What Are the Healthiest Foods to Eat to Grow Muscle?

The main goal of bodybuilding is to increase the body's muscular mass through weightlifting and nutrition. Bodybuilding, whether competitive or entertaining, is sometimes referred to as a lifestyle since it affects both the time you spend in and out of the gym.

Focusing on your diet can help you boost your exercise results and reach your muscle growth objectives because eating the incorrect meals might work against your bodybuilding objectives.

Muscle volume decreases with dehydration as a result of a reduction in cell water volume. Additionally, this slows down the creation of proteins and speeds up their breakdown.

It's important to maintain a regular exercise schedule and pay attention to your dietary intake while you're working on developing your muscles. If you want your efforts to be even more fruitful, choose to eat meals that will help you gain muscle.

  • Bodybuilding Fundamentals
  • Macronutrients and Calorie Requirements
  • Bodybuilding Nutrition: What to Eat and What to Avoid

  • Bodybuilding Supplements

  • Things to Keep in Mind

Bodybuilding Bulking and Cutting

Bodybuilding varies from powerlifting and Olympic lifting in that competitors are assessed on their physical appearance rather than on physical strength.

Bodybuilders strive to achieve and maintain a well-balanced, lean, and muscular physique.

To do this, many bodybuilders begin with an off-season diet followed by an in-season diet — referred to as the bulking and reducing phases, respectively.

Following the bulking phase, the cutting phase focuses on losing as much fat as possible while maintaining muscle mass gained during the bulking phase. This is accomplished over a 12-26 week period by making particular dietary and activity adjustments.

Benefits of Bodybuilding

There are several health advantages to bodybuilding.

Muscle strength and size are increased via resistance exercise. Muscle strength is strongly linked to a decreased chance of dying from cancer, heart and renal disease, and a variety of other crucial ailments.

Aerobic exercise, which bodybuilders commonly use to fat burning, boosts heart health and greatly reduces your chance of developing or dying from heart disease - America's leading killer.

Bodybuilders prioritize nutrition in addition to activity.

Bodybuilders may eat in a way that not only supports their efforts in the gym but also keeps them healthy.

A balanced eating pattern that includes nutrient-dense meals from all food categories in suitable proportions might reduce your risk of chronic illnesses greatly.

Macronutrients and Calorie Requirements

Competitive bodybuilders want to gain muscle growth during the bulking phase and lose body fat during the cutting phase. As a result, during the bulking phase, you consume more calories than during the reducing phase.

Macronutrient Composition

Once you've determined how many calories you require, you may calculate your macronutrient ratio, which is the ratio of protein, carbohydrate, and fat consumption.

Unlike your calorie requirements, your macronutrient ratio does not alter between the bulking and cutting reducing phases.

Protein and carbohydrates have four calories per gram, but fat has nine.

It is advised that you obtain:

Protein accounts for 30-35% of your calorie intake.

Carbohydrates provide 55-60% of your calories.

Fat accounts about 15-20% of your total calories.


How Many Calories Are Required?

The simplest approach to figure out how many calories you need is to weigh yourself at least three times each week and use a calorie monitoring app to document what you eat.

If your weight remains constant, the daily quantity of calories you consume is known as your maintenance calories; in other words, you are not losing or gaining weight, but rather maintaining it.

It is suggested that you boost your calorie intake by 15% during your bulking period. For example, if your maintenance calories are 3,000 per day, you should consume 3,450 calories per day during your bulking phase (3,000 x 0.15 = 450).

For continuous development, increase your calories as you gain weight during the bulking phase and lower your calories as you lose weight during the reducing phase.

It is suggested that you do not lose or gain more than 0.5-1% of your body weight every week throughout either period. This prevents you from losing too much muscle mass during the cutting phase or gaining too much body fat during the bulking phase.

To ensure that your diet is appropriate in nutrition, it is advisable to contact with a qualified dietitian to establish your unique needs depending on your goals.

Bodybuilding Nutrition: What to Eat and What to Avoid

Diet, like exercise, is an essential component of bodybuilding.

Eating the proper foods in the right proportions supplies the nutrition your muscles require to recuperate from exercises and develop larger and stronger.

Consuming the incorrect meals or not enough of the proper ones, on the other hand, will result in mediocre results.

Here are some meals to focus on and others to restrict or avoid:

Foods to Pay Attention To

The items you eat don't need to change between the bulking and reducing phases; it's typically the quantities that do.

Foods to consume include:

Sirloin steak, ground beef, hog tenderloin, venison, chicken breast, salmon, tilapia, and cod are among the meats, poultry, and fish available.

Dairy: Yogurt, cottage cheese, low-fat milk, and cheese are all dairy products.

Grains: Bread, cereal, crackers, oatmeal, quinoa, popcorn, and rice are examples of grains.

Fruits: Oranges, apples, bananas, grapes, pears, peaches, melons, and berries are examples of fruits.

Starchy vegetables: Potatoes, corn, green peas, green lima beans, and cassava are examples of starchy vegetables.

Vegetables: Broccoli, spinach, leafy salad greens, tomatoes, green beans, cucumber, zucchini, asparagus, peppers, and mushrooms are among the vegetables.

Seeds and nuts: Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and flax seeds are examples of seeds and nuts.

Beans and legumes: Chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, black beans, and pinto beans are examples of legumes and beans.

Oils: Olive oil, flaxseed oil, and avocado oil are the oils used.


Foods to Limit

While you should eat a variety of foods, there are certain that you should avoid.

These are some examples:

Alcohol: Excessive alcohol use might have a detrimental impact on your capacity to develop muscle and shed fat.

Added sugars: These provide a lot of calories but very little nutrients. Candy, cookies, doughnuts, ice cream, cake, and beverages with added sugar such as soda and sports drinks are rich in added sugars.

Deep-fried meals: may cause inflammation and, if taken in excess, illness. Fried fish, french fries, onion rings, chicken strips, and cheese curds are some examples.

Aside from this, you may want to avoid certain meals before heading to the gym that might inhibit digestion and create stomach trouble during your workout.

Bodybuilding Supplements

Many bodybuilders utilize nutritional supplements, some of which are beneficial while others are not.

Among the greatest bodybuilding supplements are:

Whey protein powder: Consuming whey protein powder is a quick and easy approach to improve your protein consumption.

Creatine: Creatine gives your muscles the energy they need to execute an extra rep or two. While there are other kinds of creatine available, creatine monohydrate is the most effective .

Caffeine: Caffeine reduces weariness and helps you to perform harder. It's in pre-workout pills, coffee, and tea.

If you're reducing your calorie intake to lose body fat during your cutting phase, a multivitamin and mineral pill may be beneficial.


Things to Keep in Mind

Bodybuilding is, for the most part, a healthy lifestyle, but there are a few things to consider before getting started.

Low levels of body fat might have a negative impact on sleep and mood.

Competitors acquire exceptionally low levels of body fat to preparation for a bodybuilding competition, with men and women often achieving body fat levels of 5-10% and 10-15%, respectively.

This low body fat level, along with a low calorie intake, has been proven to reduce sleep quality, severely influence mood, and impair the immune system in the weeks leading up to and even after a competition.

As a result, you may be less able to operate on a daily basis, have a negative impact on others around you, and be more prone to sickness.

The Dangers of Anabolic Steroid Use

Bodybuilders who use pharmaceuticals to enhancing performance, such as anabolic steroids, promote many, but not all, muscle-building supplements.

Many bodybuilders are led to believe that by taking the marketed supplement, they can obtain the same muscular appearance.

As a result, many bodybuilders, especially those who are just beginning out, have unrealistic expectations of what they can achieve naturally, which can lead to body dissatisfaction and, eventually, a desire to utilize anabolic steroids.

However, anabolic steroids are extremely dangerous and are associated with several hazards and negative effects.

In addition to being illegal to possess without a prescription in the United States, anabolic steroids can increase your risk of heart disease, impede fertility, and cause psychological and behavioral issues such as depression.

The Bottom Line

Muscularity and leanness are more important in bodybuilding than athletic performance.

Bodybuilding diets are often separated into bulking and reducing stages, during which your calorie intake varies but your macronutrient ratio remains constant.

Your diet should contain nutrient-dense meals, 20-30 grams of protein with each meal and snack, and alcohol and high-sugar foods should be avoided.

This guarantees that you obtain all of the nutrients your body need for muscular growth and general wellness.




vibrant fruit bowl with berries and nutritious muffins
Raymond C.·
Fit Food for Two: Healthy Recipes & Meal Plans for Active Couples

Working out as a couple
Raymond C.·
Working out as a couple? Here's why it's a good idea

Unlock Your Inner Strength with Creatine: Benefits and Dietary Sources
Unlock Your Inner Strength with Creatine: Benefits and Dietary Sources

All comment(1)

Can i get daily tips on fitness and bodybuilding

Arthur Willis

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.