I’ve spent some time lately looking into what some of the major muscle building websites have been saying about a bodybuilder’s diet. In particular, I read a lot of late 2014 and early 2015 articles that have literally been getting read by tens of thousands of people trying to get into better shape. What I found was absolutely repulsive dietary advice. One source in particular included foods like strawberries and shrimp to be staple points of a male bodybuilder’s diet. Another, suggested increasing calories through refined grain and corn sources. All in all, I saw so called ‘experts’ suggesting purely inadequate food as if an entire core diet could be made out of it. No, no it can’t.
This led me to think about all the ways I could fix up and make right all the mistakes that these guys are teaching men. Hence, what we’re going to talk about here; what I like to call the Indisputable Best Core Foods for Building Muscle. I made this list because I get it, that for a new bodybuilder or someone that wants to see better results – they are not looking for 90 calorie accents to add to their diet. Instead what they are looking for, what you are probably looking for are the building bock staple points to build your diet. The actual core stuff that’s going to work, and in the process kick out all the junk food that you shouldn’t be eating. That’s what this is all about.
Best Foods for Building Muscle in the Gym
Here we go, the top foods for building muscle as a bodybuilder. Remember, these are our best suggestions for foods that can make a big impact in your diet. Naturally there will be other accents that you add in yourself, these aren’t the only possibilities but this is a great place to start if you don’t know what to eat.
SOFT-boiled Eggs – Your New Muscle Building Best Friend
Quick Statistics: Approximately 0.5 grams of Leucine per egg, testosterone building saturated fats, complete profile amino acid source, zero carbohydrates, and a whole food.
By far, eggs are one of the most powerful muscle building foods that any budget can afford. There is really no wrong way to do eggs, but we have some recommendations on how to maximize your egg use for building muscle.
First off, we prefer organic. This is to reduce the chances of salmonella presence, to improve the nutrient profile, and because they taste better.
Second off, we prefer hard boiling our eggs, no exceptions. Why? Well, if we didn’t need to cook eggs we wouldn’t, but it turns out the egg white is not very stomach friendly raw and reduces bioavailability. So then why not just fry them? No, this is because the higher the temperature, the more degraded the amino profile becomes and more importantly the more the saturated fats and cholesterols are damaged into unhealthy forms. That’s why we ultimately conclude on hard boiling eggs. Because, the process of boiling cooks the eggs at a constant 100 Celsius which preserves as much bioavailability as possible. The ultimate perfect cooked egg in our opinion is when you can get all of the white albumin cooked while maintaining the core of the yolk raw. That’s king.
Compare the nutrition of eggs to that of a protein bar…
12 organic eggs costs $5 and provides 6 grams of protein each. 3 eggs offers 18 grams of completely bio-available unprocessed proteins for about $1.25. The average cost of a protein bar containing 20 grams of protein is about $2.50 and contains less bio-available protein. I’ll take my eggs.
Broccoli – 1 serving per day (fresh non frozen)
Quick Statistics: Reduces Estrogen, Anti-Cancer, May Stimulate Stem Cells, Delicious.
If you are not eating broccoli at least a few times a week, you are messing up bad. Now we aren’t talking the frozen bag stuff, we mean the green fresh heads you get at the grocery store. Take these, give them a light steam so they are slightly softer, and eat up preferably once every day or two. By doing this, you are upregulating your body’s production of glutathione while reducing estrogen (very separate processes). You can read more about the stem-cell activating details at Ergo-Log here. The key to maximizing these benefits as a bodybuilder is consistency. You don’t need massive servings of broccoli, in fact eating astronomical amounts may have negative effects. But, if you can lightly steam one or two handfuls worth of broccoli a day – you will be much better off.
I know I know, this probably doesn’t interest you. But, if you go a month eating a small serving of fresh unfrozen broccoli every single day you will notice a benefit. Go, try it, and if it doesn’t make an impact on you then discontinue and live on.
Chicken + Tuna + Salmon + Ground Turkey + Ground Beef = Lean Gains
Here are the obvious components of a bodybuilder’s diet for building more muscle. The core protein laden foods that you’re definitely eating. I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here or act like this is new business to you; it’s not. Rather, I’m going to tell you how I tend to do it. That may be more helpful. I’m not going to state it in excess below, but the trend with these meats is that I go organic every time. This is a trend you will find with all serious bodybuilders and athletes. Why? Because the hormones injected into animals, the pesticides and fertilizers put on plants, and whatever else may be often result in higher levels of estrogen. This is because these substances are estrogen-like, or estrogen promoting. You can read more about reducing estrogen for bodybuilding here.
Sprouted Grain Breads
Bread makes its way into nearly every bodybuilder’s diet one way or another. Toast, sandwiches, etc. But the truth about bread is, well, it’s really not that good for a man bodybuilding. Most breads these days are heavily processed, contain high fructose corn syrup, and in general do nothing but spike your insulin. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to give up bread though.
Rather, we recommend sprouted grains like Ezekiel Bread. Why? Because sprouted grain bread is the rawest bread you can get. It has higher protein, less carbs, more fiber, and significantly more nutrients than regular bread. Taste wise, it’s not bad. Perfect for anything from toast to PBJs and chicken sandwiches. Enjoy.
Whole Grain Pasta+ Potatoes + Rice + Black beans + Oats
Here are your go to foods for getting those carbohydrates down preferably right after your workout. To begin, when it comes to pasta we’ve got to recommend whole grain. There is simply more nutrients and the grains in the pasta are more ‘natural’ and accepted by your body versus straight bleached white. Next, potatoes. Potatoes are a great carb source primarily because they are a whole food. Being so, the insulin spike isn’t nearly as bad as other foods and you end up getting some nutrients from the potato skin as well. We recommend baking your potatoes or boiling them into mash potatoes versus instant or microwave. Lastly, we have black beans. Black beans are absolutely loaded with potassium and a few other key nutrients. More so, black beans double as your source of carbs and protein so you can’t go wrong. Pair black beans up with rice (preferably black rice) and your meat of choice cut up on a tortilla and you’re all set to go for a great muscle building post workout meal!
Spinach Leaves + carrots + Brussels Sprouts
Aside from your main protein, carb, and fat meals – you’ve got to get those vitamins and minerals into your body. Sure, you could take a multi-vitamin, but sadly very little of that tiny pill is bioavailable (usable by the body). So this puts you at a paradox. Either shell out big cash for a multi that’s actually good, or start getting your veggies in. Personally, I take the veggies. Spinach leaves can be eaten straight up or added to anything, and carrots + Brussel sprouts make a good side to any meal. Dive in.
Avocados + Bananas
Same story as the veggies we threw up above, except avocados and bananas are much easier to prepare and eat. If you really want that dry muscular aesthetic look, then you’re not going to want to skimp on your fruits and veggies.
Almonds + Almond Butter
Almonds and even nuts in general are a great asset to your muscle building diet. Of course, they are pricey so be sure to find the deals and always go bulk. When buying your nuts, always try to keep them as raw as possible. They may not taste as good now, but after a while you will prefer it. Also, look into almond butter with your PBJs, etc. It’s excessively more nutritious than peanut butter although it can be pricey.
What Shouldn’t a Bodybuilder Eat? Non-Best Foods for Building Muscle
We’ve covered some of the essentials that can fit into the average serious bodybuilders diet, now it’s time to talk about what has no business in your diet. This part, is going to be short; although surely the list of stuff you shouldn’t be eating exceeds the list of things you should. But, there is a pretty standard trend here. That is, don’t eat processed foods. What do we mean by processed foods? We mean, just about anything you find in the frozen isle that can be prepared in the microwave. It’s hard to accept, but that stuff is bad to the core. These companies that produce this stuff gave up on nutrition a long time ago, now it’s all about making money for them. This includes staple points like Tyson chicken. It hurts, but if you can adjust you will have amazing gains, both via muscle growth and fat loss.
Something we can point out for you to avoid that may stand in the middle ground between healthy and unhealthy is soy. There has been a lot of research on soy, and suggestions that it is a healthy protein source for men. We don’t believe that. Far too many times we’ve read absolute horror stories when guys add soy to their diets that results in man boobs, loss of testosterone, and mood issues. This may not happen to everyone, but there is no way you’re going to find us risking it. In your pursuit to avoid soy, just know that its in more places than you would think. Protein drinks in particular. Such as those ‘healthy’ Bolthouse protein drinks you find at the grocery store. They are all soy.
Contribute to This Muscle Food Page
We encourage you to comment below if you have any questions or additions to this diet plan. The more we can pull together, the better success we can all have. And lastly, we encourage you to really embody the adage that “you can’t out-train a bad diet”. Or, what Arnold Schwarzenegger would say – “lifting without proper nutrition is like plowing the fields and not laying seeds, nothing will grow”.