Bodybuilding Beginners Diet Plan
If you’re new to the world of bodybuilding, it’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed by the vast amounts of diet plan information that’s out there.
Don’t worry, though, because you’re in the right place!
Below is a detailed account of which foods you should eat as a budding bodybuilder, followed by tips concerning calories, macros, supplements, cheat meals, and more!
Bodybuilder Staple Foods
The first step towards creating the perfect bodybuilding diet plan is to take note of all the essential foods you need to be consuming in order to effectively make gains – After all, you are what you eat.
If you’re not sure about where to begin, try going over the list below for help:
As a bodybuilder, your primary aim is to build new muscle. Our body doesn’t naturally manufacture essential amino acids (the smallest protein subunit), which is why your prime source of muscle-building protein should be from eggs, seafood, and meat. If you’re vegan, try considering Greek yogurt, pre-packaged plant protein, and lentils as replacement products.
Do keep in mind that building new muscle from purely organic protein sources (like the ones listed above) takes time. However, if you’re keen on speeding up the process or instantly boosting your protein uptake, protein powders would make for an excellent addition to your diet plan.
You can also try incorporating extra high-protein snacks into your diet, like Muscle Nation’s All Natural Protein Brownie Baking Mix! Products like these help prevent you from straying away from your health-optimized, high-protein diet.
Side note: While it’s beneficial to take protein powder supplements in regulated amounts, Consuming excessive amounts that are higher than the recommended dosage can potentially harm your health in the long run – so don’t overdose on protein!
Burning carbs isn’t just a way to get rid of excess fat. It’s also an essential bodily function that helps your muscles generate energy for movement. So, be sure to stock up on carbs, or else you’ll often find yourself running low on energy.
Brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread, pasta, and cereal, potatoes, oats, and yams are all brilliant sources of healthy carbs. Try to avoid getting your share of carbohydrates from sugary foods and fizzy drinks – those will give you a short-lived energy high, after which your energy levels will rapidly begin to decline.
Fruits and vegetables
Eat the rainbow. Try to get at least two to three portions of fruit and vegetables per day. These will help ensure your body has adequate levels of fiber (which is the key to maintaining your intestinal health) and will keep you stocked up on essential vitamins and minerals.
Also, dark green leafy vegetables are an excellent source of calcium and iron, both of which contribute to bone and muscle health, which is why every bodybuilder should have them on their diet list!
Fats and oils
In recent years, the media has desperately tried to demonise fats. This doesn’t mean your body can go without them, though!
Fats, also called “oils” when in liquid form, promote a healthy heart and brain functioning. They also help your body maintain an essential layer of fatty “adipose” tissue that helps cushion your organs and save them from shock injury.
Healthy sources of fats (fatty acids) and oils include cold-pressed seed oil, whole nuts and seeds, and plant-based oils (like coconut and olive oil).
Fish is also an excellent source of oils containing omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, especially varieties like salmon, mackerel, trout, and sardine.
Macro planning refers to the practice of allotting a percentage of your diet to a certain category of foods.
According to PubMed, the ideal macro ratio for bodybuilders is as follows:
- Carbohydrates: 55-60%
- Protein: 25-30%
- Fat: 15-20%
These ratios can vary depending on how keenly you’re working out and whether you’re preparing for or recovering from the aftermath of a weightlifting or bodybuilding competition.
So, if you’re training for a contest, try consuming the upper bound of the recommended protein intake percentage (30%) and the lower bound of both fats (15%) and carbs (55%).
After the contest is over, and when training becomes more relaxed, you can try reducing your protein intake and including more carbs and fats within your daily meals. This will help your body recover and detoxify itself during the post-contest “rest” period.
Calorie Tracking and Counting Macros
Before putting anything on your plate, be sure to take note of how many calories it contains. For processed foods (which you should ideally be avoiding), the label can give you plenty of information on the product’s calorie count. If you’re eating non-packaged foods, like fresh farm eggs, try looking into national food databases for calorie count information.
Every time you eat something, write it down and mention its calorie count too. You can do this by jotting the information down in a notebook or on a calorie tracker app.
In addition to noting the calories for each food item, refer to its packaging label or national food database for its macro breakdown. Remember to count your macros in grams!
How Should I Plan My Meals?
As a beginner bodybuilder, try aiming for 2500 calories per day. However, it’s best to speak to a professional trainer (like the one at your gym) for advice tailored to your body type, age, weight, height, and fitness goals.
2500 is a great place to start, though. The average person requires 2000 calories a day to survive. An added surplus of 500 calories per day will help you make muscle gains through consistent effort.
Try to break down these calories throughout the day and into 5 meals.
Below is a meal template to help you get started:
- Breakfast: Aim for starchy carbs and a healthy dose of protein from natural sources
- Snack: Aim for low carbs. This is also an excellent time to incorporate protein powder or supplements
- Lunch: Aim for low carbs and focus on natural sources of protein
- Post-workout Snack: Starchy carbs work best here if you want. Be sure to get a healthy dose of protein, too (protein bars and supplement shakes are ideal)
- Dinner: Again, aim for starchy carbs while leaving space for natural protein, fats, and fruits or vegetables (a salad would work nicely)
Cheat meals are an excellent way to help extend your flavour pallet and keep things fresh.
Typically, bodybuilders will enjoy a cheat meal 1-2 times a week. Not only are they good for your mental health, but cheat meals also help your body embrace diversity and avoid getting accustomed to consuming the same meals on a regular basis, which can ultimately boost your metabolism by challenging your body to break down new foods.
Following the aforementioned tips will help you start your bodybuilding journey the right way.
So, don’t wait around. Start creating your customised meal plan right now!