If you’re one of those guys who spend half their lives in the gym and never seem to put on any muscle then you may need to look at what you’re eating. There are plenty of bodybuilding foods out there which will give you some extra help in bulking up. This article takes a detailed look at bodybuilding and what you should include in your bodybuilding diet.
Table of Contents
Bodybuilding Foods to Eat
Below we have listed fifteen bodybuilding foods to eat. Good things is that these foods are evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding (1).
Beef is stuffed full of minerals, vitamins, and proteins. There has been plenty of research that shows that beef is one of the best bodybuilding food.
Unfortunately, beef is also high-calorie food packed with fat. So, if you decide to up your beef intake, make sure you eat as much lean beef as you can.
If you want to gain weight fast then the chicken meat is another one for you. Chicken has lots of protein and pound-for-pound, a lot cheaper than beef. However, chicken skin, while being quite healthy for the heart, is not exactly slimming.
Health experts from Harvard University confirmed that eating chicken skin, specifically in moderation, will not cause health problems (2). Delicious as it is when you’re cooking chicken, be careful how much skin you eat.
Salmon is one of the best muscles building food for the skinny guy. Firstly, it’s full of protein which is what’s needed to build muscle.
Plus, salmon has the added benefit of having lots of other healthy things such as vitamins D and B12, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids, of course. However, if you want to eat a lot of salmon, eat wild, not farmed.
Related: 10 Proven Health Benefits of Salmon Fish
For centuries, oysters were believed to be an aphrodisiac. They are not unless we are counting psychological effects or the way they look.
However, because they are full of protein, zinc, potassium, and calcium, they are responsible for giving us lots of energy, which is where the aphrodisiac bit may come in.
You can add eggs in the meal plan for skinny guys bulking up because eggs are considered as the great muscle building food. Quick and easy to cook with the added bonus that they’re cheap. They are also full of protein and have very few calories.
Apart from being high in protein, eggs are rich in vitamins A, E, K, and B to name a few. Plus, minerals iron, zinc, and calcium. All of which means that eggs are great to add in the meal plan for bulking up.
Now, some nuts are nuts and some nuts are technically seeds. However, we’re not going to go down that route because, quite honestly, who cares?
Nuts are full of polyunsaturated and monosaturated fats, which are healthy food for the heart. Plus, they have plenty of protein and fiber. The top five to eat are walnuts, peanuts, almonds, brazil nuts, and cashew nuts.
Related: 13 Healthy Nuts and Seeds
We’ve talked about potassium in oysters before but when it comes to bananas, we’re on another level.
Potassium is important for muscle care and because bananas are so easy to eat either as a snack, a shake, or as the ingredient of another meal, there is really no excuse not to get enough of this bodybuilding food.
Actually, even though bananas have lots of potassium, incredibly, avocados have 60% more than bananas. But avocados are full of so many more nutrients, chemicals, vitamins, essential acids that even if you weren’t trying to build muscle, they are a great addition for anyone’s muscle building diet plan.
9. Cottage Cheese
To be honest, I find cottage cheese a bit bland, but it is good for you if you are trying to lose weight or build muscle. Cottage cheese has lots of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
However, one of the major benefits of cottage cheese is it’s a great snack so if you live a busy life but need to eat more bodybuilding foods, cottage cheese is the way to go.
10. Greek Yogurt
If I had to choose between cottage cheese or Greek yogurt, I would always go with the latter. It is delicious, rich in protein and nutrients, boosts the metabolism, and builds muscle.
Of course, it’s easy to whip up a quick snack as well so perfect if you’re on the go a lot. And one lesser-known fact is that it has less lactose than other dairy products, so if you’re lactose intolerant, go Greek.
11. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is very popular with body-builders and high in calories and unsaturated fat. Of course, peanut butter is probably best known for being full of protein, which we know is good for building and repairing muscles.
If you are looking for the answer to how to gain weight in a week? Then peanut butter is your answer. Peanut butter, and jelly or honey on healthy bread, and not only will you be eating well, but you’ll also get transported back to childhood.
12. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are excellent as one of the post-workout muscle-building food. They contain vitamin C which is essential to prevent the breakdown of muscles. Sweet potatoes also contain copper which is needed for healthy muscles. Cooking tip: if you are wondering how to cook sweet potatoes, microwave or steam work well, but steam is better.
Some people consider chickpeas to be somehow less than other sources for protein but there are a lot of people who swear by them as one of the best muscle-building food. They are easy to eat, and you can throw them all over your salad. Plus, they have lots of carbs, which are an important part of building muscles as well.
We haven’t really spent much time talking about carbs but they are essential for bulking up. And of course, whenever anyone mentions carbs, one of the first foods that come to mind must be pasta.
But remember that pasta also contains protein. So, all in all, pretty good food to add in the meal plan for skinny guys bulking up.
15. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
I know that you may be thinking. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) can’t possibly help build muscles, but it can. EVOO is one of the muscle-building foods that can help indirectly because it can help reduce the pain felt in muscles.
And there you have it fifteen muscle-building foods for skinny guys. If you are looking for a way to bulk yourself up, eating any, or even all, of the above. Remember that you need to maintain a balanced diet no matter what, so don’t add extra protein and carbs while leaving out all the other nutrients you need.
Related: 11 Proven Health Benefits of Olive Oil
Foods to Avoid when Bodybuilding
You may think since you’re to consume a whole lot of protein and calories then it is okay to eat anything. No, you’re wrong.
Not all foods contribute to a proper healthy weight gain, so you have to take precautions. Avoid at all times high fatty food, high processed foods, and foods that are very high in carbs. Avoid soy-based products; you do not want to walk that road.
Below are some foods to avoid when bodybuilding:
1. Chicken nuggets
They are tasty and they satisfy us quickly. However, try to avoid them, as they contain high amounts of preservatives, salt, and fat.
2. French fries
They contain a large number of calories. If you eat them frequently over time, you may suffer from diabetes and become overweight.
3. Soft drinks
These drinks contain sugar which is bad for your health and high fructose corn syrup. They are harmful to the liver and can cause the development of bacterial diseases and even cancer.
4. Hot dog
These contain large quantities of artificial ingredients as well as preservatives and flavors. The fillings are often made of low-quality meat and contain a lot of salt.
They increase the risk of diabetes. It’s junk food.
6. Sweet flakes
In general, these sweet flakes contain a small amount of fiber and their high sugar content contributes to the development of diabetes.
7. Granola bars
They contain a large amount of corn syrup. In addition, they are usually made from harmful sugar. They also contain a lot of fat and sodium which makes them less healthy.
8. Iced tea
They are easy to make, cheap and refreshing, but they are not useful. They have more sugar than soft drinks, highly artificial flavors, corn syrups, and other harmful sugars.
9. Canned tomatoes
Consuming this product poses a risk of poisoning. They contain BPA, which is a toxic chemical that is linked to reproductive problems, neurological damage, and an increased risk of various types of cancer.
10. Processed meat or sausage
Sausage is bad for your health, both in the medium and long term. The problem is that they are obtained from animals that are exposed to growth hormones, antibiotics, and other harmful medicines.
11. Sprouts and other roots
It is common to use sprouts and other roots in dishes for their taste. But eating them raw can mean you consume harmful bacteria. To prevent infection, it is best to cook them before adding them to the meal.
12. Raw eggs
These can be harmful, as raw eggs can contain salmonella, which is a bacterium that causes gastrointestinal infections.
It contains high levels of trans fats, which are associated with heart disease, obesity, and skin diseases. When heated, free radicals are released, which are toxic molecules to the body.
The bag containing the corn contains perfluorooctanoic acid (C8) and is a pollutant for the blood.
Bodybuilding Diet Plan
There are two important things to consider when making a diet plan.
When making a diet plan, ensure that you are able to consume a lot of calories. To strike the balance, you need to ensure that your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is well above normal.
Your diet plan should always have protein-based foods. Protein because it is the basis on which muscles is formed. Your diet plan not only includes meals to eat when bodybuilding (which we mentioned earlier), it also is a combination of your calorie target, how to eat, and when to eat.
1. Calorie Target
Your calorie target is a goal you must reach as long as your bodybuilding process lasts, additionally, it may differ from another’s because of BMR.
BMR is the calculation of the number of calories you burn by just staying awake including when important organs are functioning like your brain and heart. Hence, your calorie target must be way above your BMR, for productivity on the training ground.
While hitting your calorie target and avoiding junks, you should consider arranging your meal-plan in such a way you won’t get tired of it, hence, arranging is up to you. What your meal plan should consist of however is what you’ll soon get to know.
- Core-oatmeals, quinoa, and black beans. Suitable for breakfast
- Nut and seeds
There are food items that should be consumed at most 4 times a week, like the meat for instance, while others need to be consumed on a daily bases, like the protein-based ones. Finally, always stay hydrated, by drinking enough water.
3. When You Should Eat
Timing is everything. Even eating should have a routine, especially when you have a goal like bodybuilding.
Generally, it is advised that a bodybuilder should eat at least 4-5 times a day, which is once every 4 hours. I think it actually depends on your calorie target, as long as you’re hitting your goal and eating the required, you’re good to go.
Whatever your eating routine is like, it should be compatible with your work-out schedule. Finally, your work-out timing should be close to when you eat.
Tips For Body Building
You don’t just wake up one day and decide to be a bodybuilder, because there are a few things that you might want to get straight before you start. So, here are some tips you should know before the bodybuilding journey:
- The first thing you would want to have is a strict work out plan that you will pay close attention to. Also, have someone that you are always accountable to in your bodybuilding process. Stick to your program and your training session routine.
- If you are just starting up at the gym, you would want to go easy on the kind of stuff you carry or would lift. At this stage, it’s not really about carrying the heavy stuff but about building a consistent habit of lifting stuff, first from the little ones to the big ones to the extremely big ones.
- Let me say this again bodybuilding is not a way to show off strength, rather developing muscles. You will want to start with the basic exercises. I know it’s tempting to do all those amazing stuff that you’ve seen other bodybuilders do but remember one step at a time. The plank, squat, and dead lifter routine should start you up well if you’re consistent.
- Things can get a little……I lied…. things can get really hard that you feel like quitting, it’s only natural that it does. Even as a beginner it takes up to eight weeks before b there is an obvious change and for more experienced bodybuilders, up to 4 weeks. The goal is to not at any point miss your training days for anything, or feel like staying home during training days.
- There should always be time to rest on your routine. Do not use all the days in a week to work.
- As you’re getting the hang of your daily exercise, make sure you are doing it right. Make sure you have and maintain the right posture for a particular routine.
- As you progress in your bodybuilding, always stay away from things that may lead to disaster. Avoid inappropriate dressing, by that I mean dressing not suitable for the bodybuilding process and stick to safety measures at all times.
- As a bodybuilder, you can’t just go around eating all kinds of stuff. You need to eat bodybuilding foods often but at the same time maintain a healthy eating lifestyle and a good diet plan that will help your bodybuilding.
We hope you liked what you read. Stick to these tips and before you know it, you’ll be realizing your bodybuilding dreams. Remember, stay motivated, and stay consistent.