Bodybuilding Meal Plan – Can You Eat Anything?

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Bodybuilding diets and what to eat

Bodybuilding is focused around constructing your body’s muscles through weight-lifting and nutrition.

Whether competitive or for fun, bodybuilding is typically described as a way of life, as it includes both the time you invest in and outside the gym.

In order to optimize your results at the gym, you should concentrate on your diet, as consuming the incorrect foods can be damaging to your bodybuilding objectives.

This short article discusses what to avoid and consume on a bodybuilding diet and supplies a one-week sample menu.

Bodybuilding Fundamentals


Bodybuilding is different from powerlifting or Olympic lifting because it’s evaluated on an individual’s physical look instead of physical strength.

Bodybuilders aim to establish and preserve a healthy, muscular and lean body.

To do this, lots of bodybuilders begin with an off-season followed by an in-season method of consuming food – described as a bulking and cutting stage, respectively.

Throughout the bulking stage, which can last months to years, bodybuilders consume a high-calorie, protein-rich diet and lift big weights with the objective of creating as much muscle as possible.

The cutting stage concentrates on losing as much fat as possible while keeping muscle mass built throughout the bulking stage. This is attained through particular modifications in diet and workout over a duration of 12 to 26 weeks.


Bodybuilding training and dieting is usually divided into 2 stages: cutting and bulking. The objective of the bulking stage is to construct muscle, whereas the cutting stage is focused on protecting muscle while losing body fat.

Advantages of Bodybuilding

There are numerous health advantages linked to bodybuilding.

In order to keep and develop muscles, bodybuilders work out regularly, carrying out both resistance and aerobic training.

Resistance training increases muscle strength and size. Muscle strength is associated with a lower risk of death from kidney, heart and cancer illnesses, along with numerous other important diseases.

Aerobic workout, which bodybuilders frequently go through to lower body fat, enhances heart health and considerably decreases your risk of death or getting a cardiovascular disease – the top killer in America.

In addition to workout, bodybuilders also concentrate on their nutrition.

With intense preparation, bodybuilders can eat in such a way that not just supports their efforts in the gym but also keeps them healthy too.

Following a healthy diet pattern, consisting of nutrient-dense foods from all food groups in proper quantities, can substantially decrease your risk of illness.



Bodybuilders work out frequently and should consume nutrient-dense and well-planned diet plans, both of which use numerous health advantages.

Calorie Macronutrients and requirements

The objective for competitive bodybuilders is to increase muscle mass in the bulking stage and minimize body fat in the cutting stage. You take in more calories in the bulking stage than in the cutting stage.

How Many Calories Should You Take In?

The simplest method to identify the number of calories you require is to weigh yourself at least 3 times a week and record what you consume utilizing a calorie tracking app.

If your weight remains the very same, the everyday variety of calories you consume is your upkeep calories – to put it simply, you’re not getting or losing weight, but preserving it.

Throughout your bulking stage, it’s advised to increase your calorie consumption by 15%. If your upkeep calories are 3,000 per day, you must consume 3,450 calories per day (3,000 x 0.15 = 450) throughout your bulking stage.

When transitioning from a bulking to a cutting stage, you would rather reduce your upkeep calories by 15%, implying you would consume 2,550 calories daily rather than 3,450.

As you put on weight in the bulking stage or drop weight in the cutting stage, you will require to change your calorie consumption at least month-to-month to cover modifications in your weight.

Increase your calories as you put on weight in the bulking stage and reduce your calories as you slim down in the cutting stage for ongoing improvements.

Throughout either stage, it’s advised not to lose or get more than 0.5– 1% of your body weight weekly. This guarantees that you do not lose excessive muscle throughout the cutting stage or gain excessive body fat throughout the bulking stage.

Macronutrient Ratio

When you develop the variety of calories you require, you can identify your macronutrient ratio, which is the ratio in between your protein, carb and fat consumption.

Unlike the differences in your calorie needs between the bulking and cutting stage, your macronutrient ratio does not alter.

Protein and carbohydrates include 4 calories per gram, and fat consists of 9.

It’s suggested that you get:

  • 30– 35% of your calories from protein
  • 55– 60% of your calories from carbohydrates
  • 15– 20% of your calories from fat

Here’s an example of the ratio for both a bulking and cutting stage:
differences in food intake

These are basic standards, so it’s best to seek advice from a known dietitian to identify your specific requirements based upon your objectives to make sure your diet is nutritionally appropriate.


Advised calorie consumption, however not your macronutrient ratio, vary between the bulking and cutting stage. To make up for weight modifications, change your calorie consumption monthly.

Bodybuilding Nutrition: Foods to Avoid and Consume

Like training, diet is an important part of bodybuilding.

Consuming the ideal foods in required quantities supplies your muscles with the nutrients they require to heal from exercises and grow larger and more powerful.

On the other hand, taking in incorrect foods or not taking in enough of the better ones will leave you with substandard results.

Here are foods you need to concentrate on and foods to avoid or eat less:

Foods to Concentrate on

The foods you consume do not need to vary between the bulking and cutting stage – normally, it’s the quantities that do.

Foods to consume are:

  • Meats, poultry and fish: Sirloin steak, ground beef, pork tenderloin, venison, chicken breast, tilapia, salmon and cod.
  • Dairy: Yogurt, home cheese, low-fat milk and cheese.
  • Grains: Bread, cereal, crackers, oatmeal, quinoa, rice and popcorn.
  • Fruits: Oranges, apples, bananas, grapes, pears, peaches, watermelon and berries.
  • Starchy veggies: Potatoes, corn, green peas, green lima beans and cassava.
  • Veggies: Broccoli, spinach, leafy salad greens, tomatoes, green beans, cucumber, zucchini, asparagus, mushrooms and peppers.
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds.
  • Vegetables and beans: Chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, black beans and pinto beans.
  • Oils: Olive oil, flaxseed oil and avocado oil.

Foods to Avoid:

While you should incorporate a range of foods in your diet, there are some you should eat less of

These are:

  1. Alcohol: Alcohol can adversely impact your capability to develop muscle and lose fat, specifically if you consume it in excess.
  2. Added sugars: These provide a lot of calories but very few nutrients. Foods high in added sugars are sweets, cookies, doughnuts, ice cream, cake and sugar-sweetened drinks, such as soda and sports beverages.
  3. Deep-fried foods: These might lead to bloating and – when consumed in excess – illness. Examples consist of fried fish, french fries, onion rings, chicken strips and cheese curds.

In addition to avoiding these, you might also want to avoid particular foods before going to the gym that can slow food digestion and trigger indigestion throughout your exercise.

These consist of:

  1. High-fat foods: High-fat meats, heavy sauces and buttery foods or creams.
  2. High-fiber foods: Beans and cruciferous veggies like broccoli or cauliflower.
  3. Carbonated drinks: Carbonated water or diet soda.

Bodybuilding Supplements

Lots of bodybuilders take dietary supplements, a few of which work while others will not.

The very best bodybuilding supplements consist of:

  1. Whey protein: Consuming whey protein powder is a hassle-free and simple method to increase your protein consumption.
  2. Creatine: Creatine offers your muscles with the energy required to carry out an intense training. While there are numerous brand names of creatine, try to find creatine monohydrate as it’s the most efficient.
  3. Caffeine: Caffeine reduces tiredness and enables you to work harder. It’s found in pre-workout supplements, coffee or tea.

If you’re restricting your calorie consumption in an effort to minimize body fat throughout your cutting stage, a mineral and multi-vitamin supplement might be handy.


Add a range of nutrient-rich foods from all the food groups and incorporate them in your diet. Restrict or avoid alcohol consumption, foods with added sugars and deep-fried foods. In addition to your diet, whey protein, caffeine, and creatine can be helpful supplements.

One-Week Sample Menu

The diet plans of bodybuilders are frequently referred to as limiting, boring and repetitive.

Standard bodybuilding diet plans usually consist of minimal food choices and little range amongst and within food groups, which can cause an insufficient consumption of necessary minerals and vitamins.

For this reason, it is necessary to integrate a lot of foods into your diet to guarantee your dietary requirements are being fulfilled – particularly throughout a cutting stage when you consume minimal calories.

Each meal and treat ought to include 20 – 30 grams of protein to support bodybuilding.

Your food consumption will be much greater than when you’re in a cutting stage when you’re in a bulking stage.

When bulking you can take pleasure in the same foods as in the cutting stage.

meal pyramid

Here is a sample one-week bodybuilding menu:


  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with mushrooms and oatmeal.
  • Treat: Low-fat cottage cheese with blueberries.
  • Lunch: Venison hamburger, white rice and broccoli.
  • Treat: Protein shake and a banana.
  • Supper: Salmon, quinoa and asparagus.


  • Breakfast: Protein pancakes with light-syrup, peanut butter and raspberries.
  • Treat: Hard-boiled eggs and an apple.
  • Lunch: Sirloin steak, sweet potato and spinach salad with vinaigrette.
  • Treat: Protein shake and walnuts.
  • Supper: Ground turkey and marinara sauce over pasta.


  • Breakfast: Chicken sausage with egg and roasted potatoes.
  • Treat: Greek yogurt and almonds.
  • Lunch: Turkey breast, basmati rice and mushrooms.
  • Treat: Protein shake and grapes.
  • Supper: Mackerel, wild rice and salad entrusts vinaigrette.


  • Breakfast: Ground turkey, egg, cheese and salsa in a whole-grain tortilla.
  • Treat: Yogurt with granola.
  • Lunch: Chicken breast, baked potato, sour cream and broccoli.
  • Treat: Protein shake and mixed berries.
  • Supper: Stir-fry with chicken, egg, wild rice, broccoli, carrots and peas.


  • Breakfast: Blueberries, strawberries and vanilla Greek yogurt on over night oats.
  • Treat: Jerky and mixed nuts.
  • Lunch: Tilapia fillets with lime juice, black and pinto beans and seasonal veggies.
  • Treat: Protein shake and watermelon.
  • Supper: ground beef with corn, wild rice, green beans and green peas.


  • Breakfast: Ground turkey and egg with corn, bell peppers, cheese and salsa.
  • Treat: Can of tuna with crackers.
  • Lunch: Tilapia fillet, potato wedges and bell peppers.
  • Treat: Protein shake and pear.
  • Supper: Diced beef with rice, black beans, bell peppers, cheese and pico de gallo.


  • Breakfast: Eggs sunny-side up and avocado toast.
  • Treat: Protein balls and almond butter.
  • Lunch: Pork tenderloin pieces with roasted garlic potatoes and green beans.
  • Treat: Protein shake and strawberries.
  • Supper: Turkey meatballs, marinara sauce and parmesan cheese over pasta.

Vary the kinds of foods in your diet and take in 20 – 30 grams of protein with each meal and treat.

Things to Remember

In general bodybuilding is a way of life connected with a number of health advantages, however there are some things to understand before trying bodybuilding.

Low Levels of Body Fat Can Have Side Effects On Sleep and State Of Mind


To get ready for a bodybuilding competition, individuals try to reach very low levels of body fat, with males and females generally reaching body fat levels of 5 – 10% and 10 – 15%, respectively.

This low level of body fat, combined with the low calorie consumption, has actually been revealed to reduce sleep quality, adversely impact state of mind and compromise the body’s immune system in the weeks leading up to a competition and even numerous weeks after.

This can reduce your capability to work each day, adversely impact those around you and leave you more prone to disease.

Dangers of Anabolic Steroid Usage

Numerous, however not all, muscle-building supplements are marketed by bodybuilders who utilize performance-enhancing drugs, such as anabolic steroids.

This deceives lots of bodybuilders into thinking that they can accomplish the very same muscular appearance by taking the marketed supplement.

In turn, lots of bodybuilders, particularly those at the start of their journey, establish impractical expectations of what can be achieved naturally, which might cause body frustration and ultimately the desire to try anabolic steroids.

Anabolic steroids are extremely unhealthy and linked to side effects and numerous risks. That’s why legal steroids are a lot better.

In addition to being prohibited for usage in the United States without a prescription, utilizing anabolic steroids can increase your risks of cardiovascular disease, reduce fertility and lead to behavioral and psychiatric conditions like anxiety.


When getting ready for a competitors, ensure you understand the possible negative effects. Comprehend that the bodies you see in supplement advertisements might not be reasonably attained without the usage of anabolic steroids, which are extremely unhealthy.

The Bottom Line

Bodybuilding is evaluated on muscularity and leanness instead of athletic efficiency.

Accomplishing the preferred bodybuilder appearance needs routine workout and unique attention to your diet.

Bodybuilding dieting is normally divided into bulking and cutting stages, throughout which your calorie consumption will alter while your macronutrient ratio stays the very same.

Your diet needs to consist of nutrient-dense foods, 20 – 30 grams of protein with each meal and treat, and you need to limit alcohol and high-sugar or deep-fried foods.

This guarantees you get all the crucial nutrients your body requires for developing muscle and general health.