No matter if your goal is to bulk up, lose weight, or just stay healthy, how you train is only one part of the plan. To produce the best results for your body, pair your training regimen with meal plans that power your toughest workouts and get you closer to your personal goals.
Whether you're looking for a simple meal plan to lose weight fast or the best bulking foods for a muscle-building meal plan, some things remain consistent: Your workouts will probably feel better with easy-digesting starchy carbs and fewer fats before and after workouts to promote energy and muscle growth. But no matter how you approach details like this, the most important answers to "what should I eat?" and "how much should I eat?" are right here in these healthy meal plans!
Bodybuilding Essentials Grocery List
- Protein: Protein powders, egg whites, whole eggs, white meat, white fish, Greek yogurt
- Starches: Brown rice, quinoa, yams, potatoes, oats, and whole-wheat pastas, bread, cereals, and wraps
- Fruits/vegetables/legumes: Tropical fruits, berries, green/fibrous vegetables, beans
- Oils: Olive oil, coconut oil, nuts/seeds
5 Pillars of Bodybuilding Nutrition
It's important to listen to your body and give it the fuel it needs to meet your workout goals. Healthy eating produces the best results when you've synched it up with a dynamic workout plan like the ones in BodyFit.
Use these five pillars of nutrition as guideposts to help you on your journey:
Eat Throughout the Day: Yes, you can grow muscle or lose weight on three meals a day. But for many of us, it's more effective to use multiple small meals and healthy snacks spread throughout the day help you fuel your body and keep your blood-sugar levels under control as your metabolism adapts to the stimulus from training.
Limit Processed Foods: Removing high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods from your diet and your life will help you stick to your meal plan. If you're like most people, you'll find your workouts feel better, your cravings will decrease, and you'll see the difference in the mirror!
Stay Hydrated: Drink water and calorie-free beverages to keep your body at peak performance. Avoid sugar-laden drinks that sabotage your body's defense systems. Craving sweet drinks? Low-calorie branched-chain amino acid blends can be a lifesaver.
Strategize Your Carb Intake: Carbs come in two forms: starchy, faster-action options such as rice, bread, and pasta that raise the blood sugar quickly; and non-starchy carbs like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which are higher in fiber and raise blood sugar gradually. Non-starchy carbs should be the backbone of your carb intake. The timing of when you eat starchy carbs is key to getting and maintaining a lean and muscular body. They’re best before or immediately after your workouts, when you can use them as fuel or to replenish muscle glycogen.
Eat Plenty of Lean Protein: You can maximize muscle growth while stimulating the release of fat-burning hormones by eating protein every few hours. If you’re only going to measure one macronutrient, make it this one! While high-protein foods should always be your first priority, a quality protein powder is an easy, healthy way to meet your protein goals each day. Consider whey protein between meals and a slow-digesting casein protein as a shake or pudding to help fuel your gains at night.
The Beginner Bodybuilder Meal Plan
Target: 2,500 calories, 218 g carbs, 218 g protein, 83 g fat
This is a plan for new-to-the-system bodybuilders who want to stay healthy and power tough workouts. It is a template based on a moderately active 150-pound male, but could be bumped up or down in quantity to match your size and how many calories you need. It's low in carbs and very high in protein, while emphasizing nutrient-rich foods to improve overall health.
- Meal 1: Breakfast (containing some starchy carbs)
- Meal 2: Snack (low-carb)
- Meal 3: Lunch (low-carb)
- Meal 4: Post-workout snack or shake (containing starchy carbs)
- Meal 5: Dinner (containing starchy carbs)
If you want to follow a training plan that includes a full meal plan, rather than creating your own, check out one of these popular options in BodyFit:
- Project Mass: Dr. Jacob Wilson's 16-Week Muscle-Building Program
- LiveFit: Jamie Eason's 12-Week Trainer
- Jim Stoppani's Shortcut to Shred
Every meal plan is easier to follow with protein shakes to help along the way. Have one post-workout, or anytime you need a low-carb, high-protein meal replacement.