Eat Like a Bodybuilder (Men and Women) Get The Ultimate Physique & Eat Like a Professional Fitness Model
If you want the ultimate bodybuilder physique you will need to make some sacrifices with your diet. This doesn’t mean that you can never have a slice of pizza or donut ever again – but their needs to be strategy with your meals so you can maximize lean muscle gains while minimizing body fat levels.
The bodybuilders diet will accomplish 5 Major Things:
- Maximize Lean Muscle Gains
- Minimize Fat Storage
- Maximize Anabolic Muscle Building Hormones (HGH, Insulin and Testosterone)
- Increase Muscle Recovery
- Boost your Immune system
Bodybuilding is an intense sport and if you do not feed your body the proper fuel you will not recover efficiently and maximize your effort in the gym.
Let’s first take a look at what foods are considered bodybuilding staples.
Bodybuilding Diet Meal Plan
The most important thing to do if you are a male or female bodybuilder is to eat clean and consume natural foods.
When I try to explain to someone what a typical bodybuilder food is I use the phrase “less is more.”
This means that the less ingredients the better. Typically most of the bodybuilding foods are just 1 ingredient. This means that they are not processed or bought in a box.
Your body will absorb the nutrients and use this food as fuel much more efficiently. Take for example potato vs. a potato chip. Red skin potatoes are high in vitamin C, potassium and have good quality carbohydrates for a bodybuilder. Red skin potatoes are 1 ingredient. Potato chips are usually more than 10 ingredients and are processed and stripped of all the healthy vitamins and minerals.
If you are a bodybuilder you must strive to eat clean at least 90 percent of the time.
Let’s take a look at what “clean foods” actually are and break down your bodybuilding grocery store cheat sheet.
Everybody knows that lean protein builds muscle mass and is needed on a diet. The following are the best forms of lean protein when following a bodybuilder diet.
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
99 percent Fat Free Ground Turkey
93 Percent or greater grass fed beef
Flat Iron Steak
Wild Caught Cod
Wild Caught Salmon
Beef Protein Isolate
Complex carbohydrates should be fairly high in vitamins, minerals and/or fiber. These are the healthy carbohydrates that won’t spike your insulin and cause you to store body fat bur rather give your body a constant energy source while keeping you full and satisfied throughout the day.
Red Skin potatoes
Healthy fats are also needed on a bodybuilding diet so you can produce muscle building and fat burning anabolic hormones. Contrary to popular belief – healthy fats help you burn fat. Here is the list of the best healthy fats on the bodybuilding diet:
Nut Butters (no sugar added kinds)
Guacamole (95 percent or greater avocado)
How to Maximize Anabolic Hormones through nutrient timing
Now that you understand what “eating clean” means it is vital that you understand the importance of nutrient timing and how it relates to your bodybuilding goals.
The bodybuilding diet is just as much the timing of when you eat certain things, as it is what you actually eat.
When you learn how to eat properly you can maximize the muscle building effects of insulin, testosterone and HGH through specific nutrient timing protocol.
Nutrient Timing: Insulin
Insulin can be a powerful muscle building hormone following an intense resistance training workout – but at all other times of the day it can cause you to store unnecessary body fat.
Fitness models and bodybuilders time their carbohydrates very carefully so they can maximize the muscle building effects of high insulin and the fat burning effects of low insulin.
The bodybuilding diet will consist of many fast digesting carbohydrates in the post workout shake and post workout meal.
The best time of the day to spike your insulin and consume what would typically be considered “bad carbohydrates” is post workout.
Bodybuilders enjoy things like dextrose or maltodextrin in their post workout shake and often eat simple starchy carbs like white rice and white potatoes in their post workout meal.
The insulin combined with the amino acids from the protein is a powerful muscle building combination.
The typical bodybuilder post workout shake and post workout meal may look something like this:
Post Workout Shake:
40 Grams Whey Protein Isolate, 80 Grams Dextrose
Post Workout Meal:
10 Ounces Boneless Skinless chicken breast, ½ Cup cooked white Rice
The typical bodybuilder diet will consume slow digesting carbohydrates during breakfast and lunch to maximize energy levels and restore muscle glycogen levels from the intense training sessions.
Some of the common carbohydrates consumed during breakfast and lunchtime are oatmeal, fruit, sweet potatoes, quinoa and brown rice.
Typically insulin levels are kept lower at night since HGH and Insulin can’t coexist in the body at the same time and it is often a strategy to maximize HGH levels at night during your REM sleep cycles. More on this next.
Nutrient Timing: Human Growth Hormone
The typical bodybuilding diet will want to maximize Human growth hormone levels. HGH is one of your most important body composition hormones and will help you increase strength, build lean muscle mass and burn body fat.
A clean bodybuilding diet will maximize human growth hormone output – but one of the most important things you can do is to keep your sugar and insulin levels low at night.
Your body secretes HGH when you enter your REM sleep cycle. This is important to remember because insulin and HGH can’t coexist in your body at the same time in high amounts.
This is why the typical bodybuilding diet will consist of slow digesting proteins and healthy fats late at night.
The last meal of the day should ideally contain zero carbohydrates and 100 percent high quality protein and healthy fats.
This will drip feed your body all of the essential nutrients it needs to recover quickly and build lean muscle mass while allowing your body to secrete high levels of HGH.
The typical bodybuilding diet late at night will consist of the following options:
Cottage Cheese, Casein Protein Powder, Lean beef, Almonds, Whole Eggs, Egg Whites
These are all sources of slow release protein and healthy fats.
Nutrient Timing: Testosterone
Testosterone is one of the most important anabolic hormones in the human body and will help you build lean muscle mass and burn body fat.
Every guy who works out want to maximize testosterone levels but it is also beneficial to women bodybuilders.
It is important to note that your body needs a good amount of healthy fats to maximize testosterone levels.
Another vital thing your body needs to produce testosterone is cholesterol. Cholesterol is actually a pre cursor to testosterone production so it is vital to consume bodybuilding foods that are high in cholesterol.
The best bodybuilding staple foods that are also high in cholesterol are whole eggs, beef, chicken, and turkey. That is why nearly every bodybuilder (both male and female) who isn’t a vegan consumes these foods regularly.
Whole eggs are especially high in cholesterol and healthy fats. Many bodybuilders will consume upwards of a dozen whole eggs a day to maximize muscle building potential.
How much do bodybuilders actually eat?
While the amount of food varies greatly between male and female bodybuilders and individual body types, metabolism and goals – here are a few guesstimates as to what the average male and female bodybuilder will consume in terms of calories in their off season and pre contest diets.
Female Off Season: Bodyweight x 15
Female Pre Contest: Bodyweight x 13
Male Off Season: Bodyweight x 18
Male Pre Contest: Bodyweight x 16
E.g. – A 200 lb male bodybuilder in the offseason will consume 200 x 18 calories, which equals 3,600
These are just rough estimates and based on an average of over 20 male and female bodybuilders that were polled on their pre contest and off-season calorie consumption.
Interested to see what an entire bodybuilding meal plan looks like? This would be how a typical bodybuilder would eat about 12 weeks before a competition. Note that all of these foods are very “clean” and nutrient dense which maximizes muscle retention, energy levels and fat burning.
Sample Bodybuilding Meal Plan
¾ Cup Oatmeal with 1 Sliced Banana
4 Whole Eggs, 4 Egg Whites
1-Ounce Raw Almonds
6 Ounces Lean Grass Fed Beef, ½ Sliced Avocado
8 Ounces Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, ½ Cup Brown Rice, ½ Cup Steamed Veggies
Meal Four (Post Workout):
8 Ounces Wild Caught Cod, 8 Ounces Red Skin Potatoes, Large Spinach Salad
4 Ounces Fat Free Ground Turkey, 1 Ounce Brazil Nuts
1 Scoop Casein Protein Shake