Whether you are looking to build mass or cut fat everyone will tell you that you won’t make it far without a solid diet in place. Eating the right foods is crucial to making sure your body gets the nutrients it needs to improve. If you are like most people, your knowledge of bodybuilding nutrition pretty much ends at “drink a protein shake after working out”. Well, as it turns out, there’s a lot more to it. That’s why we’ve put together this article for you guys today. Check out our list below of the top foods to add to your diet if you want to speed up your progress.
1 – Nuts and Nut Butters
Almonds are a popular choice for bodybuilders but there are many other nuts that also provide the same benefits. They are very calorie dense which will help you meet your daily calorie intake target. Also, they are loaded with healthy fats which boost testosterone levels as well as protein and high-quality carbs. They are also fibrous and in the case of walnuts high in omega-3s. Last but not least, they are extremely convenient.
There are a number of ways you can work these foods into your diet. They make a great snack if you want to eat them straight up. Alternatively, if you buy them in butter-form (for example, almond butter) you can add it to smoothies or spread it over other foods you like. Just make sure you always purchase natural nut butters, as the non-natural ones contain ingredients that are actually bad for you. Many food stores have nut butter machines in them where you can grind up your own nut butter – this is a great option as you know you are getting the real deal.
2 – Quinoa
While quinoa might be associated with vegans (who typically don’t have the most muscular physiques), it can actually be quite useful for bodybuilders. Quinoa is actually a seed rather than a grain so if you are gluten intolerant this is a great option for you. It’s high in fiber, magnesium and other nutrients plus it’s relatively inexpensive to buy.
If you are looking to add quinoa into your diet, we recommend having it with meat or other protein sources. Also, if you are gluten intolerant many restaurants will offer to make certain recipes with quinoa rather than rice. WIth this in mind you now have way more options available to you when it comes to going out to eat.
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3 – Bison or Buffalo Meat
While not the most popular meat products, game meats such as bison are known for being very lean. This is because they are typically raised without using as many chemicals and hormones. As a result, they are very lean and high in nutrients such as iron and omega 3s.
Not all grocery stores will carry game meats, so you might need to look around a bit. The famous bodybuilder Warren Branch, in a video tour of his house, showed that he had a freezer in his garage filled with bison and other game meats. Given how successful he has been in the business it’s hard to argue with this recommendation.
4 – Water
While technically not a food, most people whether they are bodybuilders are not are simply not drinking enough water every day. Did you know that drinks like coffee actually dehydrate your body? That means if you wake up in the morning and drink a cup of coffee you are already at -1 cups per day. While we aren’t against drinking coffee, make sure you are compensating with enough water.
Another benefit of water is that it makes you feel full. Often when we are hungry we are just, in fact, thirsty. By drinking a tall glass of water before eating you will find you aren’t as hungry and can get by with eating less. Keep a tall glass of water at your desk throughout the day and make a point of filling it up at least 4 or 5 times.
5 – Eggs
Eggs are without a doubt one of the most popular bodybuilding foods out there. They are loaded with omega-3s, vitamins and cholesterol which helps boost testosterone levels. While the old school bodybuilders used to eat only the egg whites, we recommend consuming the yolk as well as this is where most of the nutrients are held.
Feel free to mix up how you work eggs into your diet. We like to mix them with veggies, but rice or quinoa also works well. If you aren’t a huge fan of the taste, add some salsa to make it more enjoyable.
6 – Testosterone Boosters
We mentioned earlier how some of the foods listed will boost your testosterone levels. Why is this important? It’s simple – testosterone is the “male” hormone. It is responsible for giving us characteristics like muscle mass, confidence, aggressiveness and energy levels. In other words, having high testosterone levels is definitely desirable.
There are a number of ways to increase your t-levels such as lifting weights, improving your diet and getting more sleep. However, one of the most overlooked ways to boost your levels is to take a natural testosterone booster. These products use ingredients that are scientifically proven to boost testosterone production. As a result, you get a nice boost to your strength and energy without any of the nasty side effects of steroids. We recommend checking out our dedicated testosterone booster page for more details. Click here to learn more about testosterone boosters and some of the best product picks currently on the market.
7 – Cauliflower and Broccoli
Your mom probably tried to make you eat this stuff when you were growing up and you hated it. However, she might have been onto something – cauliflower and broccoli are some of the best foods for bodybuilders out there. For starters, they are low in calories so you can shovel down as much as you’d like without going over your daily calorie limit. Second, they are loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. Finally they are high in fiber – which is crucial for a bodybuilder. Next time you shovel down a steak, make sure you have some broccoli and cauliflower on the side.