Bodybuilding Nutrition Plan: What are the best foods to eat?

As a bodybuilder there are three things you really need to take very seriously. In no particular order, the first is your training program, the second is recovery, and the third, but not the least, is your dietary plan.

With regards to your nutrition plan for bodybuilding, it should be unique to your respective bodybuilding needs and goals. In other words, you can’t just eat and drink what you like and when you like.

You need to structure you diet to meet your daily nutritional requirements in line with your bodybuilding goals which could be either bulking or cutting. Your diet needs to provide you with the calories and energy requirement that will get you through your daily workout sessions.

Your personal nutrition plan will help promote the right anabolic response including skeletal muscle growth, and quick recovery from minor, moderate, or major injuries.

In this post, we explain why nutrition is important, and how you can choose the right nutrition plan for bodybuilding to follow. We also highlight some key benefits of a well thought-out personal nutrition plan, and drop some nutrition tips for bodybuilding.

Why is Nutrition Important?

The importance of nutrition cannot be underestimated. Nutrition is vital for your everyday bodily functions and without proper eating habits, you may soon find yourself struggling with the effects of malnutrition including increased susceptibility to diseases, as your immune response is weakened by poor nutrition.

In a nutshell, nutrition is absolutely crucial to your overall health, and well-being.

Here are five salient reasons why you should pay more attention to your nutrition.

#1. Nutrition Boosts Immunity:

Your immune system will be given a boost when you eat proper food. Proper food means a diet consisting of the three macros of healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.

A well balanced diet with regular consumption of low fat foods, vegetables, and fruits will help promote a good immune response to diseases. Your immune system will be healthy and strong enough to protect you from illness.

#2. Increased Energy Levels:

The foods and drinks you consume will provide you with the energy you need to function normally. You typically will derive your daily energy requirements from the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins you consume.

However, it is important to eat clean with carbohydrates from starchy vegetables such as potatoes, and wholegrains preferred due to their slow rate of digestion and the fact that these foods are known to offer a much longer energy supply.

It is also important not to neglect drinking clean water, as water helps in preventing dehydration, as well as transporting essential nutrients to all parts of the body for sustained energy levels.

#3. Improved Mood:

A diet high in carbohydrates is great for your overall mood while the opposite can be said about a diet low in carbohydrates. Low carb diets are known to promote anxiety, and stress while high carb diets promote an upbeat mood.

Your nutrition plan for bodybuilding should consist of a diet rich in protein, low fat, and considerable amounts of carbohydrates. This way you will provide your body with a sufficient amount of iron and omega-3 fatty acids which are essential to improving your mood.

#4. Improved Mental State of Health:

You can improve your mental state of health when your nutrition is clean and balanced. As your energy supply increases, so also will your rate of activity. You will be able to spend more time working out at your local gym and getting fit.

With improvements on your fitness levels, your mental state will be one of contentment, pride and happiness. You are less likely to be depressed at this point. It is important to include veggies and fruits in your diet, as they offer nutrients that are known to support mental health.

#5. Greater Lifespan:

There are two ways that food can shorten your lifespan. One is to be malnourished and the other is to overeat.

As your body goes through the process of metabolism, there is a level of stress placed on it.

This stress is amplified whenever you overeat, and this can actually be detrimental to your health, and lifespan.

It is therefore important that you eat in moderation and in accordance with your daily nutritional requirements. Also, you should watch what you consume.

You should avoid eating processed and refined foods, as these can adversely affect your health. Ultimately, you should focus your energy on eating nutrient-rich foods for healthy living and an extensive lifespan.

How to choose the right Nutrition Plan for Bodybuilding to follow?

As a bodybuilder there are many decisions you need to take in order to be successful in meeting your bodybuilding goals. One of these decisions has to do with choosing your personal nutrition plan.

The first thing you need to know is that a nutrition plan that works for a friend or family member may not necessarily be ideal for your bodybuilding needs.

In truth, we are all physiologically different, so our daily nutritional needs will naturally differ slightly, moderately, or hugely, as the case may be.

In choosing the right nutrition plan for bodybuilding, you need to ask yourself a few questions, and answer these questions honestly in order to gain the best nutrition plan results.

Typically, your dietary plan has to be in line with your bodybuilding requirements and goals while also respecting your peculiar dietary needs and limitations. For example, nuts are a good source of healthy fats, but if you are allergic to nuts like peanuts, then it would be wise to exclude peanuts in your respective nutrition plan.

Essentially, these five key questions will put you in the right frame of mind in deciding on which dietary plan would be best suited to your bodybuilding needs.

#1. What is your bodybuilding goal(s)?

The first question you need to answer has to do with the reason why you’re bodybuilding in the first place. You can’t just adopt any nutrition plan to follow.

Your plan needs to be in line with what you want to achieve as a bodybuilder. You may want to bulk, cut, or improve your athletic abilities.

You may want to achieve a combination of bulking and performance-enhancing gains or cutting and improved athletic performance.

Whatever your bodybuilding objectives may be, your dietary plan should be designed to equally match your ambitions.

For a bulking bodybuilding goal, you will need to consume a high amount of protein while for a cutting objective, your fat intake may be lower in comparison to a bulking bodybuilding diet.

If you want to improve your athletic performance, then you need to spend a lot more time strength training in the gym.

To this end, your carbohydrate consumption would be higher in order to provide you with the energy fuel needed for extensive workout sessions.

#2. What do you know about food?

A bit of food education is needed before you even consider embarking on a nutrition plan. If you don’t have an idea about the calories supplied by the foods you intend including your dietary plan, how do you know if you are at a caloric surplus or deficit as the case may be?

It is important to have an idea of the nutritional benefits of every food you intend consuming as it relates to your bodybuilding requirements and goals.

Imagine wanting to run a bodybuilding program for weight loss, and your nutrition plan includes a diet rich in saturated fats, refined, and processed foods. Your nutrition plan and indeed bodybuilding program would already be dead on arrival.

#3. What can I afford?

You could easily browse the internet to find a myriad of nutrition plans for bodybuilding, but you may be hard-pressed to sustain a plan due to the high cost of the foods involved.

This is why it is important to seek the help of a qualified nutritionist who can help you in drawing up a dietary plan that would match-up your budgetary limitations while still meeting your daily nutritional requirements, and tasting good.

In addition to this, not every food is readily available worldwide, so while you see a plan that indicates the consumption of certain foods, you should be able to deduce cost effective viable alternatives available in your locality.

Again, this is where a nutritionist or dietician may prove to be invaluable when you draw up a nutrition plan for bodybuilding.

#4. What’s my current state of health?

Your state of health would play a big part in the type of foods you include in your dietary plan. For example, if you are diabetic, your diet would be different from someone that is not diabetic.

Also, if you have high blood pressure concerns, then your diet should be one that is low in sodium chloride (salt).

Speak honestly with your nutritionist so as to prepare a dietary plan that fully appreciates and considers your peculiar health needs.

#5. How’s your schedule going to affect your nutrition plan?

If you have a very busy schedule, but you still want to squeeze in some time to workout, you need to ask yourself if you will be able to prepare the meals in your plan.

If your answer is no, then you will need to consider alternatives like preparing food ahead of time, ordering your meals, getting your spouse, family, or friends to help out, or hiring a personal cook.

Often the success or otherwise of any nutrition for a bodybuilding plan is dependent on the social support available at the time.

In addition to choosing the right dietary plan, you need to be able to track your nutrition plan results to know what is working and what isn’t. This way, you’ll be able to make instant adjustments to your meal plans for better bodybuilding results.

Benefits of a Nutrition Plan for Bodybuilding

There are certainly several benefits that you can derive from having a properly articulated nutrition plan for bodybuilding, but here are a few worth mentioning in this post.

#1. Reduced Inflammation

If your nutrition plan is rich in plant-based foods like onions, green veggies, Broccoli and apples, then you will expose your body to a potent antioxidant in these foods known as quercetin.

Quercetin is known to promote metabolism while also reducing inflammation caused by heightened cortisol levels for example.

#2. Increased Metabolism:

Foods like green tea, oats, caffeine, and chili (capsaicin) will help to boost your metabolism and encourage lipolysis or fat burning of both subcutaneous and visceral fat.

If you are running a cutting program, then it would be sensible to include foods that stimulate metabolism in your nutrition plan.

#3. Enhanced Energy Levels:

Superfoods like flax seeds, oats, yogurt, beans, olive oil, cinnamon, blueberries, and peanut butter are known to provide the body with the energy needed for high-interval intensity training (HIIT).

Just two tablespoons of peanut butter, for example, provides healthy fats that are safe for your cardiovascular system.

It also contains 7g of protein and 90 calories to give your skeletal muscles the energy needed for intense workouts.

#4. Increased Muscle Growth:

Consuming a good amount of proteins obtained from meat sources like lean beef, pork, eggs, and fish, as well as plant sources, will promote protein synthesis in your skeletal muscles resulting in growth and development.

#5. Quick Recovery:

Proteins can also help promote the quick repair of both muscle tears and bone fractures incurred during HIIT or weight training.

Meat and fish will boost your protein and amino acids supply necessary for muscle building and promoting collagen production for enhanced bone density.

Nutrition Tips for Bodybuilding

  • Tip #1: Always consult a dietician or nutritionist before drawing up a nutrition plan for bodybuilding.
  • Tip #2: Maintain a dietary plan that incorporates the three main meals of the day, namely; breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Tip #3: Depending on your bodybuilding goal, include snacks in between meals, like a snack at around 16:00 hours or 4PM and one just before you go to bed.
  • Tip #4: You can sustain an anabolic state by consuming small meals every 2 to 3 hours of the day. In order to achieve this, it is advisable to have food prepared and packed ahead of time.
  • Tip #5: Maintain a balanced diet at all times and eat foods that your body can tolerate.


In summary, your nutrition plan for bodybuilding should be uniquely designed to meet your bodybuilding needs, and goals.

You should meet with a nutritionist in order to formulate a dietary plan that takes into account your current state of health, daily energy and nutritional requirements, allergies, food preferences, lifestyle choice, and budgetary constraints.

But above all, you should try to understand what you can gain from consuming the foods that make up your plan and note that your nutritional plan is worth nothing if you don’t back it up with a training program to match.

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