Bodybuilders — they’re some of the world’s most impressive athletes. Known for their determination, discipline, and devotion, it’s no wonder we look to them for muscle growth inspiration.
But fitness isn’t just about what you do in the gym. It depends on your overall lifestyle, especially what you eat.
7 Muscle-Building Nutrition Secrets Bodybuilders Live By
Food is fuel. And if anyone needs fuel, it’s bodybuilders.
Want to eat like a bodybuilder? Look no further because, in this article, we will reveal the 7 nutrition secrets of elite bodybuilders that will take your fitness to the next level, from meal prep for muscle gain to vitamins for muscle growth:
Secret #1: Throw Out the “3 Meals Per Day” Rule.
If you want to pack on serious muscle, you need to eat more than just three meals per day.
Many famous bodybuilders eat six meals per day and, believe it or not, two breakfasts. This may seem like a lot of food, but by planning and preparing meals in advance, you can ensure you have plenty of fuel to power your workouts.
Meal prep for muscle gain is essential. When your meals are prepped and ready, you’ll be less likely to cheat and make unhealthy food choices.
Secret #2: Meal Prep for Muscle Gain: And Repeat.
When it comes to meal prep for muscle gain, don’t be afraid to repeat meals throughout the day or week, either.
In fact, retired professional bodybuilder and 4x Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler once shared that about half of his daily meals consist of chicken and rice. This is true for many bodybuilders, as it easily ensures they have enough fuel to power through heavy lifting sessions.
Secret #3: Don’t Overlook the Power of Carbs & Fats.
Protein is a bodybuilder’s best friend.
This is true. But don’t think that a high-protein diet is all you need to gain muscle. Healthy carbs and fats also contain essential nutrients and vitamins for muscle growth.
In fact, carbs should be consumed before a workout to help fuel your muscles.
Not sure how many carbs you should consume? Aim for 2 carbs per pound of body weight when following a bodybuilder fitness routine.
Shoot for complex carbs like potatoes, sweet potatoes, brown rice, whole grains, and oats.
As for fats, aim for 0.5g of fat per pound of body weight (or 30% of your total daily calories) when bodybuilding. This helps balance your diet and allows you to meal prep for muscle gain without tipping the scales too much toward fat.
Secret #4: Of Course, Load Up on Protein.
It’s all about the gains.
Protein is essential for building muscle, and you want to make sure you are consuming enough to help your muscles grow. Most bodybuilders aim for 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day to grow, depending on their activity level.
Secret #5: Variety is the Spice of Life (and Meat).
Tired of eating chicken and rice every day? Don’t sweat it.
Meat is a major part of bodybuilding nutrition and contains several helpful vitamins for muscle growth. Still, variety is essential.
Lean turkey and chicken are great for staying lean, but rotating meals with steak, lean ground beef, and fatty fish can do wonders for your muscles.
If you’re not a seafood eater, you can stock up on a quality omega-3 supplement.
Secret #6: Fuel Up on Whole Foods.
Make it a goal to get the majority of vitamins for muscle growth from whole foods.
Still, it’s not always easy or accessible to get all the nutrients you need with meal prep for muscle gain.
Supplement with quality vitamins for muscle growth and the best protein powders as needed to ensure you’re getting all the macro and micronutrients you need.
Secret #7: Find a System You Can Stick To.
As Jocko Willink says, discipline equals freedom. We’re not robots, and some days we crave the occasional indulgence. Just ask Brandon Curry — his favorite cheat meal is a burger, french fries, and soda with an apple pie!
Just remember: Moderation is key. Everyone needs a break from time to time, and bodybuilders are no exception. Cheat days can be a great way to indulge in your favorite foods while still maintaining your overall diet plan. Just be sure not to go overboard, and always return to your regular routine the next day.
Overall, find a system you can stick to. When bulking, you need more energy (calories) than you burn. Calculate your calorie requirements and make sure you’re eating enough to fuel your muscle gains.
Some famous bodybuilders like Brandon Curry don’t count calories. Instead, he uses a high-quality scale to weigh his food for consistent intake. Find a system that works for you.
Bonus Tip: Support Your Progress with Minerals and Vitamins for Muscle Growth
In addition to these seven nutrition secrets, don’t forget to take your vitamins for muscle growth. Vitamins and minerals essential for muscle growth and repair include:
- Vitamin D: Helps with muscle function, protein synthesis, and testosterone production.
- Vitamin E: Prevents muscle damage to support muscle growth and recovery.
- Vitamin C: Protect muscles, bones, and joints from injury.
- B Vitamins: Supports protein metabolism, blood flow, and energy.
- Iron: Helps carry oxygen to muscles
Fuel Your Muscles Like a Bodybuilder
Meal prep for muscle gain, calculated macronutrients, protein-packed meals, and vitamins for muscle growth are all staples in the diet of an elite bodybuilder.
Remember to listen to your body, stay disciplined, and adjust your nutrition plan according to your progress. With hard work, discipline, consistency, and grit, you, too, can achieve your muscle growth goals.