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8 Tips for Bodybuilding Nutrition Plan + Recipes & Schedule

If you want to become a bodybuilder, you will have to work in the gym to grow muscles.

But, if you want to look like a real bodybuilder, you will have to eat like a bodybuilder in addition to a lot of training.

In this article, you'll discover 8 nutrition tips that will help you get the bodybuilding results you've been waiting for!

How to achieve muscle growth with bodybuilding

Before I discuss the tips in this article for nutrition in bodybuilding, you should of course know how muscle growth occurs.

Let me take you through the basics of muscle physiology. When someone trains intensively enough with weights, microscopic muscle tears (microtrauma) develop.

At that moment, satellite cells in the muscle become active. These satellite cells actually bind to muscle cells to repair the damaged areas. This causes the muscle fibers to grow bigger and stronger, which is also known as hypertrophy.

So it's important to remember that the goal of a workout is to boost protein synthesis, but the key to building muscle is cellular repair, not damage!

Muscle recovery can only take place if you take the right nutrition. Essential nutrients accelerate and promote the process of muscle building.

What you should therefore do in any case is to eat enough and varied food to enable your body to build muscle. This may sound simple, but it doesn't always have to be, because undereating is one of the most common reasons people don't grow.

Furthermore, it is of course not the case that you can eat everything to grow up. The wrong food can make your muscles disappear under a layer of fat and that is every bodybuilder's nightmare.

As a starting bodybuilder, you may not yet know very well what you can eat and that is why I will briefly tell you what you should take into account.

Let's quickly move on to the first bodybuilding nutrition tip!

Tip #1: Calculate your calorie needs

To achieve muscle growth, you will first need to know how many calories you need for maximum muscle building, without gaining too much fat mass.

First, you will need to determine your basal metabolic rate (BMR).

BMR is the minimum energy you need to keep the basic body functions (heart rate, breathing, etc.) going in a resting state.

After your BMR has been determined, you need to calculate your TDEE ( Total Daily Energy Expenditure). With the TDEE you calculate your daily calorie requirement, including your daily activity and the intensity of sports.

Did you do this? Good, now you know your daily maintenance level.

But we're not there yet. A (small) calorie surplus is necessary for muscle growth.

An increase of 20% of your calories on your TDEE is enough to build muscle mass in the foreseeable future.

If you are fairly new to training or are underweight, you can work in a little more calories (30% on your TDEE).

Do you notice that you quickly gain fat mass? Then cut back on the calories until you find yourself at the right maintenance level.

Tip #2: Eat enough vegetables with every meal

When reading this tip, you might be thinking 'how the heck should vegetables promote muscle growth?' Vegetables are important for good health!

Not only are vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals, but they also contain important plant proteins and phytochemicals.

These phytochemicals improve health and make you less likely to get sick.

Since vegetables are high in antioxidants, they also contribute to physical recovery after a hard workout.

They help reduce the number of free radicals released during an intense workout and they will speed up muscle recovery.

Tip #3: Don't be afraid of fats

Anyone who does bodybuilding or takes strength training seriously eats quite a bit of protein from animal sources.

But animal foods are also a source of saturated fats.

Saturated fats are important for hormone production and the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K).

A low-fat diet can lower your testosterone levels over time, which in turn will hinder muscle growth.

Several studies have shown in recent years that saturated fats are not associated with a greater risk of heart disease ( source, source ).

Examples of high-fat foods are nuts, seeds, oily fish, dairy, meat, and eggs.

When I talk about essential fatty acids, the omega 3 fatty acids are perhaps the most important of all.

Omega 3 fatty acids play a key role in healthy cholesterol levels, normalizing blood pressure, supporting a healthy heart rate, increasing endurance, and protecting the brain ( source, source ).

It also serves as a natural blood thinner and helps raise good HDL cholesterol while lowering triglyceride levels.

In addition to fatty fish such as salmon, you can also buy omega-3 fish oil. Make sure that you buy a supplement with high EPA and DHA content.

Those are the essential fatty acids that you really need. I advise you to get about 1000mg of both fatty acids.

Tip #4: Enough proteins for optimal muscle building

Protein and muscle building are inextricably linked. Eating enough protein is necessary for muscle growth.

The amino acids in proteins help repair muscle tissue after a hard workout, allowing them to grow bigger.

Bodybuilders and strength athletes have even greater protein needs. The more active you are, the more protein your muscles need to grow.

So if you've started your transformation and haven't increased your protein intake yet, now's the time. I advise you to consume at least 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

But proteins are also very satiating. This is very important if you follow a strict diet to lower your fat percentage.

A 2005 study found that increasing protein intake from 15% to 30% in healthy adults significantly improved satiety, while decreasing calorie intake and fat mass ( source ).

Consuming 30 grams of high-quality protein (animal protein) with each meal can also speed up protein synthesis and boost muscle growth.

Tip #5: Drink enough water

In addition to food, as a bodybuilder, you will also have to drink well and then mainly water.

Staying hydrated is crucial for fat burning, muscle recovery, and muscle building.

So make sure you drink plenty of water.

A good fluid balance has a major influence on all important body processes, from your metabolism to your energy level.

Too many people – without realizing it themselves – walk around all day in a partially dehydrated state. This causes them to suffer from fatigue and often unintentionally eat more, while the solution is to simply drink more water.

How do you know if you're drinking enough water? The easiest way to determine this is to look at the color of your urine.

A light color of urine (light yellow) indicates that your fluid balance is good. Is the urine as dark as the color of apple juice? Then it's time to drink more water.

Do not try to get your fluid balance in order by drinking more energy drinks and coffee. Go for (cold) water with a slice of lemon and drink at least 2 liters of water per day.

On the days that you train, this will not be a problem, because with good training alone you quickly use a liter, but on the days that you do not train you can sometimes forget this.

Tip #6: Eat fiber-rich foods

Fats are essential for good health. Fiber is also a carbohydrate, but not just any carbohydrate. Because it is indigestible, fiber has a different effect on your body than other carbohydrates.

Not eating enough fiber leads to water retention, bloating, constipation, and an increased risk of developing colon cancer.

Fruits and green leafy vegetables, such as kale, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli, are excellent sources of fiber.

You should also know that there are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble dietary fiber.

Most foods contain both insoluble and soluble fiber but are usually richer in one type than the other. The easiest way to tell them apart:

Soluble Fiber

Most foods contain both insoluble and soluble fiber but are usually richer in one type than the other.

The easiest way to tell them apart: Soluble fiber absorbs water, turning into a gel-like mush (think about what happens when you add water to oatmeal), while insoluble fiber doesn't.

Foods rich in soluble fiber:

  • Oatmeal
  • nuts
  • beans
  • apples
  • Blueberries

Soluble fibers reduce cholesterol in the blood by adhering to cholesterol particles that are carried along when they are discharged.

This lowers total cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of heart disease. Oatmeal may provide the most protection for the heart.

Because soluble fiber is not well absorbed, it does not cause spikes and dips in blood sugar.

Spikes in blood sugar can cause complications and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. If you already have type 2 diabetes, soluble fiber can help manage your condition.

Soluble fiber can also help lower your fat percentage because they contribute to a long-lasting feeling of fullness, without having to eat a lot of calories.

Insoluble fiber

Insoluble fiber helps speed up digestion and makes you poop.

Insoluble fibers can be found in:

  • Cereal products
  • nuts
  • legumes
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit

Can you also eat too much fiber?

Wondering if there are any risks associated with eating too much fiber? Then I can reassure you.

In general, there's little cause for concern about eating too much fiber, especially since you'll become so full that you probably won't really overdo it.

If you've always eaten low fiber, try increasing the amount of fiber slowly so you don't experience stomach pain, diarrhea, or constipation.

Also, drink plenty of water because fiber absorbs moisture. Sometimes eating too many foods with fiber without drinking enough water can cause digestive problems.

Tip #7: Variety in the kitchen

Vary your bodybuilding diet and eat healthy fats, carbohydrates, vegetables, and fruit, not to mention protein.

If you follow this you will come a long way, but if you want more, you can also start thinking about using supplements and protein shakes to get extra energy and absorb nutrients.

Because, if you train a lot, and you will have to do that as a bodybuilder, your body is constantly repairing your muscles. The proteins in shakes ensure that you recover faster.

Tip #8: Supplements you don't want to miss

Supplements are only useful as a supplement to a healthy diet and exercise regimen. So don't think of it as your primary bodybuilding food.

Do you eat insufficiently or almost always the same? Then work on that first.

You cannot simply supplement an unhealthy lifestyle with supplements. It does little to help.

That said, supplements can be beneficial if you're serious about bodybuilding and strength training.

Supplements I recommend to use:

  • Creatine: Creatine is inexpensive, effective, and backed by numerous studies that have shown its efficacy in muscle growth and muscle strength gains.
  • Omega-3 Fish Oil: Maintaining a proper balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is incredibly important for long-term cardiovascular health.
  • Protein shakes: If you are struggling to get enough protein, drinking whey shakes is a good and easy solution.

3 Bodybuilding Nutrition Recipes

When it comes to building lean muscle mass, aim for a good nutrition plan.

You will receive 3 recipes from me that fit within a healthy and muscle-building diet:

Recipe #1: Tuna with brown rice

This is a pretty simple recipe, but it's super easy to make and tastes damn good!

What you need:

  • Two cans of tuna in water
  • 1 cup brown rice

How to prepare:

  • Cook the rice for 8 minutes, when you're done add the tuna.
  • Add a teaspoon of olive oil for extra flavor.

Recipe #2: Omelette with tomato and spring onion

A healthy and easy meal that you can take for breakfast or lunch.

What you need:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tomatoes
  • spring onions
  • 1 tsp green herbs
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Add salt and pepper to taste

How to prepare:

  • Beat the eggs in a bowl
  • Heat some coconut oil in a pan on medium heat
  • Fry the eggs in a few minutes
  • Cut the tomato into pieces and divide it over the omelet

Recipe #3: Chicken and pasta

This meal is packed with protein and complex carbohydrates. Ideal as a pre-workout dinner!

What you need:

  • 350 grams of chicken breast
  • 300 grams of pasta
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Optionally supplemented with pesto, bell pepper, or mushrooms.

How to prepare:

  • Cook the pasta according to the directions on the packaging
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Meanwhile, heat some coconut oil in a pan
  • Bake the chicken breast in it completely brown and cooked
  • Sprinkle some spice mix over the pasta if desired

Example bodybuilding diet plan

Need a sample bodybuilding nutrition plan? Below I have made a schedule for you that you can use if you want to grow optimally.

Example bodybuilding diet plan

Note: Keep in mind your daily calorie requirement. If this is more or less, you will have to adjust the feeding schedule accordingly.

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