Choosing the right way to eat to build muscle can be a little overwhelming.
But once you start eating the way you have to, it will become second nature to you.
Check below some sample meals plans for bodybuilding and more tips to keep you fit and healthy on your bodybuilding journey.
Following is a list of good foods for you to eat in each of the categories you need to concentrate on:
white meat chicken or turkey
red meat like steak or roast
yams, sweet potatoes, acorn squash
all water based types
lettuce, cabbage, spinach
bok choy, leeks
broccoli, cauliflower, radish
3 small apricots
1 mango, small papaya
1-cup low fat cottage cheese
1-cup non-fat milk
1/2 cup non or low-fat cheese
2 slices whole wheat bread
whole wheat tortillas
A good diet is well-rounded and contains some of each of the food groups. You should also include a supplement in your diet which we will get to in a later section.
As we’ve said, you should be eating 5 or 6 smaller meals every day instead of three large ones. Space your meals about 2 to 2 ½ hours apart.
BodyBuilding Meal Plans
Try out a few of these meal plans to start out with.
vegetable omelet (3 egg whites, 1 whole egg, 1 cup veggies)
You can also add some chicken or lean beef if you want.
one cup yogurt or a protein shake
6 oz chicken
small raw vegetable salad
1 piece fruit
3-4 oz Chicken
6 oz fish
1 – cup grilled veggies
1 – cup brown rice
3 packs instant oatmeal
1 cup of yogurt
1 cup of cottage cheese
1 large baked potato
8 ounces chicken breast
2 cups pasta
1 cup yogurt
1 can of tuna
1 – 2 cups broccoli
1 cup brown rice
8 ounces broiled fish
1 cup veggies
2 cups rice
breakfast burrito (3 egg whites, 1 whole egg scrambled, 1 cup onion/green pepper mix, salsa)
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup berries
1 cup raw veggies
salmon burger on whole wheat bun (canned salmon, 1 egg white, onions cooked in a non-stick fry pan)
1 large potato cut into strips, brushed with olive oil and baked in oven until crispy
1 garden salad drizzled with olive oil and red wine vinegar
1 cup yogurt
8 ounces chicken breast, cut into chunks, fried in olive oil and seasoned with oregano, garlic salt, and basil
1 cup cooked tomatoes
2 cups pasta
1 cup broccoli or cauliflower mix
1 cup melon
1 cup yogurt
It’s a good idea to plan ahead and pre-cook your meals. Keep vegetables cut up in the refrigerator so you don’t have to work too hard at mealtime.
There’s really no need to measure carefully for the portions suggested. This isn’t an exact science! Eyeball your portions and consider the following chart:
Portion Portion Size
1 oz. meat Matchbox
3 oz. meat Deck of cards
8 oz. meat Thin paperback book
3 oz. fish Checkbook
1 oz. cheese Four dice
1 med. potato Computer mouse
2 tbsp. peanut butter Ping pong ball
1 cup pasta Tennis ball
1 bagel Hockey puck
Tips For Your Nutritional Needs
Consider the following general tips for your nutritional needs.
Drink skim milk or soy milk
Cut sugar from your diet. Use artificial sweeteners instead.
No regular soda! Diet is better for you anyway and doesn’t contain sugar
Pizza and hamburgers are a big no-no. Not only are they high in bad fat content, they are highly caloric and can cause you to overeat
Eat lots of fish to increase your levels of Omega 3 fatty acids
Chicken breasts are good for you as well
Allow yourself one cheat day a week where you can indulge in something you’ve been craving. Just don’t overdo it on your cheat days or you can undo all you’ve accomplished.
Limit the amount of fruit you eat. While fruit is healthy, it can have a detrimental effect on your workout.
Protein and complex carbohydrates are very important
Instead of eating three large meals a day, eat six smaller ones
Don’t skip meals
Vegetables are always a good choice at mealtime
When eating out, choose foods wisely.
Avoid most fast food restaurants or opt for healthy choices – remember no burgers!
However, you must be careful not to overdo on the fats.
Consider the following suggestions for keeping your fat intake at a healthy level:
Snack on peanuts instead of chips or candy. About a ½ cup is a good amount.
Use olive oil in salad dressings and when cooking
When baking, instead of topping with chocolate or candies, consider using nuts and seeds instead
Try making sandwiches with avocado and tuna instead of higher fat lunch meats
Eat fish at least three times a week to increase your Omega 3 intake
Limit or even eliminate fast food as well as sources of trans fats like commercially processed cookies and cakes
When you start on a body building program, you will want to pay close attention to the foods you are feeding your body. That includes alcohol as well.
Many people like a drink or two or even three to help them unwind and relax. But when you are a body builder, alcohol can have a detrimental effect on your progress.
Alcohol contains nothing but empty calories. It has no nutritional value but it does contain high caloric content.
In fact, just one shot of vodka contains 100 calories! Not only will drinking increase your caloric intake, it slows down your metabolism hindering your body’s ability to process foods.
Alcohol consumption also hurts muscle growth. Not only will having a hangover lower your workout intensity, but drinking actually lowers protein synthesis by twenty percent. There are several reasons why it does this.
For one, it dehydrates your muscle cells. As many know, hydrated and even over hydrated muscles allows for a much higher anabolic environment.
Because your cells aren’t holding as much water, it becomes much harder to build muscle.
The second reason why alcohol can severely hurt muscle growth is because it blocks the absorption of many important nutrients that are key to muscle contraction, relaxation, and growth including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and potassium.
Not only that, but alcohol lowers the amount of testosterone in your body and actually increases estrogen levels.
Having higher levels of testosterone can help with your workouts by making you more aggressive, so when those levels are down, you will not be as intense in your lifting and weight training.
Probably one of the best things you can do to help your body building workout progress the way you want it to is to drink plenty of water.
Water is good for you anyway, but for bodybuilders, it can be especially important. Water is part of every single metabolic process that the body undertakes.
Most experts recommend everyone drink six to eight glasses of water daily to stay healthy.
For bodybuilders, you’ll need much more. Soda, coffee, and tea don’t count either. The caffeine can increase fluid loss, so you’re not getting the hydration you need.
Body builders need at least a half gallon to a gallon per day depending on the intensity of your workouts.
Water flushes out toxins and other metabolic waste products from the body. It is especially important when following a “high protein” diet, as it helps remove excess nitrogen, urea (a toxic substance), and ketones.
If you’re eating big to gain weight, then you need even more water to help your kidneys do their work.
Without enough water, the kidneys can’t function properly. When this happens, some of the load is transferred to the liver. The liver metabolizes stored fat for energy.
If the liver is doing some of the kidneys’ work, it burns less fat. In addition, water can actually reduce feelings of hunger.
Contrary to popular belief, drinking water can actually help you shed excess water weight.
When water is in short supply, the body, thinking there’s a shortage, begins hoarding it. This water is stored in extra cellular spaces. In other words, your skin starts looking soft and swollen.
If you’re going to be using supplements in your body building program, and you should, water can help them work.
Supplements like creatine work in part because it pulls water in muscle cells, creating an anabolic environment needed for muscle growth.
For this to work properly, you need plenty of water. Plus, if you’re training hard, then you need a basic mega-vitamin. Many vitamins are water soluble, and water unlocks the power of those vitamins.
A good diet is essential to an effective body building program. You can workout with the intensity of a professional, but if your diet stinks, you won’t be doing yourself any good.
The body is very adaptable to change. At first, you may have problems getting used to your new diet. But once you get used to eating right, you’ll find yourself not even craving the foods you used to eat.