers. When you lift weights or do resistance training, the muscle fibers tear. Over time, your body mends the threads back together, and your muscle mass increases.
If your body’s getting the care and nutrients it needs, you can experience muscle growth in a matter of weeks! However, a deficient diet can stunt muscle growth, making you wait months for less than impressive results. This is because food builds and repairs muscle, hormones, cells, bones, and everything else in your body.
Food becomes the central point of bodybuilding. We’ll focus on the best foods to help your muscles grow big right now. What do bodybuilders eat? Read on to find out!
Photo by Branimir Petakov on Unsplash
1. Protein is the best bodybuilding food you can eat. It can build muscle, bones, cartilage, skin, boost metabolism, reduce appetite, and repair cells.
First, on our list of bodybuilding tips, let’s talk about the power of protein. Proteins rebuild damaged cells after your workout, making them the key players. Besides repairing damage, protein can also help your muscles get energy when other fats and carbs aren’t available.
Eat these favorite protein-packed bodybuilding foods:
To get the best results, you’ll want to consume protein throughout the day rather than at one enormous meal. Greek yogurt is a terrific way to get a protein dose during breakfast. It can also provide a snack in between meals.
However, make sure you’re steering clear of Greek yogurts that have added sugars. The ones that come with fruit at the bottom can make you fat. Instead, stick with plain Greek yogurt. Plain Greek yogurts also work well in post-workout smoothies.
2. Post-Workout Protein shakes are a quick bodybuilding food you can drink.
Create a great start to your day by eating a variety of proteins. However, if you’re looking for muscle growth, you’ll need to take things one step further by timing your protein. For example, immediately giving your body protein following a workout can help speed up your muscle recovery time.
Shakes are one of the best ways to help your body quickly absorb protein. You can also use your post-workout smoothie to give your body other vital nutrients it needs. But, unfortunately, a workout can drain you of more than energy.
Try this favorite smoothie recipe ideal for bodybuilding:
- 1 cup almond milk
- One tablespoon flax seeds
- One tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- ¼ cup frozen strawberries
- ¼ banana
- Ice as needed
All the ingredients in our favorite smoothie contain protein, except the ice, of course. However, strawberries and bananas have the least amount of protein.
Do you enjoy following a-free diet plan instead of counting calories? If yes, you can add in more peanut butter for flavor.
However, be careful not to overdo it with the fruit. If you add mainly fruit to your smoothie or use fruit juices, it can end up being a sugar bomb. When you overeat fruit in one sitting, problems like diarrhea, bloating, and heartburn can become an issue.
3. Apples improve your circulation, making them an excellent bodybuilding food. Your circulation system carries oxygen and nutrients that cells need to build and repair muscles.
How do your muscles get access to the protein you’re eating? Both oxygen and nutrients like protein reach muscles through your bloodstream. If your blood circulation isn’t flowing at total capacity, your muscles won’t get all the nutrients they need.
Ever wonder what causes muscle cramps? Often weak blood flow is to blame!
Low blood circulation can be fatal in severe cases, causing strokes, heart attacks, and organ failure. Thankfully, there are many foods you can eat to improve your blood circulation naturally.
Use these bodybuilding foods to improve your muscle pump after workouts and safely boost blood circulation:
- Cayenne Pepper
Use Garlic to relax your blood vessels so your bloodstream can flow freely. In contrast, use cayenne pepper to make your blood vessels stronger.
4. Capsaicin, a compound found in peppers, relieve muscle pain. It affects the neurotransmitter that communicates pain signals to the brain.
Specific peppers can help relieve muscle pain by promoting blood flow. For instance, cayenne pepper infused into topical creams can help relieve pain. As you massage the lotion in, the cayenne pepper works to promote blood flow to the sore area. Make sure you use the topical cream conservatively.
5. Berries provide many nutrients that improve the health of organs, muscles, and cells. They also keep you full without the extra calories.
As you continue learning about diets, workouts, and bodybuilding, you’ll discover the human body’s full of systems. For instance, your circulatory system uses your hearts, arteries, and veins to move nutrients, oxygen, and hormones around your body. Your musculoskeletal system uses bones, ligaments, tendons, and tissues to help you move. Your body also uses lymphatic, respiratory, digestive, and nervous systems to promote and conduct life functions.
To help your body reach its full potential, learn what bodybuilding foods fuel which organs. For instance, you can boost your respiratory system by eating grapes and berries (nature’s candy). By strengthening your lungs, you’ll make it easier for your muscles to get the oxygen they need. Likewise, tomatoes and apples improve the performance and health of your lungs.
Are you looking for a way to strengthen your circulatory system? Focus on eating heart-healthy foods like mixed nuts and leafy greens.
Your brain, another powerful organ that accounts for 20% of your metabolism, controls your central nervous system. The proper diet can help your brain push your body to reach new heights while improving mental health. However, if you’re not eating the right brain-healthy foods, everything slows down and becomes foggy.
When you eat to support your organs, you set your muscles up for success. Likewise, healthy organ foods support your bodybuilding efforts.
6. Did you know you can use water to burn stomach fat and build bigger, stronger muscles?
Now it’s time to look at the best fat-fighting foods! For starters, you can load up on fiber with quinoa. Eating one cup of quinoa leaves you feeling energized and satisfied, making it easier to avoid overeating. Also, use grapefruit to feel full, so it’s easier to eat fewer calories.
Next, drinking green tea daily stimulates fat loss while arming your body with powerful antioxidants. Finally, you can use coffee in the morning to boost your energy and increase your focus. However, don’t overload your coffee with sugar and cream. Also, drink as much water as you can because you don’t have to pay for it with extra calories. It balances your electrolytes and keeps you hydrated. You will never find food that burns fat and builds muscle like water.
All fat-burning activities require you to eat fewer calories than you burn to move.
Are you having trouble reaching your goal weight? You exercise and eat healthy foods, but your muscles are still hiding under pounds of fat? If you’re putting in the time working out but not getting the results, you are doing the wrong workout.
Find a workout that speaks to you and motivates you to do more. Work hard to make your dream work. Keep your training simple so that you can keep it moving without thinking about it. Only what you measure grows, so measure everything. You only need two moves (push and pull) to get results. After making sure your workout routine is engaging, the next step is to evaluate your eating habits.
Are you grazing on healthy but high-fat foods throughout the day? Do you skip meals and then cram in all of your calories close to bedtime?
Correctly timing meals and eating a well-balanced diet can help you achieve your fitness goals. However, if you’re doing the proper workout and eating right but still can’t lose weight, check out these other weight-loss hurdles.
7. By adding oysters and certain other foods to your diet, you can naturally boost bodybuilding hormones.
Please pay attention to three hormones with bodybuilding foods. Testosterone, human growth hormones, and insulin-like growth factors cause muscle growth and strength.
Hormonal imbalances can also setback even the most dedicated athletes. Luckily, you can use many foods to change and regulate your hormones.
Use these favorite testosterone-boosting bodybuilding foods:
- Egg yolks
- Low-fat milk
- Vitamin D sources
You can get a dose of vitamin D just from standing outside in the sun. However, if you don’t spend enough time outdoors, you can also eat vitamin D fortified cereals.
As far as lifestyle habits go, learning to manage stress levels can keep your hormones in check. Also, getting enough sleep at night will boost testosterone and human growth hormones. Finally, cut out refined carbs and avoid unnatural sugars.
Sugar isn’t just fattening. It throws a wrench into all of your fitness goals, including throwing hormones off balance. How?
Refined sugar stresses out your adrenal glands, which regulate stress hormones like cortisol. Chronic stress levels make it hard for your body to burn fat, grow muscle, and be healthy.
8. Clean carbs are great bodybuilding foods. They come from nature and provide you with the best energy source.
Avoid refined carbs like white bread, rice, and pasta. However, you’ll need to add healthy carbs to your meals next time. So, what types of clean carbs should you eat?
Start by eating whole-grain foods like brown rice or red quinoa. You can also get a ton of great carbs from raw bodybuilding foods like eggplant, zucchini, and asparagus. Eat cauliflower regularly, another excellent source of clean carbs. Instead of rice, try cauliflower rice. Many people say it tastes better than rice without calories.
However, instead of just sticking to traditional white cauliflower, we suggest you branch out. Cauliflower comes in orange, green, and purple shades. The different colors provide a range of tastes, from sweet to almost nutty. One cup of cauliflower contains about 5 grams of carbs while delivering 100% of your daily recommended vitamin C.
9. Vitamin C is another bodybuilding food. It repairs tissue and improves the immune system. Did you know that a green pepper provides you with more vitamin C than an orange?
Why do you need vitamin C? Vitamin C helps your muscles grow in various ways. For starters, maintaining healthy levels of vitamin C makes it easier for your body to absorb muscle-building nutrients like iron. In addition, vitamin C, an antioxidant, helps protect your cells from the damage free radicals cause.
Try these favorite vitamin C rich bodybuilding foods:
- Green pepper
Your body cannot store vitamin C as a water-soluble vitamin. Therefore, you must take vitamin C daily to get the vitamin levels you need to stay healthy and promote muscle growth. Adult men need around 90 mg of vitamin C daily, whereas adult women only need 75 mg.
10. Biotin is an excellent bodybuilding food. It metabolizes carbohydrates and amino acids and aids in breaking down fat.
Biotin, a water-soluble vitamin, must be consumed every day. Part of the vitamin B family, biotin helps your body convert carbs, proteins, and fats into energy. Egg yolks, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms provide you with incredible sources of biotin.
Legumes, a bodybuilding food, also provide you with a rich source of biotin. Use lentils, black beans, and split peas to liven up any meal. Finally, the superfood avocado provides an excellent biotin source, and quality unsaturated fats boost hormones and muscle growth!
While you can’t stop the aging process, you can certainly slow it down with the right foods.
After you hit 30 years of age, you lose 3-8% of your muscle mass each decade. If you want to counteract muscle loss while also building new muscle, you’ll need a multifaceted approach. Besides eating enough protein and clean carbs, you’ll also need to eat foods rich in selenium, a bodybuilding food.
Selenium deficiencies contribute to age-related muscle decline. Spinach, oatmeal, brown rice, sunflower seeds, and cottage cheese provide a rich selenium source. Meats that contain selenium include ham, fish, turkey, pork, beef, and chicken. Last, you can also look into resetting your metabolism with a ketogenic diet plan.
The right foods build muscle and burn stomach fat. Try a variety of natural foods to improve your workouts and repair muscles.
Now it’s time to plan your bodybuilding diet for the week. We suggest you use your meal plan as an opportunity to challenge yourself to try new, healthy foods. For instance, you could improve your blood circulation and experience a unique taste by eating a pomegranate!
Finally, remember timing matters too, so don’t cram everything into one enormous meal. Instead, as we mentioned earlier, plan on eating protein throughout the day, especially after working out.
Need to upgrade your workout routine? Check out these workouts. It is all about burning fat and building muscle.