Bodybuilding Meal Plan – Benefits, Nutrition And Precautions

Bodybuilding Meal Plan – Benefits, Nutrition And Precautions


Bodybuilding Meal Plan – Bodybuilding focuses on building muscle in your body through weight lifting and nutrition.

Whether recreational or competitive, bodybuilding is often referred to as a lifestyle because it includes the time you spend in and out of the gym.

To maximize your results in the gym, you need to focus on your diet, as eating the wrong foods can hurt your bodybuilding goals.

This article explains what to eat and what to avoid on a bodybuilding diet, as well as a sample weekly menu.

Bodybuilding Basics

Bodybuilding differs from powerlifting or powerlifting in that it evaluates the athlete’s appearance over physical strength.

Therefore, bodybuilders strive to develop and maintain a balanced, lean, and muscular physique.

To do this, many bodybuilders start with an off-season, followed by a seasonal eating pattern called the bulking and cutting phase.

During the bulking phase, which can last from several months to several years, bodybuilders stick to high-calorie, high-protein foods and lift weights with the goal of building as much muscle as possible.

The next cutting phase focuses on losing as much fat as possible while maintaining the muscle mass gained during the bulking phase. People try to achieve this through specific changes in diet and exercise over a period of 12 to 26 weeks.

Benefits Of Bodybuilding

Bodybuilding Meal Plan – There are several health benefits associated with weight training. Bodybuilders often train to maintain and build muscle by doing aerobic and strength exercises.

Weight training increases the strength and size of muscles. Muscle strength is associated with a lower risk of dying from cancer, heart and kidney disease, and several other serious illnesses.

Aerobic exercise, often used by bodybuilders to reduce body fat, improves heart health and significantly reduces the risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.

In addition to exercise, bodybuilders also pay attention to nutrition.

With careful planning, bodybuilders can eat in a way that not only supports their efforts in the gym, but also keeps them healthy.

Following a healthy diet that includes nutrient-rich foods from all food groups in adequate amounts can significantly reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Calorie And Macronutrient Needs

The goal of competitive bodybuilders is to increase muscle mass during the bulking phase and reduce body fat during the cutting phase. Therefore, you consume more calories during the bulking phase than during the cutting phase.

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How many calories do you need? (Bodybuilding Meal Plan)

The easiest way to determine how many calories you need is to weigh yourself at least three times a week and log what you eat with a calorie tracking app.

If your weight stays the same, the daily calories you eat are your maintenance calories. This is the phase where you don’t lose or gain weight, but you don’t gain it back.

During the bulking phase, you should increase your calorie intake by about 15%. For example, if your maintenance calories are 3,000 calories per day, you should eat 3,450 calories per day (3,000 x 0.15 = 450) during your bulking phase.

By going from the bulking phase to the cutting phase, you will reduce your maintenance calories by 15%, which means you will consume 2,550 calories per day instead of 3,450.

As you gain weight during the bulking phase or lose weight during the cutting phase, you will need to adjust your calorie intake at least once a month to account for changes in your weight.

Increase calories as you gain weight in the bulking phase and decrease calories as you lose weight in the cutting phase to make even more progress.

During any phase, it is recommended not to lose or gain more than 0.5-1% of body weight per week. This ensures you don’t lose too much muscle during the cutting phase or gain too much fat during the bulking phase.

Macronutrient Ratio

Once you have established your desired calorie intake, you can determine your macronutrient ratio, which is the ratio of protein, carbohydrates and fat.

Unlike the difference in caloric needs between the phases of mass gain and loss, the ratio of macronutrients does not change.

Protein and carbohydrates contain four calories per gram (g), while fat contains nine. Recommended tricks include:

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

Here is an example of the proportions for volume and cutting phase:

bodybuilding-meal-plan-2These are general guidelines, so it’s best to consult with a registered dietitian to determine your individual needs based on your goals to ensure your diet is adequate in nutrients.

Bodybuilding Nutrition – What To Eat And What To Avoid

Bodybuilding Meal Plan – Like training, diet is an important part of bodybuilding.

Eating the right foods in the right amounts gives your muscles the nutrients they need to recover from exercise, grow and strengthen.

Conversely, eating the wrong foods or not eating enough of the right foods will lead to mediocre results.

Here are foods to focus on and foods to limit or avoid:

Foods to Focus On

The foods you eat don’t need to differ between bulking and cutting phases; usually, the numbers do it.

Among the foods that can be eaten are:

  • Meat, poultry and fish: loin, ground beef, pork loin, venison, chicken breast, salmon, tilapia and cod.
  • Dairy products: yogurt, cottage cheese, skim milk and cheese.
  • Grains: Bread, cereal, crackers, oats, quinoa, popcorn and rice.
  • Fruits: oranges, apples, bananas, grapes, pears, peaches, melons and berries.
  • Starchy vegetables: potatoes, corn, beans, green beans and tapioca.
  • Vegetables: broccoli, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, zucchini, asparagus, peppers and mushrooms.
  • Seeds and Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and flax seeds.
  • Beans and legumes: chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, black beans, and carioca beans.
  • Oils: Olive oil, flaxseed oil and avocado oil.

Food To Limit

Although you should include a variety of foods in your diet, some of them should be limited.

This includes:

  • Alcohol: Alcohol can negatively affect your ability to build muscle and lose fat, especially if consumed in excess.
  • Added Sugar: This is high in calories but low in nutrients. Foods high in added sugar include candy, cookies, donuts, ice cream, cakes, and sugary drinks like soda and sports drinks.
  • Fried Foods: Can contribute to inflammation and, if eaten in excess, disease. Examples include fried fish, chips, onion rings, chicken strips and cream cheese.

In addition to limiting them, you may also want to avoid certain foods before hitting the gym, which can slow down digestion and upset your stomach during exercise.

This includes:

  • High-Fat Foods: high-fat meats, foods with butter and sauces or heavy cream.
  • Fiber-Rich Foods: legumes and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli or cauliflower.
  • Carbonated Drinks: carbonated water or diet soda.

Bodybuilding Supplements

Bodybuilding Meal Plan – Many bodybuilders take nutritional supplements, some beneficial and some not.

The best bodybuilding supplements include:

  • Whey Protein: Taking whey protein powder is a simple and easy way to increase your protein intake.
  • Creatine: Creatine provides your muscles with the energy they need to perform additional repetitions. While there are many brands of creatine, look for creatine monohydrate as it is the most effective.
  • Caffeine: Caffeine reduces fatigue and allows you to work harder. Pre-workout supplements, coffee, and tea are often high in caffeine.

Multivitamin and mineral supplements can help if you are restricting your calorie intake to reduce body fat during the cutting phase.

Sample Menu For A Week

Many people find bodybuilding diets restrictive, monotonous and boring.

Traditional bodybuilding diets often contain a limited selection of foods and little variety between and within food groups, resulting in insufficient intake of essential vitamins and minerals.

That’s why it’s important to include variety in your diet to ensure your nutritional needs are met, especially during the cutting phase when you’re eating a limited number of calories.

When you are in the bulking phase, your food intake will be much higher than in the cutting phase. You can enjoy the same products during the cutting phase and during the mass gain, just in smaller portions.

Here is an example of a bodybuilder’s menu for the week:

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with mushrooms, oatmeal, and a pear.
  • Snack: Low-fat cottage cheese with blueberries.
  • Lunch: Venison burger, white rice, and broccoli.
  • Snack: Protein shake and a banana.
  • Dinner: Salmon, quinoa, and asparagus.
  • Breakfast: Protein pancakes with light syrup, peanut butter, and raspberries.
  • Snack: Hard-boiled eggs and an apple.
  • Lunch: Sirloin steak, sweet potato, and spinach salad with vinaigrette.
  • Snack: Protein shake and a peach.
  • Dinner: Ground turkey and marinara sauce over pasta, with a side of cauliflower.
  • Breakfast: Chicken sausage with egg, roasted potatoes, and an apple.
  • Snack: Greek yogurt, strawberries, and almonds.
  • Lunch: Turkey breast, basmati rice, and mushrooms.
  • Snack: Protein shake and grapes.
  • Dinner: Mackerel, brown rice, asparagus, and salad leaves with vinaigrette.
  • Breakfast: Ground turkey, egg, cheese, and salsa in a whole-grain tortilla.
  • Snack: Yogurt with granola and a pear.
  • Lunch: Chicken breast, baked potato, sour cream, and broccoli.
  • Snack: Protein shake and mixed berries.
  • Dinner: Stir-fry with shrimp, egg, brown rice, bell peppers, peas, and carrots.
  • Breakfast: Blueberries, strawberries, and Greek yogurt on overnight oats.
  • Snack: Jerky and mixed nuts with an orange.
  • Lunch: Tilapia fillets with lime juice, black and pinto beans, and seasonal veggies.
  • Snack: Protein shake and watermelon.
  • Dinner: Ground beef with corn, brown rice, green peas, and beans.
  • Breakfast: Ground turkey and egg with corn, bell peppers, cheese, and salsa.
  • Snack: Can of tuna with crackers and an apple.
  • Lunch: Tilapia fillet and potato wedges with steamed broccoli and cauliflower.
  • Snack: Protein shake and pear.
  • Dinner: Diced beef with rice, black beans, bell peppers, onions, cheese, and pico de gallo.
  • Breakfast: Eggs sunny-side up and avocado toast with fresh fruit.
  • Snack: Protein balls with almond butter and an orange.
  • Lunch: Pork tenderloin slices with roasted garlic potatoes, green beans, and carrots.
  • Snack: Protein shake and strawberries.
  • Dinner: Turkey meatballs, marinara sauce, and parmesan cheese over pasta, with a side of sautéed kale.

Things To Remember

For the most part, strength training is a lifestyle that comes with many health benefits, but there are a few things you should know before strength training.

Low body fat can negatively affect sleep and mood

To prepare for bodybuilding competitions, competitors aim for very low body fat levels, with men and women achieving body fat levels of 5-10% and 10-15% respectively.

This low body fat, combined with low caloric intake, has been shown to affect sleep quality, negatively affect mood, and weaken the immune system in the weeks leading up to competition and the weeks after.

As such, it can reduce your ability to function in everyday life, negatively impact the people around you, and make you more vulnerable to illness.

Risks of using anabolic steroids

Bodybuilding Meal Plan – Many, but not all advertisements for muscle building supplements feature bodybuilders using performance enhancing drugs such as anabolic steroids.

This leads many bodybuilders to believe that they can achieve the same muscular appearance by taking advertised supplements.

On the other hand, many bodybuilders, especially those just starting out, develop unrealistic expectations of what they can achieve naturally, which can lead to body dissatisfaction and, ultimately, the need to try anabolic steroids.

However, anabolic steroids are very unhealthy and are associated with various risks and side effects.

In addition to being illegal in the US, over-the-counter anabolic steroids can increase the risk of heart disease, reduce fertility, and lead to mental and behavioral disorders such as depression.

The Bottom Line

Bodybuilding Meal Plan – Bodybuilding focuses on muscle and leanness rather than athletic performance. Achieving the desired physique requires regular exercise and special attention to your diet.

Bodybuilding diets usually include a bulking and lean phase where your calorie intake will fluctuate while your macronutrient ratio stays the same.

Your diet should include nutrient-dense, protein-rich foods at every meal and snack, and limit alcohol and fried or high-sugar foods.

This ensures you get all the essential nutrients your body needs for muscle building and overall health.

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